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June 09, 2011


The sun blazed down on the backs of one hundred tired men. Dirty faces, weathered hands and the stench of sweat wreaking the air with a bitter fragrance. It was one of the hottest days George had ever experienced and here he was, in the middle of a field, the reflection of the sun, beaming into his sweat filled eyes. The sickle handle was worn and he could feel each splinter piecing his skin like needles into a pin cushion.
“What Lennie” George said with a sense of irritancy in his voice. Lennie sat down next to him, crushing the wheat underneath him.
“George, when are we gonna leave?”
“I told you, Lennie, we aint goin no where’s till this job is done”
Another man sat down next to lennie. He was unshaven, thin and scrawny. His body was angular and gaunt like that of a man on his death bed
“Howdy” he said in strong Alabama accent. George and Lennie ignored him.
“But George...” Lennie’s voice trailed off as the sound of Candy’s booming voice swept across the land like a flock of geese.
“Hey Small, what do ya think your doin?!” He shouted. Lennie shrank away and held Georges arm tight. George yelpt like a puppy as the flow of blood to his arms slowly stopped.
“Arrghh, Jesus Lennie get off, Now!” Lennie loosened his grip on George. Curly dismounted.
“I aint payin ya to sit on ya hinds all day, get back to the fields!” George got up.
“C’mon Lennie lets go” Lennie got up slowly, cautiously. The other man got up and as he did so Curly moved towards him.
“What are you doin from your post” The scrawny man got up and started to back off, but Candy was clearly itching for a fight.
“I don’t want no trouble” the man said
“well you got trouble” Candy sneered, his eyes alight with the fire of a mad man. Candy took two steps forwards and the man turned and ran but he was no sprinter and candy’s athleticism soon caught up with him. Candy knocked him to the ground and started to circle him, like a vulture over a wounded animal. The man tried to play dead, but Candy simply kicked him over and over, almost as if he was playing with him. All the meanwhile George simply stood and watched. Candy only stopped when his father appeared and broke them up.
It was a cool, summer evening as the sun set over the ranch, giving off an easy glow. The sound of men laughing and shouting as they played their card games was the pervasive sound, whilst in the distance the sound of crickets singing their songs echoed off the night sky. As George look out over the straw laid floor in the barn, the ranch cat, stretched on the veranda. Suddenly the cat sprang to its feet. Its ears perked up, the hairs on its neck stood erect. A grey mouse scuttled across Georges view stopping to look around. The cat pounced catching the back leg of the mouse knocking it of its feet. The mouse desperately tried to get away, running this way and that but the cat was too quick. It rolled the mouse over and over with its paw, tormenting its victim. All the while the laughter of men resounded through the air as George watched the little, scrawny mouse being taunted by the larger, athletic cat. Although worlds apart, the live of mice and men, are unmistakably paralleled.
In this passage. I have used the following techniques
1. Light and sound imagery to create an atmosphere
2. An example of a parallel and echo
3. The characters opinions are never expressed/ we never know what the characters are thinking.

It could be argued that Steinbeck uses different settings to reflect different characters. This is best illustrated in section four where John Steinbeck describes Crooks' room. Here he describes the objects in the setting in a list format which reflects Crooks' characteristics. The room itself is described as “a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn” as well as the repetitive reference to broken objects such as "broken harness", "a split collar" and "broken hame". These all reflect Crooks' physical disability as a cripple.
When it is stated that “he had accumulated more possessions than he could carry on his back” it is suggested that he is a permanent resident of the ranch due to his disability. His possessions too reflect his personality; for example his dictionary and glasses suggest the he is intellectual and his copy of the California Civil Code for 1905 suggests the civil unrest underlying society at the time, specifically the racism.
Steinbeck’s description of the setting also seems to compare Crooks to a horse. This is best shown in the lines “Crooks’ bunk was a long box filled with straw” and the “range of medicine bottles, both for himself and the horses”. This suggests that Crooks has the same status and power of that of a horse.
In section three Steinbeck shows a link between characters and settings. For example “George to his place opposite”. This suggests that George belongs in the bunk house and suggests that he has been accepted at the ranch.

The natural world is idealised - the world of man is made to seem horrible. The way George and Lennie speak about the American dream, they say that when they finish work at the barn they'll buy a house with rabbits etc, whereas, the world of man is actually natural/normal as well. The natural world is also looked up upon. Steinbeck describes people by their surroundings he also refers to the theme isolation "guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world." this represents isolation.

