Shmoop Editorial Team. “Of Mice and
Men.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11
Nov. 2008. Web. 10 Jan.
“Of Mice and Men.” Sparknotes. Sparknotes LLC, 2 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Jan. 2018.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin
Books, 1994. Print.
Author and His/Her Times
John Steinbeck — born in Salinas,
California on February 27th, 1902 and died on December 20th,
1968 — grew up in an agricultural valley not too far from the Pacific coast
that both serves as a setting in many of his works. In 1962, Steinbeck received
the Nobel Peace Prize in literature and is best known for his writings that
deal with the difficult and poor Californian working lifestyles during this
era. Events that influenced Steinbeck and his writing were the laboring
conditions of California, World War II, and his various beliefs about
friendship. Growing up in California has greatly contributed to his influences
in writing and due to his childhood experiences; it is what sets his works
apart from others.
Structure, and Plot
This novel has 105 pages and is
organized into six chapters, all varying in length from one to fifteen pages. Steinbeck
uses many techniques in this novel such as flashbacks when George talks about
what happened to him and Lennie before coming to the ranch. The novel is also
set in chronological order from day one to the last and fourth day. There are
also many instances of foreshadowing throughout the novel such as the death of
the mouse in the beginning of the chapter that hints that there will be another
death later on in the novel caused by Lennie. There are many uses of repetition
from the beginning to end about how Lennie’s behaviors will affect the results
of him being able to tend the rabbits. Also, in the beginning, it is mainly
about George and Lennie trying to find a better place to earn money and prove
to the other workers that they are worth keeping; as the novel goes on near the
end, it is mainly about Lennie and his unintended actions towards others which
leads him to his consequences.
This novel is written in the third
person point of view. Since Of Mice and
Men is in the third person point of view, the narrator is omniscient
meaning that the narrator knows everything about the characters and plot. The
only shifts in point of view were when there was dialogue amongst the
characters. The effect that the author achieves with this point of view is that
the reader is able to establish the thoughts and feelings of the different
characters. The author’s purpose for writing in the third person is for the
reader to gain a better understanding of the plot of the novel from multiple characters
rather than having the novel told in one character’s point of view.
Mice and Men occurs on a ranch in Soledad, California near the Salinas
River during the 1930s (the Great Depression). To be more specific, the main
events take place in the riverbank, barn, bunk house, and Crooks’ room. The
symbolic meaning behind the setting of this novel of that it was during the
Great Depression which meant that many men were poor and desperate to find a
stable paying job. Also, due to the fact that George and Lennie were migrant workers,
it makes sense that they wanted to work in Salinas due to the large farms
looking for more men to employ.