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Powerpoint presentation Marianne stensen Pedagogisk senter/Kristiansand kommune John Steinbeck Was born on February 27th 1902 in Salinas Valley in the state of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: PowerPoint-presentasjon

Powerpoint presentation Marianne
Østensen Pedagogisk senter/Kristiansand kommune
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John Steinbeck
  • Was born on February 27th 1902 in Salinas Valley
    in the state of California in the USA
  • Died on December 20th 1968 in New York
  • Was a famous writer

U.S. Postage stamp
The Nobel Prize for Literature
  • In 1962 the Swedish Academy awarded John
    Steinbeck the Nobel Prize for Literature, the
    highest honour a writer can receive
  • The prize was presented for the body of his work
  • The prize was met with outcries from critics who
    felt that Steinbeck had limited talent and was a
    writer of propaganda
  • Privately, he felt he did not deserve the honour
  • Although the prize gave Steinbeck a place of
    great honour in the literary world, it also put
    terrible pressure on his future writing

The United States Medal of Freedom
  • The medal is the highest civilian award for
    distinguished Americans
  • In September of 1964, John Steinbeck was awarded
    the United States Medal of Freedom by President
    Lyndon B. Johnson

Steinbeck with his son, visits President Lyndon
B. Johnson in the Oval Office of the White House
The California Novels
  • The Pastures of Heaven
  • The Red Pony
  • To A God Unknown
  • Tortilla Flat
  • In Dubious Battle
  • Of Mice And Men (1937)
  • The Long Valley
  • The Grapes Of Wrath
  • Cannery Row
  • East Of Eden
  • Sweet Thursday

Stage Play
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Of Mice and Men
  • was published in 1937
  • was a popular and critical success
  • was selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club
  • Steinbeck produced a play version of the book
    with famous playwright George Kaufman
  • The play won the New York Drama Critic Circles
    Award and also became a popular film

Place of Action
  • Place of action is in the state of California
  • We remember that Steinbeck himself was born in
  • Soledad is a coastal California city about 130
    miles south of San Francisco

Place of action
The American Dream The Great Depression
  • From the 17th Century, when the first settlers
    arrived, immigrants dreamed of a better life in
  • People went there to escape from persecution or
    poverty, and to make a new life for themselves or
    their families.
  • They dreamed of making their fortunes in the
  • For many the dream became a nightmare.
  • The horrors of slavery, of the American Civil
    War, the growth of towns with slums as bad as
    those in Europe, and the corruption of the
    American political system led to many shattered
  • For the American society as a whole the dream
    ended with the Wall Street crash of 1929.
  • This was the start of the Great Depression that
    would affect the whole world during the 1930s.
  • However the dream survived for individuals.
    Thousands made their way west to California to
    escape from their farmlands in the mid-West.
  • George and Lennie dreamt of their 'little house
    and a couple of acres'.
  • The growing popularity of cinema was the last
    American Dream for many, Curley's wife was one
    'Coulda been in the movies, an' had nice clothes.'

Migrant Farm Workers
  • During the 1930s, when there was very bad
    unemployment in the United States, agencies were
    set up under the New Deal to send farm-workers to
    where they were needed. George and Lennie got
    their work cards from Murray and Ready's, one of
    these agencies.

Farm workers getting work cards under a
Government Scheme
Why Of Mice and Men?
  • The title of the novel comes from a poem by the
    Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759 - 96)
  • The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft
    agley often go wrong And leave us nought but
    grief and pain For promised joy!

Director and Actor
  • Gary Sinise plays George, and also directed the
  • "I walked in this kid with open eyes, and walked
    out with very wet eyes..." Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise
Synopsis (sammendrag)
  • John Steinbeck's classic story of loyalty and
    friendship focuses on two travelling farm
    workers, George and Lennie. George has taken on
    responsibility for the mildly retarded Lennie,
    who constantly seems to fall into trouble of one
    sort or another. 
  • George and Lennie don't plan to travel forever -
    someday, they will have a little place of their

John Malkovich as the mildly mentally retarded
  • Lennie loves to touch soft things.

Lennie and Curleys wife
Sherilyn Fenn
John Malkowich
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George Milton
  • He is a small man, but has brains and a quick
  • He has been a good friend to Lennie, ever since
    he promised Lennie's Aunt Clara that he would
    care for him. He looks after all Lennie's
    affairs, such as carrying his work card, and
    tries to steer him out of potential trouble.
  • He needs Lennie as a friend, not only because
    Lennie's strength helps to get them both jobs,
    but so as not to be lonely. His threats to leave
    Lennie are not really serious. He is genuinely
    proud of Lennie.
  • He shares a dream with Lennie to own a piece of
    land and is prepared to work hard to build up the
    money needed to buy it.
  • "...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
  • He is honest with people he trusts. For example,
    he tells Slim that he used to play tricks on
    Lennie when they were young, but now feels guilty
    about it as Lennie nearly drowned.

