A comparison of the heroic figures within Of Mice & Men (John Steinbeck,

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A comparison of the heroic figures within Of Mice & Men (John Steinbeck,

published 1938) and The Sexton's Hero (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1950s)

A comparison of the heroic figures within Of Mice & men and The Sexton's

Hero

Although both Of Mice & Men (John Steinbeck, published 1938) and The

Sexton's Hero (Elizabeth Gaskell, 1950s) contain story lines, &

references that emphasise heroism, they are both set in very different

locations & time periods, so their only apparent link is heroism.

Of Mice & Men is set in California within the 1930's during the time

of the depression. During this time many people lived in poverty,

struggling to find employment, and had to resort to travelling from

ranch to ranch in search of it. Unemployment had risen to 25% in the

United States. At this time the 'American dream' that so many had

sought after out had become nothing more than a lost dream.

The Sexton's Hero is set around 1850. The story has a Christian

influence. Of Mice and Men begins in the Californian countryside and

then moves into the setting of the Ranch and finally at the end of the

story the characters are taken back into the countryside. The Sexton's

Hero also features a mix of countryside and village settings. The

story begins in the Churchyard and moves into a village in Lancashire,

North England. Of Mice and Men is written in the third person and is

told chronologically whereas The Sexton's Hero is written in a more

recollective, third person form (person at the church yard and then

the Sexton remembering).

In both Of Mice and Men and The Sexton's hero, there is a singular

'hero' that the story focuses on. Although both characters are both

seen as heroes they are very different people, with very little in

common. The stereotypical hero that many of us are used to today

through watching television and films would be a character like

Superman or Spiderman, a person who is typically strong, fearless,

brave, and has some sort of special power. They also end up catching

the villain and saving the girl. We can see from the example of

Gilbert and George that this stereotype of a hero does not always

apply to all heroes and that Gilbert and George are not stereotypical

heroes, although both do share certain aspects of the stereotypical

hero.

The theme of heroism is introduced very differently in each story. In

Of Mice and Men it is introduced implicitly to the reader. Readers

look at the characters and their relationships with others and decide

for themselves what a hero is. In The Sexton's Hero the theme of

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