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Of Mice and Men

analytical Essay
1198 words
1198 words
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Written in 1937, Of Mice and Men, by John Adolf Steinbeck Jr., American author and Pulitzer Prize winner, follows the lives of downtrodden farmhands, George and Lennie. As with many of Steinbeck's books, the themes in Of Mice and Men include his favored themes of class warfare and oppression of the working class. Steinbeck also focuses his literature on the power of friendship and the corrupt nature of mankind. In 1993, Professor Thomas Scarseth wrote a critical analysis of the novella analyzing many aspects of Steinbeck’s work including the presentation, themes, and writing style. In his essay, Scarseth explains the key themes of the Novella. He noted that the corrupted nature of man, the injustice of life, and the power of friendship were three important themes of the book. Much of Scarseth’s analysis contained numerous thoughtful insights. Were his insights and opinions valid, or were his, and Steinbeck’s, perspectives on these issues flawed?
Scarseth argues that “Readers may object to the book’s presentation of low class characters, vulgar language, scenes suggestive of improper sexual conduct, and an implied criticism of the social system. . . Furthermore, these features are necessary in the book.” Scarseth continues to argue that they are “accurate, precise reporting,” because they represented the time, place and environment of the era in which the novella was penned. Written in 1937, Of Mice and Men is the story of two migrant workers who came to California to fulfill their dreams. While the intentions of these two men seemed noble, they were unable to achieve the goal of purchasing land for a myriad of reasons. The first and most difficult challenge they faced was the effect of The Great Depression. Like many of...

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...e most powerful force in human society. The friendship between George and Lennie gave them the hope to persevere through the most depressing circumstances. Steinbeck’s Idea that society and the injustice of life, specifically in America, is against the working man is extremely pessimistic. This is repeated throughout many his works, from his novella, The Pearl to The Grapes of Wrath. The idea is stated more succinctly by Scarseth, “We all deserve better than we get.” While much of Scarseth’s analysis of Of Mice and Men, accurately examined the Steinbeck’s themes of friendship and the fallen character and nature of man, Scarseth’s and Steinbeck’s view of the injustice of life is simply wrong. “We all deserve better than we get” screams of the Marxist, socialist view that somehow we “deserve” more. The statement begs this question, what better do we all deserve?

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes john adolf steinbeck jr.'s of mice and men, which follows the lives of downtrodden farmhands, george and lennie. professor scarseth wrote a critical analysis of the novella.
  • Analyzes how scarseth argues that readers may object to the book's presentation of low class characters, vulgar language, scenes suggestive of improper sexual conduct, and an implied criticism of the social system.
  • Analyzes how steinbeck develops the powerful theme of strong friendships in of mice and men.
  • Analyzes how scarseth and steinbeck agree on the views expressed in of mice and men.
  • Analyzes how scarseth's assessment of the injustice of life in of mice and men is correct, but the overall premise that "we all deserve better than what we get" is pessimistic.
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