Date written: 1937
Date novel was set in: 1930's
Events in 1930's:
- The Great Depression (Poverty and Starvation
- Itinerant workers
- American Dream
- Rise in fascism in Germany
- Segregation in America (racism)
Due to the content of the novel and the current political, economic and social situations internationally and in America readers were able to identify with the novel, which granted it success.
- sensitive to loneliness (theme)
- Due to working on ranches he knew the importance of love and companionship (theme)
- His dream (theme) was to write
- He loved animals - nature (theme)
Did Steinbeck write the novel to gain a better understanding of his own life, as there is a parallel link to the main themes in the novel and his own life?
Who?...George & Lennie
Crooks - (black stable buck) & Candy (owns dog/ swamper)
Curley's wife & Curley (bosses son)
Slim (jerkline skinner) & Carlson (shoots dog)
Name Relevance...Crooks (crooked back), Candy (ironic - life is far from sweet) Curley's wife - (unnamed,lacks identity.. emphasises craving for recognition and attention) Slim- (thin, elegant figure), Carlson - (means "Man of Common People" in the American dictionary)
What is the novel written like: a play
- visual and dramatic
- each chapter has one location (easy to stage)
- entrances and exits = key moments
- location descriptions at beginning of each chapter, gives read visual image, which are like stage design instructions
What starts and ends the novel?: nature
- makes the novel balanced
- starts and ends at the pool
- starts with life and dreams, ends in death
The text is realistic - racist comments and collequial references
Lennie is often compared and described as an animal.
Title of the book is from a Robert Burns poem. Tells us failure is inevitable.
Place names are real.
Weed - Where George and Lennie came from: Lennie commited a bad act. Like a weed the memory of it spoils their new life on the ranch. They had to leave weed, like them a weed is unwanted.
Soledad - means loneliness (theme)
Candy's dog is metaphoric to old age, when the dog get shot, Steinbeck is saying the old and weak get put down by society (metaphorically shot in the head).
Language Part 2
Red = symbolic (Curley's wife wears red & girls dress in weed that Lennie clung to was red) Red is a colour of danger, warning. Tells us Curley's wife could be an item in a dangerious situation, which she is.