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Of Mice and Men: Overview The best laid plans of mice and men, Go often askew. And leave us nought but grief and pain, For promised joy. Robert Burns,

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Presentation on theme: "Of Mice and Men: Overview The best laid plans of mice and men, Go often askew. And leave us nought but grief and pain, For promised joy. Robert Burns,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Of Mice and Men: Overview The best laid plans of mice and men, Go often askew. And leave us nought but grief and pain, For promised joy. Robert Burns, 1785

2 OMAM: Major Themes  Nature of Dreams: Are they impossible? Does this relate to the American Dream?  Predatory Nature of Mankind: good or evil?  Nature: mutual impact  Arthurian Legends:  Loyalty  Chivalry  Loss of Paradise: Adam and Eve: Genesis  Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Cain and Abel  Moral Corruption: Temptation  Fate v. Free Will

3 Characters as Archetypes An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype: "'Frankenstein'... 'Dracula'... 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'... the archetypes that have influenced all subsequent horror stories" (New York Times). Classic Archetypes:Identify for: The Hero George The Villain Lennie The Wise Old Man Curley The Temptress Curley’s Wife The Child The Trickster

4 The Genesis Connection… Genesis 3 1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

5 Genesis 4 1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD… 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

6 Journal Entry #1 Are we our Brother’s Keeper? –What level of responsibility do we have? Do we have a responsibility? –Where does this responsibility start? End? –Consider this on a personal level, then consider it on a larger level: government, humanitarian…

7 Primary Symbols Other than the obvious archetypes:  The Farm: Representative of the American Dream…  Lennie’s Puppy: Strength overcomes weakness…even if unintended.

8 Everyman! An ordinary individual with whom the reader/audience is able to easily identify. Often placed in unusual circumstances, the everyman represents our human strengths and weaknesses, our struggles and victories…and our moral dilemmas… Let’s Play “Find the Everyman…”

9 Steinbeck’s Descriptive Power A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands before reaching the narrow pool… (p.1)

10 The Brothers… “In a moment, Lennie came crashing back through the brush. He carried one small willow stick in his hand. George sat up. “Awright,” he said brusquely, “Gi’me that mouse.” (p.9)

11 Key Quotations… “ Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place.... With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us…With us it ain’t like that. We got a future…But not us! An’ why, Because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you…” (pp )

12 The Dream “An’ live off the fatta the lan’,” Lennie shouted. “An’ have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk, like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that, George.” (p.14)

13 Cain…Abel…Temptation “Well, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy. I just like to know what your interest is.” (p.22) “ A girl was standing there looking in. She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red…She wore a cotton dress and red mules, on the insteps were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers.” (p 31)

14 Additional Symbols & Themes… The Puppy Candy’s Dog Curley’s Wife Candy’s Dream

15 Cain and Abel, redux “He won’t do it,” Lenny cried. “George wouldn’t do nothing like that. I been with George a long time. He’ll come back tonight—” But the doubt was too much for him. “Don’t you think he will?” (p71)

16 Fated To Wander… “I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads... every damn one of ’em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.” (p. 74) Candy cried, “Sure they all want it. Everybody wants a little bit of land, not much. Jus’ som’thin’ that was just his. Somethin’ he could live on, and there couldn’t nobody throw him off of it. I never had none…” (p. 76)

17 The Fall… Lennie’s “fall”: p. 84, 90 George’s “fall”: p. 104 “A water snake glided smoothly up the pool, twisting its periscope head from side to side; and it swam the length of the pool and came to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shallows. A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head, and the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved frantically.” (p. 99) “Look acrost the river, Lennie an’ I’ll tell you so you can almost see it. Lennie turned his head and looked off across the pool and us the darkening slopes of the Gabilans. ‘We gonna get a little place…’” (p. 105)

18 OMAM…Allegory? Allegory : a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms How can OMAM work as an Allegory? or What allegorical symbolism can be extracted from OMAM?

19 Must we lose our Inner Child In order to achieve The American Dream?


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