Good critics discuss the entertainment value of the book, but they also look deeper into the elements of literature. Be a critic. Answer the questions to start your review of Of Mice and Men.
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Yikes, I would not presume to second guess Steinbeck's classic. I suppose you might ask yourself if there was something about the book which you didn't like. I really can't find any flaws.
The novel has no major flaws as far as the writing in concerned. The major issue is whether it is entertaining, educational , satirical, comic or realistic. The interpretation would de decided by the readers and perhaps the experiences they might have lived or endured themselves. So many major works are wonderfully woven pieces of historical fiction that teach us the realities, shortcomings, and complex manners in which different people in different socio -economic conditions achieve, fail or struggle to overcome challenges. Steinbeck, like Harper Lee, has a very fine skill of using POV and weaving a narrative to show how mental health, poverty, lack of education, and need made unskilled farm workers and manual laborers vulnerable to legal actions, harassment and abuse carried out by a wealthier, land titled and educated primarily white /Latino mestizo class in the west. Segregation at the ranch is not based on ability but on race. Nevertheless, white poor laborers face the same lot as mentally diseased Lennie. The poor, left at the mercy of the job market and need to feed and clothe themselves, have no opportunity to marry, acquire land or father legitimate heirs. Like in a semi - feudal system they are destined to migrate looking for seasonal work and suffer intolerable working conditions, health hazards and abuse. By frequenting whores, they face the possibility of sexually transmitted disease and future disability. A disabled farm worker becomes like an old unworthy dog that lter needs to be acrificed and put out of its misery. A " criminal", not defined by evidence, may be painfully executed or lynched because he can not defend his innocence. It is far easier just to erase a problem by killing voices that may or may not be able to speak the truth in court about actual events.
Of Mice and Men is an exaggerated version of the misery endured by the landless poor during the Great Depression. It accurately demoralizes men and women who have no faith or Christian upbringing. It marginalizes the landowners who believed in materialism and not in God. George, seems to be the unsung hero because he spares Lennie the hideous lynching that "justly" awaits him. Common social law and not law enforced by townships was par for the course on these large ranches far from "civilization".
Of Mice and Men accurately illustrates similar situations that confront us today. Gun possession and constitutional rights to bear arms, especially on the Arizona border, are very complex issues. Marginalized victims rarely have opportunities to speak the truth and ranch owners often lack police protection from vandals, trespassers and usurpers. So, important moral lessons can be gleaned from Steinbeck.. What is "right" and what is "wrong" is very relative to point of view. Making life deciding split second decisions with weapons requires adequate training, safety, education, licensing and clear legal statutes of limitations. Many who have served in the police force or n the USAF have this training, but the large majority of civilians have not.
Armed militias can be as "good" as they are "bad". Best we give our police force and armed forces ample pay, retirement and disability so that America is not vulnerable to thugs, common criminals and drug dealers. If we analyze the costs of trials like the Trevon Martin case, we can gather that , long term, the costs to society are higher than good well compensated police and FBI services. If cities go bankrupt because they are mandated to supply other services that detract funds from civil protection, ( Medicaid, education, food stamps, welfare) society will not progress but will regress.
Albeit, Steinbeck's books did a lot to communicate early 20th Century history. He indirectly supported New Deal values as well as expressed the struggles that migrant farm workers still face today in third world countries. Thanks to machinery , farming equipment and technology, in developed countries, the Georges, Lennies and Curlies are no longer indispensable in modern agriculture. Most migrant workers in the US today are here by choice. Most farms use machinery to do what the countless farm hands did in the 1930's.
I find it personally saddening to read press editorials with the many criticisms of helping students to read, analyze and interpret great literature. One of our finest Presidents , Abe Lincoln, was a largely self - taught humanities expert. His guides were not just the Holy Bible but great poets and philosophers.
What harms students is to give them one sided arguments and not to introduce the many different POV's. Teachers should not use public classrooms to share personal political platforms or religious education. Students should be given as much concrete information as possible and should be guided to read carefully, infer , research and formulate their own opinions. Words can be powerful tools as well and should also be used wisely, fairly, carefully and with noble intention.
Putting yourself in many other's "skins" , shoes, POV's or literary masterpieces is an excellent way of gaining a well - rounded non - biased education. Beauty and wisdom lei in the eyes and hearts of the beholders. Much knowledge and wisdom can vicariously learned from historical and well written books.
Technology may solve many modern problems ( just as it creates new ones ) , but few machines create and communicate as effectively as the educated literate human being.
Of Mice And Men