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Referat: Of mice and men

Alles zu John Steinbeck  - Of Mice And Men

Annkristin Sapizak

English Essay: Of mice and men (by John Steinbeck)

Background to the novel , the people in that time, and the author:
The novel “of mice and men” was written by John Steinbeck in 1937. “Of mice and men” wasn’t the only famous novel that Steinbeck had written during his great time, especially during the 1930s. Steinbeck was, at heart, a writer of the California experience. He was born in Salinas in 1902, he grew up in the Salinas Valley. Steinbeck had worked as a worker on a farm when he was young while his father owned some land in that area. The farm in Soledad that is described at the beginning of the book is almost a like the farm that Steinbeck was working at. Steinbeck’s books deal with the live of normal workers/immigrants from different parts of the US who had come to start a new life in California. The time when Steinbeck was just working on the novel “Of mice and men”, was also called the time of The Great Depression. The United states had been in depression since World War I ended. The farmers had to produce food for the armies and people in Europe produced even after the war ended. The European Nations had to produce their own food and weren’t able to import a lot, that is why prices fell and so the farmers had trouble with paying debts. A lot of farmers had to move into the cities, leave their old life behind, start something new and go into an industrial job. The Great Depression didn’t only eliminated many industrial jobs, it also worsened the plight of the farmers who had stayed with their land. The farm prices fell about 30%during the first few years, but the taxes that the farmers had to pay for the land stayed high. The depression was also like a time of inequality, woman were in a low position. A typical woman during that time was a housewife just there for getting kids and doing the household, also the black people were still in a low position. In the white men’s eyes black people and other immigrants took away their jobs, too. John Steinbeck was really close to these people and got his creative visions for his novel, from what he had seen.

Summary of the novel:
The story starts with the two travelling American labourers, George Milton and Lennie Small. The two men are on their way to a job loading barley at a California ranch, near the town of Soledad. It is Friday evening and the two got off the bus on mistake , so the two are spending the night at the river before they arrive by foot the next morning at work. Lennie and George are tow total opposites, Lennie is slowly mentally, seems to have the mind of child and the body of a strong man. George is Lennie’s guardian and is travelling around with Lennie, since Aunt Clara who took care of Lennie before had died. The two often get into trouble because of Lennie's habit of petting soft things, that is also the reason why the two often have to leave a place after a short while again and find a new job. Both men share a dream, a little farm that they own together, Lennie wants to tend the rabbits that they want to have. Saturday morning they arrive at the ranch and meet Candy, an old one-handed man. He is telling the two more about the farm and the other workers. Then they meet the boss who had been waiting for the two already, he is asking some question that Lennie was told not to answer by George but does so. The next person they meet is Curley’s wife, the boss’s son’s wife. She is looking for her husband as an excuse to flirt and meet the other workers. George warns Lennie to stay away from that woman. Lennie wants to leave from there and George agrees to leave as soon as they got enough money to realise their dream. Slim enters the bunkhouse and announces that his dog has had puppies. he is talking with Carlson about Candy’s old dog and about killing it and giving Candy one of the puppies. Lennie wants a puppy, too. George allows to ask slim if Lennie can also have one. Later George and Slim are talking about Lennie’s and George’s companionship and how Lennie isn’t smart but a nice guy. Soon Carlson is entering, trying to get Candy to kill his dog after Slim takes part in the conversation, too Candy gives in. While George and Lennie are talking about their dream again candy hears them talking and wants to join them and give them half of the money to realise the dream of the farm. The dreams seems to be close. Curley who had hated Lennie since they had met the first time, enters and begins to yell at him and hit him. Lennie doesn’t hit back until George tells him to, by accident Lennie breaks Curley’s hand. The guys are playing outside a game of horseshoes , all except Crooks and Lennie. Lennie goes and talks to Crooks who at first wanted Lennie to leave right away. Lennie is telling him about the dream and Crooks wants to join to after Candy had entered and told about his attempting. Curley’s wife looking for company, enters the room. Crooks and Candy argue with her but she tries to play up to Lennie. Than George enters and she leaves. George is mad that another person is going to join the dream. The next afternoon trouble is coming because George had killed the puppy that he had gotten from Slim. He tried to hide the dead body of the puppy when Curley’s wife enters the barn where he is hiding it. They are talking about both their dream. When Lennie tells her that he loves to touch soft things she allows him to stroke her hair. He does so but she is getting into a panic and starts to scream, Lennie tells her to stop and starts to shake her. Lennie accidentally breaks her neck, just like he had done with the puppy. Lennie starts to run off to the river just like George had told him before they got to the ranch. When candy finds the dead body of the woman he gets George and checks if they will still realise the dream even without Lennie. George has already forsaken the vision. He asks candy to give him a few minutes before telling the others about this, he does so. George goes and steals Carlson’s gun. Soon George renters the barn and discovers with the others the dead body. George attempts to convince the others to kill George because he is meant no harm. They all go out to look for Lennie. Finally in the last scene, Lennie is again at the same riverbank as in the opening chapter. He sees several different visions. George is telling Lennie one last time about their dream after he had asked for it. When they hear some sounds from the bush George takes out the gun that he had stolen and shoots Lennie in the back of his head. The other men think that George took the gun away from Lennie who had stolen the gun and George agrees with that story. They all go back to the ranch now.

