Two Different Mice and Two Different Men
To the average reader, “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck may initially look very similar, but after carefully critiquing and comparing their abundance of differences, their opinion will change. Steinbeck found his inspiration for writing the novel after reading that poem. His novel is set in Salinas, CA during the 1900s and is about migrant farm wrokers while the poem is about the guilt felt by one man after he inadvertently ruins the “home” of a field mouse with his plow. Even though they are two different genres of literature, they share a similar intent. The poem is written in first person, while the novel is written in third person omniscient. The vocabulary used to provide imagery is also another subtle different. Being two different genres of literature, they are destined to have both differences and similarities, but the amount of differences outweighs the aspects that are the same.
Point of view is an aspect of every work of literature that determines how one’s story will unfold. Burns’ and Steinbeck’s works completely differ in this aspect. “To a Mouse” is written in first person, giving the reader a restricted view of the setting, as only one side of the story is told. It is not told from the mouse’s perspective, but from the destructive man’s point of view, which becomes apparent when the man refers to himself in one line of the poem, stating, “But oh! I backward cast my eye.” When a work of literature is told in first person, the reader does not get to see the whole story. The view is very limited. Steinbeck, on the other hand, used third person omniscient when writing his novel. This gives the reader the full story! The reader is aware of the thoughts and actions of all the characters involved, not just a few of them. Obviously, this is helpful when mentally developing traits of each person through their actions, thoughts, and words.
Every work of literature has a theme. A theme is a main moral or message throughout a story. One of the main themes throughout “To a Mouse” is having compassion for all living things, no matter how small they may be. This becomes evident as the man shows remorse for ruining the mouse’s future home. He states that, “But Mousie, thou art not alone . . . the present only toucheth thee.” This means that even though the man could not actually communicate with the mouse, he felt guilty and wanted to mentally make the mouse feel better by stating that the future holds time for repair. The theme is the same in both the poem and the novel because they both revolve...