Central Park Essay

4513 words - 18 pages

Of Mice and Men Study GuideAuthor BiographyJohn Steinbeck (1902-1968) was born in Salinas, California. He came from a middle class family. His father was the county treasurer, and his mother was a former schoolteacher. She inspired and encouraged his love of books and reading.He attended Stanford University, but he did not graduate. In his twenties, he traveled to New York City with the dream of supporting himself as a freelance writer. When his efforts failed, he went home to California. He then began to work seriously on novels and short stories.When Steinbeck was a young adult, he spent his summer vacations working as a hired hand on local ranches. His interactions with the people he met during those summers greatly influenced the characters he created throughout his career. In an interview following the publication of Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck revealed that all the characters in the novel are composites based on real people.Steinbeck said in his essay "Advice For Beginning Writers" (1963) that he still felt afraid every time he began writing a story, even though he had a long successful writing career behind him. He went on to say that a writer who does not experience this fear may not have an appropriate respect for the art of writing.Book SummaryBackgroundOf Mice and Men was published in 1937, after John Steinbeck had achieved literary acclaim with his novel Tortilla Flat but before he wrote his better known works The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. The story epitomizes the themes and ideas that Steinbeck propounded throughout his novels: the plight of the laborers, the perils of isolation, and the hope for a better future. Set in California during the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men is an excellent vehicle to learn about the life and times of migrant works in the 1930s. With its beautiful descriptive passages, easily accessible dialogue, and fast-paced timeline, it is very easy to follow along. Readers are drawn in by the memorable characters, that, ironically, represent a segment of society that was largely ignored in its day. Analyzing the balance of power, the importance of friendship, and the role of dreams in our lives allows readers to gain a deeper understanding of the text while applying valuable lessons to their own lives.Novel SettingOf Mice and Men is set in the Salinas Valley of Southern California in the late 1930's, the era of the Great Depression. Like many writers of the Modern Period (1915-1945), John Steinbeck attempts to make sense of the early decades of the 20th century; he sees the humanity in a class of people who are often ignored by writers and by society at large. These issues are further developed in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.Character ListBelow is a list of the major characters from Of Mice and Men.Lennie Small: a nondescript, hulking creature of a man whose childlike mentality continually gets him into scrapes with men who neither respect nor understand him.George Milton: a small, lean man, used to...

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