“Of mice and men” is, to some extent also a novel of protest. It portrays the harsh reality of life during the depression. A theme of inequality is protesting throughout the novel. Crooks who is the only black worker at the ranch is in a lower position than the others. The others don’t pay to much attention to him, he is treated like an animal and is almost describes as one too. It seems like Steinbeck wants to show how badly Crooks is treated and who he got bitter because of that. Crooks doesn’t look for the contact anymore he is always rather going a step backwards when someone is coming into his little world( his protective world, that he had made by himself). Crooks is a lonely man who is left alone by the others. Although Crooks wasn’t treated with respect he had a lot of dignity. Another character who is on protest is Curley’s wife she is protesting the theme of power. She as a woman and the boss’ son’s wife is in a lower position than the workers. in our days she would be in a hire position but because of that she was just a woman she was in a lower state. A woman was suppost to be a housewife, doing the household, getting kids doing everything for her husband. Curley’s wife is different she is always looking for a conversation se is also very lonely nobody is willing to talk to her. She pretends to look for her husband and is trying to get attention and someone to talk to or flirt with. In the book there is a phrase where it says: “you got a husband” You got no call fooln’ around with the other guys” with this phrase I think Steinbeck protects that black people are treaded worse than with woman. There is a large extent of protest in the novel, Steinbeck mainly shows the topics of discrimination. Curley’s wife and Crooks are an example of how the reality during the depression had looked like.
The most of this book is about the dream, the dream about something that is just yours, the farm. The guys at the farm share the dream about this little farm having food and a job just you on your own. It also shows how easily the people could get influenced. The best example for that would be how George is like a guardian for Lennie even though Lennie is a lot stronger and bigger but George is smart and influences Lennie by being nice to him by taking care of him. George could tell Lennie everything and he would believe it, the people wanted to be on there own during there time but also wanted influence and power over others.

My opinion:
The novel isn’t hard to understand, it is written in a simple style. The slang that Steinbeck had used in the book was old and because of this sometimes not that easy but it also helps to get yourself into the story of Lennie and George, it helps to understand how life was like and how the people were like. Although I liked reading the book I would say that “of mice and men” is a novel that should only be read by students in the higher grades. I got this opinion because after my researches I firstly really understood the book and what it was suppost to show. There is more behind the book than the dream of a farm that Lennie and George want to own. I thing you need to know that historical side to this book to really get the message that the author want’s to give with this novel. John Steinbeck is an author that likes to describe things which makes his stories more complex but also gives it the imagination of how it looked like. I think John Steinbeck does so because it was really important to show the reality of the peoples life. By reading the book I think I can ant least imagine a bit better how the time of the Great Depression must have been like and how hard and unequal life was for people, how people got discriminated and such things.
Dieser Essay beschäftigt sich mit der Zeit in der Of mice and men von John steinbeck spielt. Es geht darum, wann das Buch spielt was die Hintergrundgedanken sind und wie die Zeit in der es spielte war. Zudem gibt es eine ausführtliche Zusammenfassung und eine Interpretation zu dem Buch und den Gedanken des Autors. Ebenfals vorhanden ist meine eigene Meinung zu dem Buch.
Background, Summary, Interpretation, Inhaltsangabe) (1955 Wörter)
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