  • He is a big man, in contrast to his name.
  • He has limited intelligence, so he relies on
    George to look after him.
  • "Behind him(George)walked his opposite, a huge
    man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes,
    with wide, sloping shoulders and he walked
    heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a
    bear drags his paws. His arms did not swing at
    his sides, but hung loosely."
  • He shares a dream with George to own a piece of
    land. Lennie's special job would be to tend the
  • He likes to pet soft things, like puppies and
    dead mice. We know this got him into trouble in
    Weed when he tried to feel a girl's soft red
    dress she thought he was going to attack her.
  • He can be forgetful - George continually has to
    remind him about important things.
  • He is very gentle and kind, and would never harm
    anyone or anything deliberately.
  • He is extremely strong he can work as well as
    two men at bucking barley.
  • He is often described as a child or an animal -
    he drinks from the pool like a horse and his huge
    hands are described as paws.

Lennie Small
  • Slim is the jerkline skinner (lead mule-team
    driver) at the ranch. He is excellent at his job.
  • He is the natural leader at the ranch. Everyone
    respects his views and looks up to him.
  • He has a quiet dignity he doesn't need to assert
    himself to have authority.
  • "there was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so
    profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. His
    authority was so great that his word was taken on
    any subject, be it politics or love."
  • He understands the relationship between George
    and Lennie. He helps George at the end and
    reassures George that he did the right thing.
  • We know little else about him, which gives him a
    slightly mysterious quality. Do you think he is
    too good to be true?

  • Curley is the boss's son, so he doesn't need to
    work like the ordinary ranch hands, and he has
    time to kill.
  • He's little - so he hates big guys.
  • He is a prize-fighter and looks for opportunities
    for a fight.
  • He is newly- married and is very possessive of
    his wife - but he still visits brothels.
  • There is a rumour that he wears a glove filled
    with Vaseline to keep his hand soft for his wife.

  • She is newly married to Curley.
  • We never know her name - she is merely Curley's
    'property' with no individual identity.
  • She is young, pretty, wears attractive clothes
    and curls her hair.
  • She seems flirtatious and is always hanging
    around the bunk-house.
  • She is lonely - there are no other women to talk
    to. Curley is not really interested in her.
  • She doesn't like Curley - she tells Lennie that
    she only married him when she didn't receive a
    letter she'd been promised to get into Hollywood.
  • She is naive.

Curleys wife
  • Crooks is the black stable hand or buck.
  • He is the only permanent employee at the ranch,
    since he injured his back in an accident.
  • He is the only black man around and is isolated
    by his colour.
  • He is always called the 'nigger' by the men,
    which shows how racism is taken for granted. The
    men don't mean to insult Crooks every time they
    call him this, but they never think to use his
  • He is lonely.
  • "S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you
    couldn't go into the bunk house and play rummy
    'cause you were black...A guy needs somebody-to
    be near him....I tell ya a guy gets too lonely
    an' he gets sick."
  • The only time he mixes with the ranch hands
    socially is when they pitch horseshoes - and then
    he beats everyone!
  • He has his own room near the stables. He has
    books, which show he is intelligent and an old
    copy of the California Civil Code, which suggests
    he is concerned about his rights.
  • He has seen many men come and go, all dreaming of
    buying a piece of land.

  • Candy is the oldest ranch hand. He lost his right
    hand in an accident at work.
  • He is the 'swamper' - the man who cleans the
    bunkhouse. He knows he will be thrown out and put
    'on the county' when he is too old to work.
  • Because of this, he accepts what goes on and
    doesn't challenge anything he can't afford to
    lose his job.
  • He has a very old dog, which he has had from a
    pup. It is his only friend and companion.
  • Carlson insists on shooting the dog because he
    claims it is too old and ill to be of any use.
    Candy is devastated.
  • He is lonely and isolated, but makes friends with
    George and Lennie and offers his compensation
    money to help them all to buy a ranch together
    and achieve their dream.
  • When he finds Curley's wife dead, he is furious,
    as he knows instantly that Lennie was involved
    and that they have lost their chance of achieving
    their dream.

