The novella Of Mice and Men is one of America’s most enduring pieces of literature. In spite of its mere 107 pages, the story has attracted readers for more than seven decades. Perhaps this is because the allure of this book is in its characters, rather than in its plot. In the book, John Steinbeck explores the relationship between a lumbering, yet loving dimwit, Lennie Small and a brooding dreamer, George Milton. The two are peripatetic, journeying seemingly aimlessly from ranch to ranch across the western United States. While Lennie and George appear to be just two of the thousands of other nomadic farmhands drudging through through every month just to blow their ‘stake’ on cheap booze and hookers and return to the ranch life, the protagonists of Of Mice and Men distinguish themselves by a few novel traits. The first is their relationship, the second their aspirations and the third the burden they bear.
When first introduced, Lennie and George are indistinguishable. The book states “Both were dressed in denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons. Both wore black, shapeless hats and both carried tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders.” As the chapter progresses, however, and they begin to converse, the author makes clear that these two are not the same in this relationship.
Through Steinbeck’s illustration of Lennie’s behavior, we see a blissful, yet wildly unintelligent giant of a man, unable to fend for himself. He clings to George as a child to a parent, imitating George’s mannerisms and opinions. Lennie is burdened with the intelligence and personality of a small child, and a mountain of a body. His love of soft things leads him to incessantly accidentally hurt and kill the animals he is so enamored with. He wants nothing more than George’s companionship, and perhaps a few rabbits to pet. Throughout the book, this remains constant. Lennie is static.
George appears to be an average man of the 1930s. He is often abrasive, a naturally solitary creature. His burden is that of Lennie’s companionship. It is left unclear how Lennie came into George’s stewardship, but it occurred long before the events of the book. George lives his life constantly running, constantly talking Lennie out of the trouble Lennie lands them in. While George may often complain about his station in life, fending for both himself and for Lennie, he is shown as truly caring for Lennie. The two share a relationship that the other gruff and independent farmhands around them have never known.
In these brief 107 pages, Lennie and George’s relationship brings them each immense anguish and sporadic moments of joy. It is the central plot device, and the harrowing ending would be void of emotion without it. This is what sets this book so far above the rest, and makes it accessible to people from every corner of life. This book is not about a series of events. This book is about people, and it is about the relationships that two people might forge with one another when neither one fits quite right into the mold that society has formed for them, or into society in general. Lennie is an inherent outcast, left behind because of his unintelligence, and often misunderstood. When other characters see Lennie’s hulking frame, and those hands that could crush a man’s bones, they see a fighter. They see a bitter, cruel oppressor. Lennie, however, is far from that. Lennie is an easily frightened lover, an stalwart companion and good soul. George is nothing particularly impressive physically, and others in the book treat him as such. George is much more than average though. Others accuse him of “playing” Lennie, of extorting money from him and of taking advantage of him, but the truth is that George has fought, ran and argued Lennie out of countless mishaps, simply because it is the moral thing to do. Because as Lennie puts it, “Not us, George, because I... see, I got you to look after me, but you got me to look after you.”
Of Mice and Men ends in heart wrenching tragedy. In quick succession, a series of events leave a single broken soul where once stood a friendship. These last scenes are among the most emotional that I have ever read. As the story comes to a close, you are left with a disjointed band of unhappy undesirables and misfits on an unknown ranch somewhere near Soledad, CA. These are not important people. John Steinbeck, however, through their passion and grief, joy and hope, shows us that these too are valuable people. They tell a valuable story. Even if society refuses to acknowledge them, they are just as real as the wealthy farm owners and aristocrats among us. This situation can be found in countless moments in history. This story could take place anywhere that people live on the fringes of civilization, from the untouchables in India to the slaves of America to the Jews of the Holocaust.
This theme of not fitting society’s image of you, or into society at large made this book easily relatable for me, as well as for so many other readers. They are what allow me to recommend the book to anyone who feels ready. These themes are also what I chose to portray in the creative piece. I drew Lennie and George as they appear physically, however I used their posture to emulate their true selves. Lennie, with broad shoulders and defined muscles, crouches down, petrified in fear by some unseen attacker. He clutches a pup just a little too close to his chest. He is huge, but in reality, so small. George stands, legs wide and arms outstretched, attempting to shield Lennie. He is not especially strong or cunning, yet he stands to protect his friend from any dangers that may arise.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Book Review
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is a book about a teen who tries to commit suicide and is put in a mental institution. This book was made into a movie in 2010 featuring Keir Gilchrist, Dana DeVestern, and Zach Galifianakis.
