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Of Mice and Men

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megustaleer 23rd March 2006 08:30 AM

 

No thread so far on this book? Amazing!

 

I understand that it has ben ruined for many a reader by being disemboweled in class as a 'set book'. I was fortunate to encounter it for the first time when already well into middle age, so could just enjoy it for the very moving, beautifully written story that it is.

 

A brief synopsis for anyone who has still to experience the pleasure of discovering this book!

George and Lennie are two itinerant ranch hands, moving on because Lennie - retarded and not knowing his own strength - has 'done something bad'. George has responsibility for Lennie and they plan to save up enough money to buy a little place together, but, as the saying goes "the best laid plans...", and this time Lennie does something really bad, and George can see only one way to get him out of it...

 

 

 

Claire 23rd March 2006 09:18 AM

 

I was lucky with this one as well, I didn't read it until about a year ago, so I escaped doing it at school.

 

It was breathtaking and utterly shattering. I finished at about half past seven on a school morning, having woken up really early that morning, and I had to send my kids to go and play in their bedroom for a bit while Mummy got herself together enough to be able to produce clean clothes and breakfast. They were rather puzzled by the whole thing and couldn't quite work out what was wrong with me!

 

Wonderful.

 

I'd love to reread it, but I had it on loan, and had to give it back.

 

 

 

Grammath 23rd March 2006 01:26 PM

 

Steinbeck was, naturally, a major figure in the literature element of my American Studies degree. I read this about fifteen years ago but it has stayed with me, impressive for a book short enough that I probably dashed thorugh it in an afternoon.

 

As I've mentioned elsewhere, my younger brother is autistic so the relationship between George and Lennie had special resonance for me.

 

There was also a fine film adaptation a few years back with Gary Sinise as George and John Malkovich as Lennie but it wouldn't take much longer to read the book than watch the film.

 

 

 

megustaleer 23rd March 2006 02:02 PM

 

Matthew Kelly has played Lennie on stage, with George Costigan as George. I would have loved to have seen that.

 

 

 

minxminnie 23rd March 2006 05:21 PM

 

I teach this book every year, but far from disembowelling it, we share the book - one of the best moments in teaching English is reading the last chapter of "OMAM" with a class who don't yet know how it ends.

Aaaawww...

 

 

 

Flingo 24th March 2006 11:36 AM

 

 

This is me' date=' I'm afraid. I studied it for GCSE and hated it. We also had to watch a film version about 3 times in "revision", and I don't think that helped as I didn't find the characters (particularly George, and the woman whose name I have forgotten) were very well cast! I couldn't say which version it was though.

 

The book left me completely cold - many of my friends were very moved at the end - I was just relieved it had finished.

 

Although we also studied The Red Pony which I loved, OMAM put me off wanting to read Steinbeck ever again.

 

 

 

[b']Thumbsucker [/b]25th March 2006 06:05 PM

 

We also read it at GCSE in my school but I tend to read Heroes with my students instead. Most students react extremely positively to both books and I'm sure they're on the specifications because they are short.

 

Steinbeck is a fantastic writer, I recently read Grapes of Wrath and loved it. Although, I don't know if you can be seen to love a book of such a depressing nature.

 

 

 

supersexy007 25th March 2006 09:23 PM

 

I studied this at GCSE but must have had a good teacher because I still love it and think it is an amazing book. In fact, I think studying it helped me to understand some of the themes and ideas that I may not have picked up on if I hadn't read it/ studied it simultaneously. Unlike some fellow "postees" on the website, I would argue that studying books at school, taking them apart, anaylsing them and discussing them gave me a much better understanding of literature and encouraged me to read outside my "comfort zone" and that is something I still try to do today. I have to say though that I think the "letts" study guides et al should be discouraged - I know of A-Level English students who read those instead of reading the actual book and still managed to pass - quite worrying, but a topic for a different thread perhaps!!! :o

 

 

 

gg106 12th August 2006 11:40 PM

 

I read this for the first time when I was reading it with a bottom set GCSE group made up of pretty tough boys. We all had tears in our eyes when we got to the final pages.....

 

 

Stewart 13th August 2006 12:50 AM

 

Of Mice And Men is a great little tale. It was one of his first attempts to write a play as fiction. If you fancy more like it then Burning Bright may be up your alley.

 

 

 

Hazel 13th August 2006 08:29 AM

 

OMAM is a great novella, so simple yet so complex and moving. The Gary Sinise/John Malkovich film is a great production of the book - and as they both share own the Steppenwolf Theatre Production House, they stated that they wanted to remain faithful to the book - which I think they pulled off. Often disregarded, is Sherilyn Fenn's portrayal of the lady that befalls Lenny - she was quite outstanding. I am amazed when people say that they aren't moved by this story - even my hubby had a tear in his eye at the end of the film, and the last time he cried was, well, before I even knew him!

 

 

 

Paul 13th August 2006 09:36 AM

 

A great story ...so well written, his use of words in such a short novel is wonderful. I've read it a couple of times and always take something away from it.

 

 

 

minxminnie 13th August 2006 07:03 PM

 

I am amazed when people say that they aren't moved by this story - even my hubby had a tear in his eye at the end of the film, and the last time he cried was, well, before I even knew him!

