Of Mice and Men: a Comprehensive Comparison of Novel and Movie

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Of Mice and Men: A Comprehensive Comparison of Novel and Movie

Who doesn't know of John Steinbeck's classic novel "Of Mice and Men"? It is a novel that almost everyone educated in the United States has either read it or pretended to read it. But how many have seen the 1992 film "Of Mice and Men"? The relative obscurity of 1992 screen version of this timeless drama does not mean that it was poorly done. Just the contrary is true, it is one of the best film adaptations of a novel that I have seen. The novel and the film are very similar. The Steinbeck's novel could be though of as the screenplay's first draft. There were some small changes, but they were instituted for the good of the film. I liked the film better than Steinbeck's novel.

"Of Mice and Men" is a story of people who express their troubles clearly, holding on to thin dreams as they go about their thankless business. The novel, set in the 1930s, is a story of friendship of migrant workers George Milton and Lennie Smalls. The pair travels from ranch to ranch, dreaming of someday making enough money so they can buy their own plot of land and a stake in their future. George is a father figure and protector of the strong simple- minded Lennie. Lennie's strength is his gift and his curse. Like the child he is mentally, he loves animals, but he inadvertently crushes them to death. Women, to him, are rather like animals, -- soft, small, and gentle. And there lies the tension that powers this narrative to its tragic conclusion.

The film version and the novel are very similar. There is minimal description in the novel, enough to set the scene, and the rest is dialogue. The film's story is very pure and lean as Steinbeck's original. Producer/director Gary Sinise and screenwriter Horton Foote don't try do anything fancy, they don't try to make it anything other than exactly what it is, a timeless simple story. Sinise and Foote make American Literature teachers everywhere proud; they...
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