Craig, a teenager who just got into a prestigious school in New York City, feels overwhelmed with all his work. On top of that, his best friend Aaron is dating Craig’s crush, Nina. Craig begins to get depressed and uses drugs to feel better. The drugs do not have a lasting effect. After Craig tries to commit suicide, he calls the suicide hotline. He is told to check himself into a mental hospital. There, Craig meets Bobby who shows him around the hospital. He also meets Noelle, who is in the hospital for cutting herself. Later, he falls in love with her. Through art, Craig is able to rehabilitate himself.
Craig has to overcome a lot in this book. Throughout the entire book, Craig has to deal with an internal struggle. This book covers some serious and grim material. Therefore, it is good that Bobby is there for some comic relief. Sometimes, when you think the book may get too intense, Bobby is there to lighten the feel. It makes the book much easier to read. Some themes in this book are peer pressure and self-identity.
While Craig’s situation is an extreme one, I found some aspects of his experience relatable. I think anybody can react to feeling pressured like Craig was. Craig just let his feeling of being pressured take over him. This book has a very basic human aspect to the book. On the other hand, the setting and other characters in the book can often be hard to relate to. For most, a mental hospital is not a typical setting. It is not a place most of us experience. In addition to the mental hospital being a difficult place to picture, Craig’s experience in the mental hospital is an unusual to say the least. This makes the book less relatable.
While slow at times, this is still a decent book. Craig’s feelings, while maybe not coming in such intense forms, are pretty common. This helps make the book more enjoyable. Craig’s experience in the mental hospital, on the other hand, is something that not most people experience. However, on the down side, I found it hard to immerse myself in the book because of its pace. The funny aspect of the book made up a little bit for the pace.
I would recommend people read this book. If you enjoy reading this will probably be easier for you. For people who find themselves bored when they read, they also might get a little bored with this book. To those people I would also say continue reading because overall, this book is definitely worth it.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Playlist
Love Buzz - Nirvana
Love Buzz is about being in love with someone. It exemplifies how Craig feels towards Aaron’s girlfriend, Nina. The song is also loud and intense. When someone listens to it, they can feel the frustration in Kurt Cobain’s voice.
Adam’s Song - Blink 182
This song is about a child who wants to commit suicide. He feels like he is under a lot of pressure. Adam’s Song is written in the form of a suicide note which can make listening to it unsettling and uncomfortable, but also fits with the book at points.
Jumper - Third Eye Blind
This song is about trying to get someone not to jump and commit suicide. It is analogous to the part of the book where Craig is talking to the person from the suicide hotline.
Me and My Friends - Red Hot Chili Peppers
In this song, Anthony Kiedis sings about all of his friends in his band. It is similar to Craig meeting new friends in the mental institution. Much like his friends in the mental hospital, this song is also a little strange.
Teenage Dirtbag - Wheatus
This song is about a guy who likes a girl. This fits with how Craig feels towards the end. In addition, the love interest’s name in the song is Noelle just like in the book.
Always Look On The Broad Side of Life - Monty Python
After some time in the mental hospital, Craig starts to feel better. This song exemplifies that to some extent. It is a cheerful tune even though the lyrics are kind of grim. It is also a funny song to show that the book has some funny parts.
Review by Todd Samuels
This children’s novel starts out in a dystopic place. It is a fictional story. Though it is first seen as a utopia by the reader initially. The story follows the main character named Jonas, Jonas is 12 years old. In this fictional society Jonas lives in the society converted to a practice called “Sameness”. The society elects Jonas to be in the position of “Receiver Of Memory”.
This is a custom in their society that when you turned 12 you were given the job you would have for the rest of their life. For Jonas this meant he was to remember the past ways of all the times before the practice of “Sameness”. He then meets the previous receiver The “Giver”. Jonas initially is confused at the knowledge that is being presented to him. Jonas realizes that his society is deprived of so much information but if they were to find out about what was going on outside of their little world it could cause major chaos. The people in his community are only happy because they do not know a better life. Jonas questions whether to stay with his community or to leave an to see what else is out there for him to explore.
He asks The Giver to come with him, they both decide that the time for change was now. Jonas had been curious to know what more of the terms in their society meant like “release”. You might just think the normal definition ‘letting go of something’. The something is this society was being lethally injected upon your will. Even having twins was not legal, the smaller twin was literally thrown away. Jonas knew that this had to change. With his new found interest in the outside elements of affection and wanting change Jonas becomes attached to a child that is in the Nurturing Center which is set to be “released” the second day. He, The “Giver” and the child devise a plan to escape. They do escape and get the where was described to be a land called “Elsewhere”.
