Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men Literary Analysis 11th Grade

In the realistically dismal novella Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck sympathizes with poverty-stricken characters that are stuck working towards the hopeless American Dream. He portrays the men and women as human beasts, stranded in a world of limited social roles, intolerance, and endless labor. Steinbeck juxtaposes this realistic depiction of daily life with the character’s focus on a dream world that includes freedom, individuality, wealth, success, and loyalty. His straightforward writing style allowed the story to be widely understood by those caught in the Great Depression’s soul-sucking grasp at the time of publishing, and by anyone from teenagers to adults today. By making a connection with the audience, presenting strong symbolism, and utilizing vernacular diction, Steinbeck subtly argues that the common dreams of people in this time period were unattainable and led only to a miserable cycle of work and tragedy while informing the reader of the true societal conditions of the 1930’s working class.

Steinbeck evokes the reader’s affections by having them sympathize with George and Lennie’s situation and breaks their hearts by presenting the men’s complex relationship that ended with a depressing death. By utilizing vivid...

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