Reviews: Of Mice And Men
They call this a story?
Of Mice And Men is one of the legends of American literature, telling an epic tale of two men and their tragic-Oh let me puke, this story (And I'll question the validity of that statement later) is boring, boring, boring, the villain is kinda non-existent and ridiculous flat, the characters are dull, the plot isn't engaging and it's just unpleasant to read. Now may I question the validity of Of Mice And Men as a story, firstly, George does absolutely nothing to change his environment, he goes to the ranch and...sits on his ass for ninety pages, that is not a story, the protagonist does nothing to change the plot, he has a plan yes, and it may even be realistic, but it isn't a story, and that bothers me that people are supposed to read a non-story. There's not a whole lot more I can say about this except how much I fucking despise Steinbeck as an author, yes I understand that being poor sucks major balls, you don't have to bend the rules of reality and pull a Diabolus Ex Machina out of your ass to end your stories. He does it in The Grapes Of Wrath, The Pearl, and this abomination, why would you do that bullshit once, not to mention three times? (If not more, I don't know his work that well.) Please, explain to me how this piece of hogwash is in any way palatable or should be held up as an example of quality literature. (Yes I realize I'm being trollish, please rise above my poorly written anger and defeat me with cool logic and stunning wordplay, not YOU SUCK!!! FAEGOT!!!)
A great story- the problem is it's badly told.
Steinback was a writer who excellently conveyed how bad life in the 1930's was, especially for migrant workers...Except in this book, where a good premise- two very different workers yet again seek work on a ranch, only this time one of them's mental disabilities cause them to get into even worse trouble than before- is ruined by Steinback's experimental writing style for this book. As many people know from High School, Steinback initially wrote Of Mice and Men as a play, before turning it into a book. The problem is the book is to obviously adapted from a play. Not only is it Beige Prose, the book reads like a script, offering description at the beginning and end of chapters like stage directions, and the rest being dialogue. This makes reading the book feel very clunkly. With the exception of the last chapters, we don't see many of the events happening, for instance we never see the men working, and there are very few locations we see: the bunk house, the stream , Crook's room, and the barn. Again, this is like a play, except in a play, this is acceptable, as a play has the limitations of being staged in real time. I would recommend seeing the Of Mice and Men play or film, because they really are better than the novel, as otherwise, the plot and characters are fine. Some characters like Slim and Curley are bland sterotypes, but others like Curley's wife and Lennie are more interesting.
The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men....
When I first picked up this book, I was not thrilled. I had heard the worst from a friend, and, frankly, I have never been a great fan of Steinbeck. However, as the book was only around a hundred pages long and a "classic," I decided it would be worth reading. I am very glad that I chose to do so. The book focuses on the relationship between two characters: George, small and streetwise, and Lenny, simple minded but incredibly strong. It is set in the Great Depression; a time when jobs where scarce and every man worked for himself. Because of this, it is very odd that two men, especially two men so different as George and Lenny, would choose to travel together. As the reader follows the story, they come to understand what keeps them together. This bond is a fine contrast to the rest of the characters. The central theme to this book is loneliness, which can easily be found in characters like Crooks and Curley's wife, but is also evident in many more, such as Candy, Carter, and even Curley. Steinbeck develops a very bleak setting, where everyone longs for companionship, but, due to distrust, race, sex, or the wish for independence, they are unable to confide in one another. The story is punctuated beautifully with the tragic ending. I will not go into the details in this review, but I will say that, despite the hopes that all of the characters had and shared, the theme of loneliness prevails. It is a dark finish, characteristic of Steinbeck, but not a hopeless one. It is, without doubt, an incredibly potent and touching scene, contrasting the often callous feel of other parts of the story. This book is unusual in the sense that it does not really go into the characters' thoughts. Everything that can be determined about their thoughts and motives must be interpreted from their words and actions. The whole tale is set up almost like a play, portraying a great deal of emotion without too many words. Steinbeck's skill is greatly evident throughout this concise, blunt, yet oddly moving novella. I still, reading over the "Guys like us" speech in the last chapter, cannot help but choke up slightly. I would highly suggest this book to anyone. It's only a little over a hundred pages long; it only takes a few hours to read, and, in my opinion, is worth every minute.