I do like this book the story constantly kept me engaged in what was going to happen next. This story was somewhat like the hunger games in a sense with the rather extreme measures that were taken in the story. I do not think that there were any in fact weaknesses in this story it is apparent that it was a well thought out plot which is meant to confuse the reader initially until the reality of the story is revealed. I would definitely change the killing of children, babies I do not think that aspect was necessary although it was a major part of the story the reader will not realize until the end though.
Yes I would recommend this book to other people, it isn’t just your average “Cinderella story” there is substance to the reading which keeps you wanting more in my opinion. The author initially draws the reader in with radical customs things that you wouldn’t expect as a first time reader of this story which drew me in as well. The story is well written; and there are three other stories that are a part of the series making four books in total. This is a great reading for all ages.Creative Poem
Fiction: By TJay The Poet
It's fiction but its real
This is general & the author is kinda famous
After reading a bunch of pages at some point you're caged in
You don't want to face reality , he puts knowledge on you it follows you
You must make a decision
So you devise a plan
Killing babies ,
and it's crazy
Maybe you weren't ready ,
he had decided already ,
then he brings his accomplice ,
what he wants he accomplished ,
they go to a world where it was in the prophecy
Shows that the giver was right
it's not a game -
For my final Independent Reading Project I read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This was a very and suspenseful novel. There were many things that intrigued me and hooked me onto this book. It tells the story of a girl by the name of Hannah Baker who killed herself. Clay Jensen, one of Hannah’s acquaintances, was the one who was listening to the tapes throughout the novel.
One thing that I loved about this book was the detail in each character. Even though all you heard Hannah from was her tapes and thoughts, you could cleary guess what was going through her head. She was a depressed and stressed girl that had “reasons” for everything. I liked how Jay showed her emotions and feelings and it was also very relatable to the mind of a young teenage girl. Even though all teenage girls can’t say they killed themselves, there are things that make them want to. The reasons Hannah had were all great examples of that. (Whether it was related to relationships, friends, or family.)
This book was really interesting to read and I didn’t want to stop. Although I couldn’t relate completely, most of Hannahs reasons were things that have happened to me before. It made me feel like I’m not the only one struggling with the kinds of problems she had. Even if I didn’t have suicidal thoughts because of my problems, I was probably pretty close. This book just reminded me of how my life used to be. It felt good to read because it was a reminder that I overcame my emotions and didn’t resort to what Hannah did. Overall, this book was actually better than I expected it to be and I would recommend it to many people.
Creative Assignment (Playlist):
Stranger by Jhene Aiko: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y21lLimmy8Y
This song is about the artist having a connection with someone she hasn't met or someone she doesn't know too much about, but they have the same type of feelings. It also tells the story of someone not knowing what they have done or who has done something. In the book, Hannah has all these feelings for people that don't even know what they did.
Save Me by Nicki Minaj: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYNPuckZX7k
This song tells the story of a girl who is lost and needs someone to help save her. She needs someone there to help before she loses her mind and does something crazy. In the book, Hannah actually went crazy and committed suicide.
Sad Songs by Melanie Fiona: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjYmepzHrFg
Melanie Fiona sings her heart out about how she has no one to share or hear her feelings with. She sings about all the sad memories she has with people that brought her depression. In the book, Hannah is telling these people that broke her down what they did on the tapes.
Lost by Frank Ocean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_XQaIcIAfg
This song is about a young teen that lost himself and didn't know where his mind was. He let other people control him and didn't know how he could fix it. In the book, Hannah has all these reasons (13 to be exact) why she did what she did to herself. The reasons were all about what people did to her, such as Tyler, who was "creeping" in on her while she was getting dressed. Things such as this built up anger inside her that made her lose herself.
Ordinary People by John Legend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIh07c_P4hc
John sings about how everyone is very different, but more alike than you know. This song sends a message that people should be treated equally and should never feel like they a beneath someone. In the book, this is obviously the main reason why Hannah plugged the plug on herself.
Catch Me by Nicki Minaj: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuBDKSqIDSw
This song by Nicki talks says so much. She delivers lines about how people used to tear her down and make her feel invisible. My favorite line would have to be, "It's funny how you could always make me feel small, I have given my all. Catch me, catch me, I think I am going to fall...." That one line, I think, basically describes the whole book. People always made Hannah feel like she was small and unimportant.
