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The specificity of the story's genre is that the author needs to put a weighty idea in a simplified plot. And it turns out this is not for everyone. But the main problem is that most often you can understand the story only by immersing yourself in the realities of those days to which the work is dedicated, and in the realities of those days when it was written. John Steinbeck's novel “On Mice and People”, in addition to this, requires one more important detail - the study of the personality of the author himself.


John Steinbeck

Despite the fact that John Steinbeck was born in the family of an official of the Salinas County Administration (California), he learned the “delights” of rural life throughout his childhood. In his youth, he also had to wander around the local ranches, doing hard work and getting to know the contingent of people who could barely make ends meet in difficult times even before the start of the great American depression.

Sympathy for ordinary people, an aversion to the capitalist system, hatred of oppression and inequality predetermined Steinbeck's political views, leaving an indelible imprint on the entire work of the writer. The League of American Writers (an organization with clearly pro-communist views), warm relations with trade union organizations, visits to the USSR and a dossier drawn up on it by the FBI, which totaled 71 pages, was the baggage that John carried with dignity, not paying attention to his severity. The writer had every right to write about the difficult life of ordinary people, about the great injustice, as he saw it with his own eyes, learned from the true stories of the poor. And the story “About Mice and People” is a vivid example of how well the author knew his characters, because he wrote their images from real people.

The Great Depression officially lasted 10 years, but the pre-depressive and post-depressive years were no less severe. Total unemployment and the economic crisis do not fit into the strict chronological framework, these are multifactorial processes, they do not appear and do not disappear overnight. But the main thing is that behind all the statistical numbers and currency symbol are the tragic fate of ordinary people.

These are exactly the kind of people we see in the story “About Mice and People”. They seek their refuge, meet the same poor fellow and colleagues in misfortune, and also continue to build ambitious plans. After all, they are not like everyone else, they will certainly succeed. With such a life credo, two friends Lenny and George trampled on the western coast of the USA. History is silent about how they became friends, Steinbeck only superficially plunges the reader into the past when George promises a familiar dying woman to look after her mentally retarded foster. And the promise made many years ago responded with a whole heap of problems for a young, smart and ambitious man who linked his fate with a stupid manger.

Lenny is generally the central figure of the whole story. The image of the good-natured slackness cuts into the reader’s mind so much that, having been studied not only by Steinbeck ordinary fans, but also by celebrities, he left memories of himself in other popular characters. The most memorable and characteristic example is John Coffey from Stephen King’s Green Mile. Giant sizes, children's consciousness, love for mice and even tragedy on a rural ranch. King, reflecting a series of similarities with Lenny from the story “About Mice and People,” does not copy the hero of his work, but pays tribute to the immortal work of John Steinbeck.

Story About mice and people

The ranch at which the heroes arrived gathered a whole crowd of people driven into the fields by suffocating unemployment. A pile of Americans of different varieties and status with the same diagnosis - a ruined fate. Someone is still dreaming, while someone is living out their days, some find amusement in constant fights, others are looking for communication with at least someone.

All the events taking place in the huts, barns and ranch fields seem sluggish, the narration is smooth and without any visible exacerbations to the very end. That is why the denouement becomes stunning and compelling to rewind the whole plot of the work in the head. After all, so many minor events before this take on a completely different color. And the most striking in the end and requiring comparison are two episodes: the reprisal of the old smelly dog ​​of old plume and the murder of Lenny. Plume couldn’t find the strength to save his beloved dog, which she couldn’t even eat herself anymore, had to shoot Carlson, after which the one-armed old man was immeasurably killed by his weakness and betrayal. But George had to find the strength to cock the trigger and discharge the revolver of the Luger system into the back of his head. Lenny would have been the closest person to George for a long time and at the same time brought him a lot of problems. But this did not stop them from staying together until the threat of lynching or spending the rest of their life in a madhouse hung over the holy fool.