It could be argued that Steinbeck’s verbs are more important than his adjectives in creating imagery. This is best illustrated in descriptions of nature. Steinbeck describes how the Salinas River, at the beginning of Section One, ‘slipped twinkling over the yellow sands’. The river, although having being described previously as ‘warm’ ‘deep’ and ‘green’, ‘slipping’ is a verb usually associated with smoothness and ease, implying the river is very calm and tranquil. ‘Twinkling’ is also an important verb as this is associated with stars and, although not badly, with wealth, which gives the river a divine personality. Later in the description, Steinbeck uses the verb ‘skittering’ to describe a lizard, not only reinforcing the ‘crisp’ description of the leaves but also adding the sound the leaves make and the fashion in which the lizard moves.
It is also illustrated well in description of the bunk house. The shelves are described as ‘loaded’. Even though a verb like ‘filled’ would physically describe them in the same way, ‘loaded’ gives the contents a personality, portraying them as objects that are not only secret but dangerous. This contrasts to the positive verbs of Section One. This negative theme is continued when the cards on the table are described as ‘littered’, implying they are thrown there with no respect or care for the environment. However, when the sun rises over the bunk house, it ‘throws’ a ‘dust-laden bar’ of light through the windows. This verb would usually imply carelessness, but in this case it is almost a deed of sympathy for the bunk house, perhaps implying that the sun brings a better mood.

Dear Candy's dog and duncan both like cats,
I agree with your point about the fact that Steinbeck uses smooth language but manages to get to the point.

Steinbecks writing is at its most beautiful when the subjects are most grim. This is best shown in section 5. Curley's wife is seen most beautiful when she is dead. “The meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face” This means that she is much more relaxed when she is dead, almost like she has been set free.

It can be argued that sounds and silences help to shape how the reader responds to the writing. Stienbeck creates contrast between the world that lennie percieves and the outside world with his decription of noise. This is particularly present in section 5, where the inside of the barn where lennie is is juxtaposed to the other men playing outside. Stienbeck uses opposing triplets, using "playing", "encouraching" and "jeering" to describe the outside world, whearas lexicle choices such as "quiet", "humming" and "lazy" for the inside of the barn where lennie is. This direct opposition of ideas makes the reader more aware of the ideas contained within lennie's world.

Steinbeck uses long sentences to help slow down descriptions and it gives a sense of time passing...really...slowly."As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for more than a moment". This is an example of steinbeck using long sentences in section five. He does this to present different styles.It makes us feel that time is actually passing really slowly after Lenny had killed Curley's wife.

It could be aurgued that steinbecks writing is most beautifulwhen the subjects are most grim.
This is best illustrated in section five, the scene of curly`s wifes death.Steinbeck describes her in death as 'She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young.' This scene shows curly`s wife without her personality which craves attention.She is shown naturally. I think this is one of steinbecks most beautiful scenes and yet the subject (death) is grim.

Stienbeck uses stillness in nature to highlight tension in the book. My first example of this is the stillness in the barn when Lennie has killed Curly's wife, the only sound that can be heard is the men playing horseshoes outside and there is no movement, it makes you feel claustrophobic. My second example is the crane waiting for the water snake in the scene where George is looking for Lennie, this also adds to the feeling of restlessness and calm before the storm. Nature is very important in Stienbeck's writing.

It could be argued that Steinbeck’s verbs are more important than his adjectives in creative imagery.
This is best illustrated in section 4 when Crook’s bunkhouse is described. ‘Crook’s bunk was a long box filled with straw, on which his blankets were flung.’ The use of the main verb ‘flung’ illustrates a lack of care for the appearance of the bunk and plays the role of an adjective, even though it is a verb. This technique can also be seen in section 5 when it says, ‘from outside came the clang of horseshoes on the playing peg and the shouts of men playing, encouraging, jeering.’ In this sentence verbs are used, in succession, in the place of adjectives. Despite the strange visual appearance of this sentence, the chosen words are compelling and are really fit for the purpose of taking the place of adjectives.

It could be argued that there is often an underlying sense of danger/threat in the settings. This is best illustrated by Section Six. In this section, Steinbeck uses nature's stillness as the 'calm before the storm'. It is eerie how the deep green pool is 'still' in this scene, contrasting with our earlier view of the same place, in which the river is 'warm' and 'twinkling'. In Section One, Steinbeck portrays nature with lush optimism. However, the story develops and becomes more and more tragic, and by Section Six the sun has left the clearing and the setting is described much more starkly. It is like hope has stopped like the pool or disappeared like the sun. The tension builds as a watersnake breaks the still water. Its head is compared to a 'periscope', which gives connotations of spies. It is like even Nature is looking for Lennie. The use of silence is this section is very effective, especially when the heron eats the snake. The image of the heron's beak 'lancing' down to pluck out the snake is terrifying. Here Steinbeck is trying to show us the cruel reality of nature. This is really what the entire book is about.