My book review below in pdf format:
For my creative piece, I made PECS cards. PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System. PECS cards are used as a form of communication for people with autism and special needs. The person just simply holds up a card that explains what he/she is feeling. For instance, if that person is sleepy, he/she would hold up a PEC card with a picture of a bed. In Unlocked, one of the main characters, Holden Harris, used PECS cards to communicate. When he wanted to watch a movie, he showed his mother a card with a picture of a television on it. When he wanted raisins, he held up a card with a pictures of raisins on it. I made several PECS cards that Holden used in the book, such as ones that said, “I love music, I see, I hear, Movie, I pray, and Dance.”
My PECS cards below:
Or click on this link
This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald
a review by August Polite
The story of Amory Blaine is an interesting one; though not an immediately gripping dialogue, it does not fail to interest the reader in a way that most books simply cannot accomplish. The story of Amory is relatable, but mysteriously captivating, and funny at times. The story is an American classic and it holds up surprisingly well, offering a different style of writing that isn’t really used much today. The story doesn’t begin with a proper exposition of the characters, instead it starts by dropping you right into the story of this peculiar character, letting you get a feel for what is happening in the world. Throughout the first sections of Amory’s life it feels more like a biography instead of a novel. The character seems so real and is described in such a realistic and detailed manner that at times, you forget that he is in fact a piece of fiction. He comes across as a conventional advantageous and affluent young man in the twenties, striving to get ahead in life; a very relatable format, although some may find lulls at points in the story.
Many have claimed that “This side of Paradise” is not one of Fitzgerald prize works, but that it was a necessary step for him to find his rhythm. I have only read some fragmented sections of “the Great Gatsby” (one of Fitzgerald’s most prestigious works) and somewhat agree with the book’s critics, however “This Side of Paradise” has a different appeal. It feels more like a window into Fitzgerald’s past and offers a look at his climb to fame.
The title of the book I read was called Double Dutch by Sharon M. Draper. She is mainly an author for teen books. Sharon M. Draper is an award winning author. She has been on the New York Times bestsellers list for the book “ Copper Sun”. Sharon M. Draper is also a Coretta Scott King award winner for the books such as “Copper Sun” in 2007” and ” We beat in the Street”. Also in 1998 she wrote “Forged by Fire” which was also an award winner for the Coretta Scott King award.
This book is about a girl named Delia Douglas. She has a passion for double dutch. Delia, her friends Yolanda and Charlene attended on competing in the World double dutch Championship. The World double dutch championship is when kids all over the world from places such Taiwan, Germany and Canada face off in a battle to win first place. Delia practices at the YMCA gym with Yolanda. Delia notices a boy name Randy, he’s in her class. they both have one thing in common.
As they interact with each other inside and outside of school they gain a bond with each other. Never the less to say that neither one of the has exposed their secret to one another. The conflict in the story is person Vs. Person. I believe this because in the story you Have a boy named Randy who would be her potential boyfriend and a Girl named Delia. They both share the same interest. Each one has a secret that neither are willing to share upfront. But in the end they conquer their fears and give in. Randy discovers Delia’s secret, she can’t read. Delia discovers randy’s secret, His dad was missing for weeks and haven’t heard from him since.
Over all my favorite character is Delia because she shows courage. From this book you will take away that “ the road remains wide open, while your dreams are alive . Only fear can block the way. “ ( "The road remains wide open . . . rainbow by halfpasteleven on Etsy." Etsy - Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 June 2013. <http://www.etsy.com/listing/102018796/the-road-remains-wide-open-rainbow . ) Fear has two meanings 1.) Forget Everything And run or 2.) Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.
I do not believe I can relate to this book because I never really Had a something that I was ashamed of. Yes, I have had fears but I had conquer them. For example I used to be scared of getting on rollercoasters. Then when I first got on one I was so scared. but afterwards I felt the rush and now i’m not scared anymore. So Actually I can conclude I can relate.
Overall i thought the book was Excellent. Strong points of the book would be how the characters were portrayed. Each character created the right amount of suspense. You could also understand and identify the characters personality. However it lacks in humor. Setting a tone for a book is very important because a reader will pick up the theme or message when everything is properly balanced.
I would highly recommend this book. Especially to teens how do not read enough because if you set time aside for just reading for 20 minutes a day. I assure you that you will feel glad that you did it.
