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Book Review of Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men
Author: John Steinbeck
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
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Helpful Score: 2

The American Library Association has consistently had to deal with the fact that this classic novel continues to rank among the top ten most frequently challenged books. The title, taken from Robert Burns famous line the best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley foreshadows the story of George and Lennie, two migrant workers who dream of someday owning their own little farm where they can settle down to live off the fatta the lan. Like all classic pieces of literature Of Mice and Men, which is set during the depression and deals with universal themes like friendship, isolation, cruelty, innocence, compassion, cowardliness, courage, and love reveals aspects of the human condition that are timeless. Another reason this book is a classic is that instead of simply telling a sad story about a child-like, developmentally disabled man and his friend who has taken on the responsibility of looking out for him, Steinbeck gives us a chance to get to know them. By the end of the book its hard not to feel moved and touched by what happens to characters we have come to understand and care about. On the other hand not everyone who reads the book ends up feeling that way. Apparently theres plenty there to offend all kinds of people -- animal rights people are upset because of what happens to Candys dog and Lennies puppy. Civil rights activists protest the character and treatment of Crooks, the black hired hand who sleeps in a separate bunk house from the other ranch workers. Feminists complain about the stereotypical treatment of Curlys wife and the notable absence of any strong female characters. Some people feel the portrayal of Lennie is demeaning to persons with disabilities. And of course, staunchly religious folks are outraged at the suggestion that mercy killing can be the form that love takes. Nevertheless this book remains a classic piece of American literature and having read it I have a pretty good reason why.

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