Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a captivating story set in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The book follows two main characters, George and Lenny, on their journey as drifting farmhands voyaging through California in search of work. Prone to misfortune, life is anything but easy for the poor protagonists. As they both tirelessly strive to achieve the American dream, it quickly becomes apparent that their goal is far out of reach.
George and Lenny are both drifters. This lifestyle was not all too uncommon during the Great Depression, largely due to the economic recession and scarcity of available jobs. Forced out of their previous positions as farmhands, they both end up travelling across the country living hand-to-mouth in search for new work and a bit of food.
The book perfectly captures the essence of what it meant to live as drifters during the Great Depression through its many realistic descriptions. The book also offers a fair amount of dialouge which often further emphasises the not-so-fortunate situations that the books characters find themselves in. It achieves this through the use of various litterary devices, such as the frequent use of slang and negatively loaded words. This creates an almost constant looming atmosphere present throughout the story.
In terms of character development I would say that Lenny might have lost some of his childish naivety in exchange for a wearier and more anxious interior. George’s character changed as well, in the beginning he was portrayed as reliable and sturdy, almost as a mentor to Lenny, but even George grew to become more vulnerable and uncertain throughout the span of the story. I suspect that their new and somewhat threatening surroundings might have been the main cause of this subtle change in character.
Personally I’m quite fond of author John Steinbeck’s minimalist writing style. He perfectly managed to write a descriptive story, although it felt like he wasn’t really describing anything at all. By that I mean that his overall style of writing makes the story seem quite simple on a surface level. This is accomplished mainly through the use of simple language and language structure which provides the reader with a fluid reading experience. All without the need for breaks to ponder complex metaphors and the like. In conjunction with the easy-to-follow plot this allows for a coherent and immersive story.
To sum it all up, I think that the story is an overall great read. Not only does it capture a lot of the finer and historically accurate details and descriptions of life during The Great Depression, but it also encompasses a touching story about hope, love, and loss which author John Steinbeck concisely, yet beautifully explores throughout the book.