Chris's Reviews > Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
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's review
Mar 26, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: high-school-literature
Recommended to Chris by: 10th Grade Literature Teacher
Recommended for: 10th Graders and older with excellent critical thinking skills
Read in January, 1991

John Ernest Steinbeck is a highly respected novelist who had won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1940, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. He was a member of the Order of DeMolay, a boy's club sponsored by the Freemasons dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives. This seems ironic to me since the themes of this novel and much of his other literature seemed to undermine a young man's natural desire to lead a successful, happy, and productive life. He wrote with impressive literary skill, but what he wrote gave the impression of undermining many of the values he had been raised to promote. While reading a novel like this, one doesn't find inspiration to pursue success, happiness and productivity to the best of one's ability. Instead, it leaves one with a sense of jaded cynicism that some describe as disillusionment. Of Mice and Men promotes a grim view of human existence, with characters suffering helplessly as the prey of a predatory society. They are confused and alienated, unable to help themselves and fated to cruelly lash out at those who are even weaker than themselves. They feel that life is no good without companionship, but instead of working together as partners for their common good, they drag each other down through their dependence and hopelessness. This novel is excellently written and superb at what it does, but I object to the themes of this novel as being inappropriate for impressionable young minds. I also object that the worldview presented in this novel is self-fulfilling and those who believe the world is like this tend to live in such a way that it becomes more like it.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Abigail Cantrell hi Chris! not much on steinbeck, eh? i thought this one was pretty nuts, actually, but good writing. I really like this site, glad to be your friend here.

Abigail Cantrell hi Chris! not much on steinbeck, eh? i thought this one was pretty nuts, actually, but good writing. I really like this site, glad to be your friend here.

James Chris,

Your point about teaching Of Mice and Men in school is an interesting one, however, many teens can relate to the darker themes of the book, for the teenage years can be quite harsh. This book may help teens understand the conditions, nature, and complexity of those shadowy and confusing experiences. By doing this it may help some deal with it and get through it.

Also, I wanted to ask you how surprised should one really be that the author as a person, and the author as a creator of literary worlds, have considerable differences? Obviously, both persons spring from the same seed, but, does that mean that both persons are harmonious in the majority of their endeavors? I do not believe so. For let us not forget that Art is THE outlet for our angst. Humans ARE multifarious creatures,

That said, I also do not find it best to judge a book by the author's personal life, although noting it in a review is interesting.

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