Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men: Character Study
The American Novelist, John Steinbeck was a powerful writer of dramatic stories about good versus bad. His own views on writing were that not only should a writer make the story sound good but also the story written should teach a lesson. In fact, Steinbeck focused many of his novels, not on average literary themes rather he tended to relay messages about the many hard truths of life in The United States. Upon winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 the
Swedish academy introduced him by saying "He had no mind to be an unoffending comforter and entertainer. Instead, the topics he chose were serious and denunciatory…" This serious focus was not exempt from his two works "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men". "The Grapes of Wrath" has been recognized by many as "the greatest novel in American History" and it remains among the archetypes of American culture. Although "Of Mice and Men" may not have received as much fanfare as the other it is still a great classic that was recently made into a motion picture.
The focus of "The Grapes of Wrath" Is one family, the Joads, who has been kicked off their Oklahoma farm and forced to move to California to look for work. The story has historical significance as it is true that many families were forced, in the same way as the Joads, to leave their homes to look for work during the depression. It is in this fact that one can see how Steinbeck's intention in "The grapes of Wrath" was to depict the hardships people went through during an actual event in American history. Perhaps the most solemn message in this novel was the poor treatment of the dispossessed families as they reached California. In "Of Mice and Men" the reader is presented with a story that takes place in the same setting of "The Grapes of Wrath" This story details the hardships of two traveling companions while they are working at a ranch in California.
The common thread between these two novels is not necessarily the plot or the setting rather, it is the way in which Steinbeck relays his message.
That is to say that, although both novels carry different story lines they both portray hard truths about human suffering. Steinbeck reveals these truths through his depiction of characters. In each story it seems that the characters were crafted by Steinbeck in a bias manner so as to emphasize the overall message of the book. It is quite obvious that all of Steinbeck's characters are