The fates of the other characters are not distinguished by a safe shade. The only successful person is the ranch owner, who has the opportunity, thanks to cheap labor, to thoroughly develop his ranch. His son Kudryash is a hot-tempered littleling who has never been able to realize boxing talent and is now forced to vent anger on his own wife and the surrounding hired workers. Kudryash’s wife is a young girl who found herself isolated after marriage, she dreamed of becoming an actress, acting in Hollywood, and as a result spends her days surrounded by dirty sweaty bumpkins, whom her husband suspects her of treason. Slim is perhaps the only one who causes unquestionable respect, but the trouble with this stately and authoritative team leader is that he has to show his best qualities in a society of people not pleasant to him. The hunchback is a black rogue whose only interlocutors on the ranch are horses, whom he is set to watch.

“About Mice and Humans” - presented to the reader a picture of the most severe human deprivations and trials that befell millions of US citizens. And the tragic fate of Lenny and George is just an isolated story of hundreds, thousands and millions of the same dramas. This is a story about the loss of hope, the destruction of all plans, about hopelessness. But with all this, “On Mice and People” is a story about the preservation of humanity. Each of the poor fellows dreamed of getting out of a heap of problems, and someone probably did it in the end. But only a few can say that they remained by themselves, did not lose their faces and did not lose their moral character.

For those who prefer cinematic art, the film of the same name directed by Gary Siniz with John Malkovich as Lenny is a great choice.

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“About mice and humans”: “I can still tend the rabbits, George? I didn`t mean no harm, George. ”

In three and a half months, James Franco and Chris O'Dowd appeared on stage 118 times to play the roles of George Milton and Lenny Small in the best possible interpretation of John Steinbeck's famous story, in which people are tormented not only by poverty, but also by the lack of kindness and hopes that are much more difficult to get than a few cents and a roof over your head.

Having become one of the common places of popular culture, the work “On Mice and People”, however, is neither a primitive nor a populist novel. Success came to the work of John Steinbeck because of the raised problems of social inequality and the hopelessness of the situation of the lower classes, as well as the declaration that humanistic values ​​are often forgotten, replaced by the loneliness of the individual among the crowd. Being a gloomy drama in its form, “On Mice and People”, even if it does not affirm the inviolability of optimistic postulates, it appeals to the reader with a proposal to comprehend such aspects of one’s being as one’s attitude to one’s neighbor and the need for someone who, as a good-natured Lenny, is ready to give you "All his ketchup."

The book, which was read by such a famous contemporary spectator as Benjamin Linus, depicts all the wealth of the inhabitants of a California farm in the early 20th century, but one way or another, all the plot lines converge around two friends George and Lenny. The Broadway interpretation of Anna D. Shapiro does not depart one iota from the source material. Dwelling in detail on the description of the dreams of the main characters, George and Lenny repeat them again and again as spells. Only a ghostly hope allows them to survive in a situation where bread can be obtained only by hard day labor, wandering from farm to farm.

For John Steinbeck himself, the main concept of the novel is the understanding of man by man. The writer is absolutely convinced that it is necessary to hear and listen, and it is from this that the very true human attitude arises, characterized by kindness and empathy. George Milton may not be educated, but he is very smart in terms of practical utility and realization of his own capabilities, Milton needs to get rid of his legally incapable companion Lenny Small as soon as possible. But instead, Milton can take care of his friend as much as he can, even realizing that the dreams of a good life that Lenny inspired in order to brighten up his bleak existence will never come true.

Moreover, relations between George and Lenny are not idealized by Steinbeck at all, they are not a priori. To become such a wonderful person, George needed to go a difficult way from mocking Lenny, to the realization that being lazy and incompetent was the best person he could ever meet. It is this evolution that makes George Milton even higher above all others and at the same time determines the tragic outcome and the contrast between the oppressive poverty around and metaphysical wealth that cannot be measured.

The play is extremely elegantly concerned with such a complex issue as racism. The hidden disclosure of important topics, by interweaving them in the main narrative line, is the highest skill that most playwrights will never achieve. Steinbeck easily reveals the unsightly, inhumane side of society, which is called racial segregation. Decades after the publication of “On Mice and Men” were at the center of a series of scandals over the use of the word “n * gga”, which was censored in some new editions. Although from the point of view of the author's style, such a correction seems unacceptable, but from a sociocultural point of view, this is evidence that society since the time of this great writer has come a long way, marked by significant improvements in the field of equality and tolerance.

