A Critical Response: "To a Mouse" in Comparison to of Mice and Men

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A Critical Response: “To a Mouse” in Comparison to Of Mice and Men The book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck was derived from a line the poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns. Burns’ poem and Steinbeck’s book have many similarities, but they also have differences. One might wonder how a book about two men in the 1930s was derived by a poem about a field mouse whose home had been destroyed. Though that is the apparent summarization of Burns’ poem, it also has a deeper meaning – one that is not as apparent. The poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns is obviously about a man talking to a field mouse whose nest he has just destroyed with a plow. The man feels bad for destroying the mouse’s home and apologizes for what has happened. The deeper meaning of the poem is that no matter how much preparation goes into planning for the future, fate, or even someone else’s plan, can get in the way and demolish your plans. Burns compares the mouse and the man to one another in saying, “The best-laid schemes of mice and men/ Go often astray,” (Burns 39-40). The mouse in the poem worked hard to build its nest in preparation for the winter it was to endure in the future. The man plowing was preparing a field for cultivation in the future. Both the man and the mouse’s plan was destroyed; the mouse’s plan destroyed by the man, and the man’s plan destroyed by the fast approaching winter. If one looks further into this piece, past the obviousness of a man talking to a mouse, they should begin to realize the reality that Burns interlaced among the lines of “To a Mouse.” The book Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, is based off of Burns’ poem “To a Mouse.” The two literary pieces are alike in that they demonstrate how one’s plans for the future can be demolished. In the poem, the mouse’s plans were crushed by the man and the man’s plans were destroyed by the swift coming of winter.

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