I had study "Of mice and men" for my English GCSE course. I was not looking forward to it, as I like to choose the books I read myself. Although after reading the first chapter I was engrossed and couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed it and couldn't wait to see what would happen next.
"Of mice and men" is a novella. This means it is not as long as a novel, but not as short as a short story. It has parts instead of chapters.
Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. He studied marine biology at university, but left in 1925 without taking a degree. He did this because he had now decided that he was determined to be a writer. .
He wrote in the 1930's, when America was going through a severe depression. His work reflects this, as he writes about the lives of people working on the land. He focuses his stories on the real, hard lives of men and women, portraying their difficult, working lives. His work shows the world of men. He puts women on the outside.
The title of the book is very significant. It shows that plans can often go wrong or get destroyed by an unkind fate. The title was taken from a poem by Robert Burns. The poem tells of an unfortunate field mouse whose home is flattened by a plough.
"Of mice and men" is a story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. George and Lennie, two drifters in search of work, have nothing in the world but each other and a dream, a dream of owning their own piece of land - the American dream.
The main themes that run through the book are, dreams, anger, violence, loneliness and discrimination.
Every character has their own dream. Some share George and Lennie's American dream, others have a dream of their own, individual needs.
Anger and violence are two more themes that run throughout the story. All of the characters are angry in at least one part in the book. They all deal with their anger in their own ways.