It could be argued that Steinbeck uses different settings to reflect different characters. This is best illustrated by the way Steinbeck shows chararcters in certain places, for example Candy is always seen in the bunk room which is described simply, from this you could Candy is not a complicated person. Also Crooks is said to be "more permanent" than others, Steinbeck conveys this through the way he describes Crooks as having more personal possensions than other men on the ranch. When describing Crooks hut Steinbeck repeats the word broken ("broken hame", "broken harness") this draws attetion to his disability. John Steinbeck writes with minute details about the settings this means the characters personality are more defined in the readers mind.

old suzy's best customer - nice name ;) x

It could be argued that Steinbeck uses different setting to reflect different characters. This is best illustrated in section 4, here Steinbeck represents Crook (The Negro stable buck) through his possessions in his room. Everything in Crook’s room is broken, portraying him as a cripple, even the room in which he lives is described as “A little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn”. This theme continues as Steinbeck depicts the rest of his room. “Broken Harnesses” are hung on his wall, “a split collar, with horse hair stuffing sticking out” is also hanging off a peg. However, his room portrays Crook as being an ordered, “proud, aloof man”, this is shown in the way Steinbeck illustrates Crook’s room. For example; the minuet details in which Steinbeck goes into shows that he is very precise. Steinbeck’s writing is also written in a list-like fashion, which demonstrates Crook’s ordered way in which he places everything.

It could be argued that Steinbeck idealises the natural world and describes the man-made world as being horrible.

In section 1 he describes the landscape using beautiful images and language. The pictures we build up are soft and gentle aswell as peaceful and natural. He uses words like "fresh and green", "Sandy bank", "Sycamore.....recumbent limbs." There are rabbits and lizards and the "valley" is "lined with trees". In section 6 section 6 we again return to this landscape with Lennie escaping after killing curley's wife. The landscape is described as "still", "rosy", "mottled",even the shade is "pleasant". Creatures are described majestically "the snake glided smoothly", "silent head and beak". This provides contrast to what Lennie has done. The beautiful natural world also contrasts with Steinbeck's description of the man-made world. The buildings at the farm are described with hard, angular words such as "square", "solid", "nailed", "cast iron" and "plank". the man's personal possessions seem hard too, like razors. The men's magazines and the flies in the room create a dirty image, very different from the natural, clean outside environment.

Steinbeck uses different settings to describe different characters on the ranch. This is best illustrated by the way he describes the environments in which each character is often found. The barn where Lennie spends most of his time playing with the pup is a vast empty space, much like Lennie's mind, the only thing in which Lennie is interested is symbolised by the moving objects in the barn; Slim's bitch and her pups. Also when the narrator brings us to Crooks' shack, the man is described as a "proud aloof man" despite his disability, this is all Steinbeck tells us about the man himself however the amount of description given to the shed is more than enough to give us a fully rounded picture of the man, with his small collection of books we see that crooks is interested in educating himself, he owns a "tattered copy of a dictionary" and is concerned about his right "a mauled copy of the california code 1905." Finally, everything in crook's home is broken and in need o repair, much like the man himself who remains proud in a state when most others would fall into a deep rancorous depression.

Dear Curly's Glove I strongly agree with your statment however i find that the world of men is also beutiful in the fact that all the men at the ranch care for each other

Steinbeck uses different settings to reflect different characters. This is best illustrated when Steinbeck desribes Crooks's room. It is broken and desolate, a metaphor for Crooks himself. The fact that his shack is adjacent to the barn, and that he keeps the horses' things with his, likens Crooks to a horse. His rooms is described in a very straightforward and simple manner, no strings attached. Yet we can still tell that it is complicated and messy and full of character. This could suggest that everybody on the ranch sees Crooks as incomplex but he really isn't, he has a personality, a character.