 

I saw the film in the cinema with a friend and a girl who he was trying to ... impress, without seeming too interested (hence the three friends at the pictures scenario).

At the end, the other girl and I, both being English teachers, were discussing the character portrayal, but we couldn't get our mutual friend out of his seat. He didn't want her to see how much he was crying! It never did work out for them ...

 

 

 

Hilary 27th August 2006 04:33 PM

 

I studied it for GCSE too, but I loved it and have reread it since too. In fact, I think I bought my own copy on one of my trips to Hay on Wye. I still remember those balmy days in a warm classroom while Mrs McCavish read it aloud to us and we all tried hard to stay awake so we knew what happened!

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I loved Of Mice and Men, I did read it at school and then again in my 20's.

 

It's a lovely short book and so emotional and sad. I felt quite raw when I'd finished.

 

Lennie is such a wonderful character, so sensitive and childlike, at times he's a pain in the neck but you can't help but feel for him, his relationship with George is so touching, more so what George does at the end of the book. It is a simple story, but very powerful and thought provoking.

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I remember reading this book in college and seeing this version of the film in class, then several times on my own. The newer ones are fine entertainment but with both M & M and GRAPES OF WRATH the original films are outstanding

Just a bit of info and some trivia

ENJOY

GERBAM

 

Of Mice and Men is a 1939 film based on the novella of the same title by American author John Steinbeck. It stars Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Lon Chaney Jr., Charles Bickford, Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele and Noah Beery, Jr.

 

The film tells the story of how the lead characters, George and Lennie, try to pursue their dream of owning their own ranch instead of working always for other people.

 

The film, produced by the Hal Roach Studios, was adapted by Eugene Solow and directed by Lewis Milestone. It was nominated for four Oscars.

 

 

[edit] Trivia

This was one of many films to be banned in Australia between 1928 and 1941 by the Chief Censor, Creswell O'Reilly.

 

Curley's Wife is unnamed in the original novel, in the play, and in all later film and television versions, but in the 1939 film, she is named Mae.

 

This was one of first films where the action of the story commences several minutes before the opening credits start.

 

 

[edit] External links

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I haven't seen either film though my Mum said The grapes of Wrath was really good and I really loved the book so I might look out for the film. Usually with really good novels, the films are not as good so I'm always a bit worried.

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i was going to ask what would be the film version to check out (i think there's 3) but GERBAM answered that question

 

personally i really enjoyed this book. does that sound odd? enjoying what is a sad book

 

iwasd very much enthrawled by the friendship between george and lennie

 

a good book and easy to read

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i was going to ask what would be the film version to check out (i think there's 3) but GERBAM answered that question

OH GOOD I AM HAPPY I CAN HELP

 

personally i really enjoyed this book. does that sound odd? enjoying what is a sad book

ABSOLUTELY NOT! YOU SHOW THAT YOU 'GOT IT' IN YOUR FOLLOWING SENTENCE

iwasd very much enthrawled by the friendship between george and lennie

THE LOVE BETWEEN THESE TWO WAS SO PURE AND SO BEAUTIFUL THAT THEIR FRIENDHSIP WAS WHAT KEPT EACH GOING

 

a good book and easy to read

AMEN

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I thought I had commented on this novella once before, but it's not here. Maybe it has been lost forever with the crash - or more likely my memory is not what it was. Anyway, for what it's worth:-

 

I re-read this book about four years ago, having gone through it with my son ten years before when he was studying it. I remember feeling again through the narrative the pain and suffering of George and Lennie and the life they had.

 

I found it interesting that all the men the story had names, but the one female did not, being referred to only as Curley's wife. Probably because it was a man's world and women seemed to have no place in it except as a source of trouble.

 

One theme I noted on this second read was hands. There are graphic descriptions of hand sizes and shapes, red fingernails (emphasising the danger of Curley's wife), of the hands of cards (mainly solo hands of patience emphasising the lonely existence of these men), of Candy's missing hand and perhaps the most remembered, Curley's hand firstly in a glove filled with Vaseline and then when it was crushed by Lennie. Alll of these references are symbolic in some way to the life of these characters and their interaction.

 

Steinbeck takes time at the beginning to situate George and Lennie in an apparent idyll; a garden of Eden almost. Yet the story that unravels is one of despair, toil, destruction and death. It is perhaps ironic that we return tothe rural idyll for the final scene and Lennie's death.

 

A very strong story, not long, but full of layers. Perhaps it's strength is its brevity.

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I need serious help. I am reading OMAM for school and although I appreciate the story, I need help finding a reason why X X X could be justified. Thank you in advance! :)

 

X X X  = deleted by a moderator as it is a spoiler

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Hi, confuSed Kidd.

 

I'm glad you're enjoying OMAM, but obviously a school assignment is designed for you to do, not us! I do wish you luck with it, though.

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Hi, confuSed Kidd.

 

I'm glad you're enjoying OMAM, but obviously a school assignment is designed for you to do, not us! I do wish you luck with it, though.