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The Themes of the Novel
  • The novel is a parable (lignelse) that tries to
    explain what it means to be human
  • Essentially, man is a very small part of a very
    large universe
  • In the greater scheme of things, individuals come
    and go and leave very little, lasting mark
  • Yet deep inside all people are longing for a
    place in nature the desire for the land, roots,
    and a place to call home
  • The struggle for such a place is universal, and
    its success is uncertain

Steinbecks vision of what it means to be human,
touches on several themes
  1. The nature of dreams
  2. The nature of loneliness
  3. Mans propensity (hang, tilbøyelighet) for
  4. Powerlessness and economic injustices
  5. The uncertainty of the future

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The Nature of Dreams
  • Of Mice and Men is as much a story about the
    nature of human dreams and aspirations as it is
    the story of two men
  • Humans give meaning to their lives and to their
    futures by creating dreams
  • Without dreams and goals, life is an endless
    stream of days that have little connection or
  • George and Lennies dream is to own a little farm
    of their own
  • The telling of the story (dream) becomes a ritual
    between the two men

The Last Telling of the Story...
  • ...We gonna get a little place, George began.
    He reached in his side pocket and brought out
    Carlsons Luger. He snapped off the the safety,
    and the hand and gun lay on the ground behind
    Lennies back. He looked at the back of Lennies
    head, at the place where the spine and the skull
    were joined.
  • A mans voice called from up the river, and
    another man answered.
  • Go on, said Lennie.
  • George raised his gun and his hand shook, and
    he dropped his hand to the ground again.
  • Go on, said Lennie. Hows it gonna be. We
    gonna get a little place.
  • Well have a cow, said George. And well
    have maybe a pig and chickens...and down the flat
    well have a...little piece of alfalfa...
  • For the rabbits, Lennie shouted.
  • For the rabbits, George repeated.
  • And I get to tend the rabbits.
  • And you get to tend the rabbits.
  • Lennie giggled with happiness. And live on the
    fat of the land.

The Nature of Dreams...
  • To George, his dream of having their own place
    means independence, security, being his own boss,
    and, most importantly, being somebody
  • To Lennie, the dream is like the soft animals he
    pets it means security, the responsibility of
    tending the rabbits, and a sanctuary
    (tilfluktssted) where he wont be afraid
  • To Candy, the dream of the farm offers security
    for old age and a home where he will fit in
  • For Crooks, the farm will be a place where he can
    have self-respect, acceptance, and security
  • For George, Lennie, Candy, and Crookshuman
    dignity is an integral (vesentlig) part of the

  • Humans crave contact with others to give life
  • Loneliness is present throughout the novel
  • - the ranch hands go into town to ease their
    loneliness with alcohol and women
  • - Lennie goes into Crookss room to find
    someone to talk to
  • - Curleys wife comes for the same reason
  • Crooks says A guy goes nuts if he aint got
    nobody. Dont make no difference who the guy is,
    longs hes with you.
  • Slim mentions I seen the guys that go around on
    the ranches alone. That aint no good. They dont
    have no fun. After a long time they get mean.

  • Georges taking care of Lennie and the dream of
    the farm are the attempts to break the pattern of
    loneliness that is part of the human condition
  • Similarily, Lennies desire to pet soft things
    comes from the need to feel safe and secure, to
    touch something that gives him that feeling of
    not being alone in the world. For Lennie, the
    dream of the farm parallels that security
  • The theme of loneliness is also notably present
    in the characters of Candy, Crooks, and Curleys
    wife. How?

  • Candy Candys dog stopped Candy from being
  • Curleys wife Her husband has forbidden anyone
    to talk to her. She combats her loneliness by
    flirting with the ranch hands
  • Crooks Crooks is isolated because of his skin
    colour. As the only black man on the ranch, he is
    not allowed into the bunkhouse with the others.
    He combats (kjemper mot) his loneliness with
    books and his work.

  • Solidade The name of the town means solitude
    or alone

  • Despite the need for companionship, people set up
    barriers that maintain loneliness
  • People sustain (opprettholder) those barriers by
    being inhumane to each other

  • A barrier based on gender The real thing that
    isolates Curleys wife is that she is a female in
    an all-male world
  • A barrier based on race Crooks being an
    Afro-American must occupy a room in the stable
    alone. He is not welcome in the bunkhouse
  • A barrier based on age and handicap Candy is
    afraid of being thrown out because of his age and
    handicap. He is a victim of a society that does
    not value age and discriminates against

  • Steinbecks characters are often underdogs
  • He shows compassion (medfølelse) toward them
    throughout his body of writings

A pile of mice and men
  • Powerlessness takes many forms
  • - intellectual
  • - financial
  • - societal
  • Steinbeck touches them all
  • Which characters represent the different forms of

Literary Device Animal Imagery
  • Lennie
  • is often compared to a bear with his huge size
    and strength
  • s hands are described as paws
  • is always associated with rabbits and mice
  • snorts like a horse at the stream
  • Circles like a terrier when he does not want to
    bring the dead mouse to George
  • These animal images lead careful readers to
    question Lennies future. With his enormous
    strength and his lack of intelligence, common
    sense, and responsibility, Lennie causes the
    reader to wonder how well he fits into human
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