John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is a short novel about two men, their friendship, and their dream of owning a small piece of land one day.
The book’s structure is relatively straightforward. The events are narrated in chronological order and the novel is divided into six parts. It also includes some examples of foreshadowing and flashback.
The two main characters in the novel are George and Lennie. Lennie is both strong and gentle, and he also has some learning difficulties. He sometimes gets confused and causes damage when he panics, which eventually has tragic consequences. George travels with Lennie and looks after him, even though he often resents it. The two men work as travelling laborers, but they dream of owning some land together one day.
The landscape of California is an important element of the setting. The novel begins and ends in an idyllic location in the woods by a stream. The rest of the novel is set on the farm where the two men are working. The novel is set during the Great Depression, when many people found it hard to make a living.
The story uses an omniscient third-person narrator, who tells the story through a mixture of narration and dialogue. The narrator rarely gives direct insight into the thoughts and feelings of the characters, but instead implies a character’s state of mind through their body language and actions.
The language used in the novel is generally straightforward and factual, with an emphasis on simple description. The narrative also relies heavily on dialogue, which captures the authentic voice of Californian farm workers at this time and includes lots of slang, idioms, and atypical grammar that reflect the characters’ backgrounds and education.
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