Also in my creative piece I have four people hanging by nooses on a wall. I tried to incorporate a more litteral depiction of the term wallflower, and for a person to be a wallflower. The depiction of the term is also in a sense non-litteral, by it being pushed slightly towards a creative edge while still incorporating a meaning. Each flower pot on the heads of the drawn characters represents the feeling of shyness and brokenness. Every single flowerpot on their heads are broken, thus representing them being a wallflower. Each of the drawn figures are hung up on the wall by a noose. This noose to head action isn't simply just a dark twisted way to represent wallflowers, by literally hanging them up on a wall (see what I did there?). In the very beginning of the book Charlie's best friend from middle school killed himself, and so I cleverly added that into the whole wallflower depiction by having all of the people I drew hanged. Charlie may have always been a wallflower, even before he introduces himself to us (the reader) the day before his first day of high school; but the death of his friend Michael would really give any person the perks of being a wallflower (I am so clever today).
The book's setting is in the early 1990's, and is based around the life of Charlie, which is a generic name he gave to us because he doesn't want us to find out who he is. What I got from this novel is that charlie is conceptually writing to us (the reader). Charlie is writing to us because we are good people, and because we didn't sleep with that one girl, that one night, at that one party... because we could have (inside joke from the story).
In the "Author's Note" this is what I wrote: "This story is based on the story Hunchback of Notre-Dame, by Victor Hugo. He is also the author of the world famous musical and movie Lés Miserables. The story is set in Paris in the early 1800s. It is a historical story about Quasimodo, a very handicapped and ugly man; Claude Frollo, his father and the town priest; La Esmeralda, an unconventionally beautiful gypsy street performer; and a number of other men and women who all seem to want something to do with La Esmeralda. The Archdeacon Claude Frollo is a very compassionate and intelligent man who falls into a path of darkness after realizing that he failed to raise Quasimodo (his adopted son) and Jehan (his little brother). Quasimodo works the bells in a beautiful cathedral and becomes deaf; this, among plenty of other attributes, is why nearly everybody despises him. La Esmeralda is a Bohemian gypsy who performs in the streets with her little goat; together they perform mind-blowing tricks (which are believed to be witchcraft by many of the spectators). Between La Esmeralda and the men of the town there is much personal (especially romantic) conflict. There is also heartbreaking conflict between Claude Frollo and Quasimodo, and the rest of the townspeople; the townspeople treat the men cruelly. This story has many fascinating themes, but the best of them all is to “not judge a book by its cover”. Claude Frollo is a priest so people assume he is sweet and gentle, yet by the time he reaches 40, he is a crooked, horrible and secretive man. On the flipside, Quasimodo does not speak much because he is deaf and only has one eye. He also has a hunchback and walks awkwardly so people assume that he is an alien, mean and wild man. Yet, Quasimodo is a truly genuinely caring person."
Of all of the characters in the story, I could relate most of all to Phoebus, the promiscuous soldier. Don’t get me wrong, I do not relate to him because we are both promiscuous; I can relate to him because when he is among the beautiful, rich and fancy ladies, he feels very uncomfortable, even though he was raised very properly. He feels more comfortable speaking roughly, dressing casually, and interacting with the average people. I went to a private Jewish school for ten years and now that I have finally left, I will always feel out of place with my friends that still go to private Jewish schools. The way Phoebus feels is nearly exactly the same way that I have grown to feel nowadays. It’s not that I have a preference for people who are not “rich and Jewish”, but it’s just simpler and more fun for me to hang out with other kinds of people too.
My favorite character is easily Claude Frollo. Claude Frollo is my favorite character for only two reasons. Firstly, I find it mind-blowing that a person can transform from such a compassionate and eager-to-learn young man to a twisted and impudent man. He used to study tirelessly at the University; he adopted his younger brother at the age of 16 because their parents had died (due to the plague); and on top of that, he took in the discarded child, Quasimodo, and raised him and loved him as his own. Then, once his boys grow up, he turns to studying alchemy in the tall towers of the cathedral, Notre-Dame. Now he rarely emerges from his workspace. When people try to speak to him, he is often unresponsive or just rude and frightening. The only exception to this kind of behavior is Quasimodo; I think this is because they both receive hostility from the people of Paris. The second reason that I enjoy Claude Frollo so much is because he is so complex and unbelievable intelligent.
Finally, I think this book is fantastic, and I would strongly recommend it to anybody who is willing to deal with the somewhat tedious writing style of Victor Hugo. The only (minor) issue that I found with this book is that it had a bit too much historical narration for my taste. At the beginning I felt that it was tough to read through all of the non-fiction, but I did it anyway because I really wanted to get to the rest of the story. It was undoubtedly worth the strain. In conclusion, this is a marvelous story filled with intricately built characters as well as a beautifully written description of the setting. This book is great for anybody who is prepared and eager to read the story despite the slightly tiresome historical reports.
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