Having become the winner of the Tony Prize in 2008 as “Best Director” with the play “August” (then very sloppy transferred to Hollywood on the screen), Anna D. Shapiro did not receive nominations for the main theater award of the New World for “On Mice and People” . Shapiro’s interviews on Steinbeck’s play demonstrate that some of her interpretations of what is happening are not entirely correct and overly personal, but her production is completely devoid of the so-called original interpretation that some modern directors love so much, considering the perversion of the author’s words to be chic. Shapiro, with student diligence, analyzes and sets out the selected literary material, and given that the novel was adapted for the scene in 1937 by John Steinbeck himself, more is not required from the director.

The irresistible thirst for James Franco’s creativity finds its way from gay porn to audio books, and it is the theater stage that is the place where James’s desire to fully surrender to the public and show something axiologically significant can be actualized in the best way possible. His George is the embodiment of masculinity and wisdom, the derivative of which is kindness. He has no illusions about the world around him, full of cruelty and abomination, but in the gloomy darkness he finds his light, purpose and meaning, which is embodied in the naive Lenny. According to Franco for him, “About mice and people,” this is primarily a “special love story.” That is how he plays it; George Milton, if he is not in verbal contact with Lenny, is constantly focused on him. Of course, this love is not romantic, it is deeper and more. Chris O’Down, in turn, accepts this love, Lenny Small literally cannot imagine his existence without George, he is the center of his universe. The kind and seemingly incapable of independent actions Lenny literally becomes furious when one of the farm workers decides to pironyonit and "assume that George may not return" and Lenny will be left alone. Critics could not appreciate either Chris O’Daud, and he did not become a Tony laureate, remaining only a nominee. All those who took part in “On Mice and Men” undoubtedly made their names in the history of theatrical culture. Decades later, when the public finds new heroes of the day, fresh faces for glossy covers. Everyone will forget about the extravagant guy James Franco, who posted on the blog a photo of his intimacy with a friend named Seth and the modest Englishman Chris O'Dowd, who inimitably requested "turn it off and on again," but their George and Lenny will remain evidence of that a miracle happened on Broadway on April 16, 2014.

A tragedy of the scale of the unthinkable and impossible happened somewhere in the wilderness of California. John Steinbeck does not give the reader and viewer false hopes, from the very first scene the inevitability of the final drama is guessed in every dialogue of the characters. But, as Monsieur Gustav from the Grand Hotel Budapest said: "You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity." George and Lenny were still happy, albeit for a brief moment, but it would last forever.

Waiting for the New Year. 🐭

The mouse said to the mouse:
- How much I love books!
I can’t read them,
But I can eat them.
Samuel Marshak

Every year I grumble a little that horoscopeThis is not a Russian tradition. And yet every year I make a selection of materials about another animalwhere to go if your favorite readers require :))))

So today I will list the literary works whose heroes were roofs or capes rats or mice, I’ll tell you about some interesting collections on the net, list some funny facts about these animals, recommend the names of book exhibitions, and put together a lot of other useful stuff :).

So, the most famous literary rodents (Yes, you yourself know them better than me!):

  • The Mouse King (Hoffmann E.T.A. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King)
  • Rat Shushar (Tolstoy A. Pinocchio)
  • Chuchundra Musk Rat (Kipling R. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi)
  • Little Mouse (Marshak S. Ya. Tale of a stupid little mouse, Tale of a smart mouse)
  • Rat Lariska (Assumption E. Cheburashka and Crocodile Gene)
  • Little Mouse Peak (Bianchi V. Little Mouse Peak)
  • Rats (Lagerlef S. Niels' wonderful journey with wild geese)
  • Mouse Queen (A. Volkov, the Wizard of the Emerald City)
  • and many, many others, including numerous mice in folk tales.

