Of Mice and Literary Merit

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Of Mice and Literary Merit Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is widely esteemed as classical literature, enough so it is a part of many A.P. English reading lists. How does a book achieve the status of ‘Classic literature”? Is it merely lovable characters and a happy ending? I submit that any book widely considered as classic literature has to have masterful use of literary elements and compelling depictions of themes. Of Mice and Men is written in a way that both of these components are transparently shown in the novel. One of the primary literary elements that makes Steinbeck’s novel so compelling is the skillful characterization of the two protagonists, George and Lennie. As the story begins you are introduced to a rag-tag duo of traveling laborers, George, a small and quick-tongued man, and Lennie, a massive lumbering man who is not nearly as bright as his counterpart. Through George’s wall of condescension and sarcasm you find out that there is deep love for Lennie within him. George spends a majority of the novel cleaning up Lennie’s “messes” and scheming for a better future for the two. Truthfully Lennie is the jewel of the crown with characterization. His child-like demeanor and actions provide amusing situations which help you to connect with him. Soon you begin to understand the gravity of his disabilities, and you worry for his well- being as he has a hard time taking care of himself. All in all Steinbeck masterfully created original characters that you learn to love and empathize with. Of Mice and Men is filled other literary devices and they’re all used very effectively, one example is parallelism. The beginning of the book begins with a quiet scene of a river surrounded by brush and tall grass, a water snake basks in the sun and a heron gracefully stands in the river. Then tromping up the path come the protagonists. Lightheartedly you are
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