 

I have learned today that we sometimes overlook things at first glance. Thanks! :) I re-read the book and I have written my essay after deep thought. It's great.

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I have learned today that we sometimes overlook things at first glance. Thanks! :) I re-read the book and I have written my essay after deep thought. It's great.

 

 

Excellent work, a valuable lesson learned, it is amazing how much we miss on a first reading. Wish the teenagers I teach could get their heads around that.....

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i was one of those who also had to read this in school in year 10 so i was 14, i didnt appreciate the book at all and didnt pay attention to it, and barely scraped a pass in my gcse because of it.

i then found the book about a year ago and reread it and just found it great, i love the dynamic of lennie and george and the ending is heartbreaking

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I read this book after reading 'Tortilla Flat', one of his less well known books, although I'd still recommend it. I hadn't actually heard anything about OMAM, other than the title obviously, so didn't really know what to expect. Especially after Tortilla Flat, because, although that book has a similar bleakness to it, and delves into the human mind in a similar way, it is not as heavy, it's actually quite comedic in places. So OMAM was a bit of a surprise really, but I'm so glad I read it. Not much I can say about what it made me feel that others haven't said already, it was really sad, and the relationship between George and Lennie was heartbreaking, that sort of relationship always gets me, way too easy to make me cry with them. But I did find it really inspirational, to be able to sum up so many emotions in such a short space is amazing, and it really made me think about the sort of things I want to be writing myself. Almost the perfect novella I think.

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I've popped that bit in spoilers, KL, rather than just have a warning - saves people seeing it accidentally. If you click on 'Quote' you'll see how I did it.

 

As for the question:

 

 

I would say the former. Their attachment - though testing for George - is very strong and George honours his promise to look after Lennie. Curley would make him suffer in retribution and so George gives him the quick exit. Slim understands this and reassures him.

 

I guess you could argue the latter, but most of that justification would be based on things George says in the opening chapter that emerge more from his frustrations than his heart.

 

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Just read this book this morning and thought it a beautifully written and poignant little story.

 

Clearly written in a time when men were men (grrrr) and feelings went barely acknowleged, yet it is a compassionate story of heart rending tenderness.

 

It struck me that Curley's wife is one of the only characters without a name and I note that this has been mentioned upthread. I wonder if this was deliberate on the part of Steinbeck?

 

As well as being an incredible story there is so much history in the pictures painted by the author - the rough justice, the hard lives of the lonely itinerant workers, the stifling oppression of negroes.

 

I must admit I did giggle to myself a bit at the first introduction to Slim, (the alpha male). The author made him sound so heroic, you'd think the Milky Bar Kid had just walked through the door.

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Clearly written in a time when men were men (grrrr) and feelings went barely acknowleged

Well, that's very often what men are like - even today - especially men who lead hard physical lives, as the ranchers do in the book. The all-male community only accentuates that. I think that's why the moments of tenderness stand out so poignantly and you could even read that in the final action taken by George, even though it is superficially a violent, 'male' action.

 

It struck me that Curley's wife is one of the only characters without a name and I note that this has been mentioned upthread. I wonder if this was deliberate on the part of Steinbeck?

Oh yes. Not to provide a character with a name has to be a conscious decision on the part of an author and it defines her clearly as a possession. As a woman in a harsh male world she is irrelevant except for her sexual identity and since that's the only thing that gives her a sense of power or importance that's the role she inhabits, which is all part of her tragedy.

 

Albee pulls an even better name trick to a similar end in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Nick's wife Honey - a name that almost isn't a name, just an empty term of endearment.

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Well, that's very often what men are like - even today ..
Absolutely. I don't think I know any men who would open up to other men in the same way as they do to women. The story certainly struck me as a very blokey story though.

 

....and you could even read that in the final action taken by George, even though it is superficially a violent, 'male' action.

Definitely. The comparison to the killing of the lame dog earlier in the story and the words of Slim who told George that if Curley didn't get hold of him he'd be tied up like a dog, showed there was no easy way out of the situation. Earlier in the story had Crook tormented Lennie about life in the nut house, demonstrating the harshness of life for those who couldn't contribute to society

 

 

Oh yes. Not to provide a character with a name has to be a conscious decision on the part of an author and it defines her clearly as a possession.

I hadn't thought of her being considered as a possession, but of course that's exactly as Curley would have thought, along with all the other blokes too, who, (apart from possibly Slim), showed her no sympathy or consideration at all - at least not in front of the other men, but even Lulu the dog (another possession) has a name.

 

I wondered if he'd chosen not to name her in order to try and ensure the readers invested little sympathy in her too. Of course it's possible it demonstrated the unconscious prejudices of Steinbeck himself and may have gone unnoticed by many at the time of publishing. I suspect many more readers back then would have readily accepted her simply as the tart she is described as.

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Once again on the GCSE syllabus this year, I bought the audio book for my daughter for her revision. She loved the story and particularly enjoyed hearing it read by a narrator in an American accent, as did I. I read it many years ago but this time I found listening to it a delightful pleasure.

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Even though I'm not into short stories, I really enjoyed this one. Steinbeck is just a brilliant author. This book touches so many topics, down to the most important question of all, the reason for living. Great book.

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