In Steinbeck's 'Of Mice And Men',there is often an underlying sense of threat in the setting. This is best illustrated in section 2, in the bunk house the setting is described as quite empty and simple, portraying a sense of coldness and the feeling of being unwelcome. This is shown in the lines "the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted". Although later in the description it describes the table as being 'littered with cards' and the shelves to be loaded, the language is simple and straight forward, making the setting feel cold and unloved. This reflects the nature of the characters when present in the bunk house, as they are awkward and quiet, giving a tense, threatening atmosphere in the scene and the setting.

I think Steinbecks writing is most beutiful when the subjects are most grim. This is best illustrated in section six just after lennie has killed curlys wife and lennies runs to were george told him to hide for example: "the deep green pool of the Salinas River was still in the late afternoon". I think this is good evidence for my point because it shows how scenary can still be beutiful even after a tragic event

Stienbeck's language he uses smooth language but manages to get to the point. 'golden foothill slopes curve up'. I think that this works well in this story and writing peices due to the fact this is a very run down and dusty area. And due to this landscape nothing seems to be sharp or detailed anymore but the peoples attitudes are straight talking; they don't wonder from their ideas and pounts. <3 Fletcher

John Steinbeck's use of long sentences in his descriptions serves to slow down the speed at which time passes. This is shown in sections 1 and 6 in which the sentences seem to flow into each other. In these sections the punctuation is far more complex than in those refering to the human world. This could represent the complexity of nature compare to the constrictive order of humanity. The simple punctuation in the other sectionsmakes the sentences seem fractured as if the have been broken apart from the free-flowingwhole of nature by mans presence.
I could say more...

In Section One the setting is described to be calm and peaceful. The context in which the line “The leaves lie deep and so crisp that the lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them,” seems the silence is a good thing rather than a negative thing.
Within section four, the paragraph depicting Crook’s room interestingly only has one reference to sound – a drippy can of tar – a while the whole room is filled with dangerous objects, nothing is happening and there is silence throughout the room. The drippy can of tar suggests time ticking away.

John Steinbeck uses antithesis to show a contrast between sound and silence. This is best seen in Section 5 as Steinbeck contrasts the noise outside the barn to the atmosphere inside. This is shown in the lines,’ From outside came the clang of horseshoes on the playing pegs and the shouts of men playing, encouraging, jeering.’ The enjoyment and pleasurable atmosphere outside helps the reader respond to the setting as pleasant place to be and a place where George and Lennie are able to settle down. In contrast the line,’ But in the barn it was quiet and humming and lazy and warm’ stimulates a different response from the audience. Steinbeck presents the silence of the setting as tense and to build up the suspense to the main event. Therefore the sound and silence does help the reader respond to Steinbeck’s writing.

John Steinbeck uses movement and the lack of movement to set a scene in ‘Of Mice and Men’. This is shown best in section 5 where he is setting the scene of the barn before Lennie kills Curleys wife. He describes the outside with the sound of men playing but in the barn it is quiet, humming, lazy and warm as though outside it is a happy atmosphere where everything is normal but in the barn tension is building. He creates two different atmospheres which seem worlds apart. In section 1 Steinbeck uses very little movement which makes nature seem calm and peaceful. Although the sections use very different amounts of movement it is central to the way they are presented.

In my opinion John Steinbebeck uses human movement in Of mice and men to personifie the nature in a way which gives you a more detailed description of the surroundings in of mice and men, and a better sense of wilderness. for example words such as "runs" and "skittering". wehereas when john steinbeck describes human objects such as the barn. he uses static descriptions such as "solid" and "small".

It could be argued that Steinbeck is obsessed with juxtapositions, contrasts, antithesis and opposites.
These contrasts are nearly all sensory ones: light and dark, noise and silence etc. The contrast of light and darkness is especially frequent. Often Steinbeck describes sunlight lancing through gaps between the slats or windows.It is often described as bright and also as 'slicing' through the slats. Inside, things are often dusty when he describes this and flies are often mentioned also. This suggests that inside is confined and musty, whilst the sunlight penetrates it. This claustrophobic atmosphere is amplified by his use of long lists of simple adjectives (no commas, only 'ands').
Par exemple: 'But in the barn it was quiet and huming and lazy and warm.'
Despite its simplicity this is a very effective and immersive description.
Unfortunately, I'm not feeling intelligent enough this morning to make any amazing points of this, so draw from it what you will.

Steinbeck’s writing is at its most beautiful when subjects are most grim.
In section 1 the scenario is described as subtly grim in comparison to section six; for example in section 1, there are streaks of grim characteristics.