Even more heroes and books, where they are "lit up", are listed here:

  • Rodents. In Fiction: A Review
  • On the eve of the coming year, the Rat of the library ofPskov took the liberty of collecting data on rats and mice, which left their mark in works of art for children and adolescents. And, most likely, this list will be incomplete ...
  • Mice and rats are the heroes of copyright fairy tales
  • About rats and rats
  • Ratology
  • Proper mouse
  • Mouse books collection
  • Mouse image in folklore and Russian literature of the 19th – 20th centuries
  • Mice are the heroes of Russian folk tales.

In the famous Gaidarovka at the XXIV literary and pedagogical readings “Seriously about the frivolous, or the Image of the MOUSE in folklore, literature, philosophy and the visual arts” the report was voiced “Mice are folklore, mice are literary. From Folklore to Literature, ”there was talk of“ Mouse Running ”in the visual arts, of Mice in poetry and other“ museological ”topics. The idea to give readings with such a funny wording arose in connection with the famous phrase by Grigory Gorin: “I understand what your trouble is: you are too serious. . All the stupid things on earth are done with this very expression. ” The readings were supported by the exhibition of illustrations “Cats? Mice !: mice of different artists. " The theme “Mice of different nations” was presented by books of foreign publishers, the small plastic of mouse themes from personal collections, as well as the authors' works on fabric and paper artists served as attributes.

All these directions of Readings can be used in working with readers. In addition, it will be useful to recall that in Russia there is such a wonderful city - Myshkin, which was founded a thousand years ago and got its name thanks to a strange story when a little mouse saved the prince from a snakebite. Myshkin is a city of the classical Russian province. There is a very interesting museum. Museum of the Mouse - in the city of Myshkin.
Of course, a presentation, for example, “Interesting facts about mouse life”, a quiz such as “Mice in books”, puzzles from famous fairy tales, and coloring books will come in handy for events.

With kids you can have fun and provocatively stage a fairy tale "Turnip" or "Teremok", play the game "Cats and Mice", "The most dexterous mouse" and "Mice make a round dance."

And, of course, recommend books with Exhibitions:

  • He lives in a mink, nibbles on a crust.
  • Animal on the palm
  • Ratology
  • Krysota will save the world
  • Rat
  • RATS
  • Mr. Mouse and Company
  • Mice and books (Mice from books, Book mice, Book mice - mouse books)

Maybe you will announce competition for writing fairy tales, poems, stories about mice or rats, or compose them with readers.
Tale "The Mouse and the Secret of the Library." What dangers and adventures can a mouse live in a library? And what is the secret of this place? This is a story about a Mouse - a mouse who loved to read.
Tale "Library Rat" about a soft but bold toy.

With readers you can do needlework, and these rodents will serve as excellent inspirers and stimulators of creative ideas. And if it’s tight with ideas, take a look at the Fair of Masters website! There and master classes, and a lot more just about everything. DIY Mice

Do you know, dear readers of my blog, that April 4, all the rats in the world celebrate International Day of the rats? I did not know. The history of the holiday dates back to 2002, when activists for the breeding of these animals advocated the creation of a holiday dedicated to their favorites. What is customary to do on this day? Numerous events are organized - exhibitions, festivals, festivities, competitions and competitions of Rats. All this is done so that people understand that a decorative rat is not “Fu, what disgusting!”, But - “God! How lovely!". Indeed, in human nature lies a neglect, and sometimes an aversion to these rodents. Meanwhile, the Rat is included in the pantheon of the Eastern calendar. Rats float on ships, ride trains, live in shacks and palaces, cities and villages, in a field and in a forest - they are omnipresent and cosmopolitan. That rats can not stand impassable walls and generally any restrictions on freedom. The rat is associated with our ideas about omnivorousness and ruthlessness. Writers also do not bypass these animals. In their works, mice and rats are both evil and very kind, loving and courageous.

In general, there are a lot of pages on the Internet with interesting facts from the life of rodents. It can be used!

Mice and rats are loved by artists, sculptors and animators - and this is a separate page in "mouse science".

But back directly to the new year's fun!