“On the sandy bank under the trees the leaves lie deep and so crisp that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs along them.”
We think that this description connotes beauty but in actual fact it is actually grim as the use of words under, which could imply a hint sign for them to run away in similarity to the lizard. We also think that due to the malevolent undertones this section reflects Curley’s wife’s personality and has been carefully constructed to portray her individuality.
Section 5 is one of the most porcelain written paragraphs as Steinbeck manages to convince that the idea of death is calm and blissful.
“And the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ach e for attention were all gone from her face. She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young. Now her rouge cheeks and her reddened lip made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly.”

This particular section describes Curley’s wife as glorious she has ever been and is one of the most ironic and stunning pieces of writing in the novel. Even though the situation is grim, it shows the beauty of death and how her scheming mask has been removed which reveals her inner beauty.

Due to the evidence we have found, we believe that Steinbeck writing is the most beautiful when subjects are most grim.

lennie is lovely

It could be argued that the setting is obviously important to Steinbeck as he uses lots of minute details. This is best illustrated by the scenes where Lennie and George are by the Salinas River. Steinbeck gives lots of minute details that give a sense of reality, like “the Salinas River drops close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too” this whole page is description. He also describes the fusing of two different details, for example “a far rush of wind sounded... and row upon row of tiny wind waves flowed on the pools green surface. Steinbeck uses description as a way of showing this place near the river as calm, even though it is unordered. But in the bunkhouse, he uses his description to build up tension, and a sense something’s going to happen, even though it is a very ordered, constrained place. He describes the natural world as a bucolic idyll, much like many religions see nature as heaven.

sorry this paragraphs ridiculously short

The animals in th story reflect the characters in the book. For example candy's do is killed because he isnt much use as he is a nuisance because other people have to look after him similar to lenny. When the dog gets shot he is confused and doesnt know what is going on, alslo this is similar to lenny beacuse he has no idea that he is getting shot. They both means well, however they are past their use because

It could be argued that the natural world is idealised, the world of man is made to be horrible. This is best illustrated by the language used to describe both the beauty of nature and the rough social affairs of man and the troubles that it brings. Nature is almost like the Garden of Eden, a perfect land in which there is no pain and no suffering, where recourses are abundant and material goods are free. Words such as “deep”, “warm” and “golden” suggest that the natural world is largely idealised. In contrast, words such as “secretly”, “shade” and “intensity” illustrate the brutality of man and how status is everything in these parts.

It could be argued that movement (and lack of movement) is central to the way he tells the story. This is best illustrated by the contrast between inside and out. When John Steinbeckj describes the outside, for example, the salinas river in the line "The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool", he portrays the constant movement of the place in juxtaposition with the bunkhouse which is repetative and stagnant. At the end of the book, the local areas do stop moving, the bunkhouse and the barn, but when Lennie dies outside, you notice that nasture just keeps moving and growing, unaware and uninterseted. John Steinbecks purpose in doing this is to put the event in context with nature. Although we are very emotionally involved, he may want us to se it as more of a random event.

Steinback uses different settings to reflect different characters. An example of him doing this is when Crook, Lennie, Curleys wife and Candy gather in Crooks shack, all of these characters are dispossessed and i think, the most lonely on the ranch.The location reflects aspects of the charecters by its placement on the ranch. crooks shack is next to the stables, an animals home, maybe crooks home is almost seen as a place for animals, as crook and the people who often visit could be seen as animals, people who are discrimanited from society because of race, sex, age and disability.

furhtermore, gggug they don't eat alot in that book, do they? they eat like once and it lasts them the whole year!

Our theme is: 'nature represents hidden themes and emotions.' This is shown a number of times throughout the sections. Predominantely in section 1, where we noted an interesting point about the salinas river. "The Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep." We feel that, describing the river as deep, this is indicating that there is more to it than people think, and that there is significance to this river. Our suspiscion was confirmede when we realised that the story starts and ends at the banks of the Salinas River.

Sienbeck uses vidid language to describe nature but dull, plain language for buildings

In Section 1, he uses vudud lanuage when descrbing the ladscape, such as "twinkling",but in section 2, he talks about the room in a list-like way. There is a recurring theme iof light which is at juxtaposition with the darkness of the barn buildings, and of the characters lives. Fore example when the subjects are most grim (dead wife, inside the shack, the sad state of the guy who everyone is racist too) he uses the best language to make nature feel in sync with human lives so there is often dead and dying nature when a sad thing happens. E.g. the dead mouse, the dead puppy, the sacred puppy, the dead snake, the flies and the dog that gets shot.

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