Of Mice And Men: Comparison Of Book And Movie

  • Words 1094
  • Pages 2
Download PDF

Why ‘Of Mice And Men’?

The answer is that Steinbeck’s classic is short, comprising only six chapters, and that its themes continue to be considered relevant to 21st Century society. The novella is powerful and an exceptionally passionate portrayal of fellowship between two homestead hands for enlist (George Milton and Lennie Small) who structure a solid bond in spite of their distinctive character and incredible divergence in mental keenness. The emphasis on dreams during a time of downfall is like a ray of hope which instills one with optimism. The book raises the lives of the poor and dispossessed to a higher, symbolic level which is worthy of a read.

An Analytical Comparison of the Book and the Movie

The makers of the film adaption of the book have tried to do justice to the plot by including all that they could fit on the short strip of polaroid and the run-time available to them. Exploring the boundaries of the book, they have also tried, at some places, to modulate the content and add a more contemporary touch to it. The first of those instances is when in the film George and Lenny sneak out of the town called Weed in a train at night. This does not happen in the book at all. While there are other things that do happen in the book too but not quite at the same time. The flashback of the girl in the red dress running away and the crowd chasing George and Lenny early on the film is quite different from the book as we learn about the same only later on. Lots of tiny little things are not consistent between the book and the film but not all are significant or lead to a different interpretation than John Steinbeck would have intended.

Click to get a unique essay

Our writers can write you a new plagiarism-free essay on any topic

In the film we witness the conversation between Curley’s wife and George in the barn when George brings in the mule with the sore foot that Slim had asked for, is to further suggest the character of Curley’s wife as being flirtatious. This conversation though is an addition to the film, not taken from the book. On the contrary, Lenny hallucinating about a giant pink rabbit and his aunt Clara in the book has not been portrayed in the film. The hallucination about the pink rabbit, we understand, is to communicate to the reader about the guilt that Lenny carries and the realization that he will not be able to tend the rabbits.

The conclusion shown in the film is that after shooting Lenny, George leaves the ranch in a train to start a new life, whereas in the book he stays at the ranch. The book correctly portrays the incidents after Lenny’s death as George need not worry about getting in trouble because of him again. The cycle comes to an end where he would keep running away because of Lenny’s acts, and that is probably the reason why George had to kill Lenny in the first place. The book also has a conversation between Curley’s wife and Crooks which is very racist in nature and that is why it has been completely left out in the movie.

Treatment Of Characters- Books v/s Movie

The makers of this movie have tried to adhere to the book as much as possible as far as the characters are concerned. There are very minute differences in terms of characters are concerned. Some of them have been pointed out below:-

The main characters of this classic- George and Lenny are almost identically portrayed in the movie as they are in the book except for one part when George shoots lenny which happens fairly quickly in the movie but George has a really hard time doing it in the book.

Curley’s Wife- The character of Curley’s wife in the movie is described to be this woman who is obsessed with her beauty and is proud of it and also leaves no opportunity to flaunt it. This point has been extended far too much in the movie which is evident from her conversations and the tone of them which she has with George which by the way also do not happen in the book.

Curley- In the books he is described to be angry at Lenny and not much is talked about his attitude towards George. Whereas in the movie after seeing George talking to his he develops a similar feeling towards George along with some elements of insecurity and jealousy.

Acceptance of The Novel Among The Reading Public

The reception of this book was different for different sections of the society. Initially it was praised by many critics including Maxine Garrard and Ralph Thompson (The New York Times) who called it a “grand little book, for all its ultimate melodrama.” As Megan Chaudet points out in ’20th Century American Best Sellers,’ many of the contemporary reviews of Of Mice and Men ‘were extremely positive and considered the new novel well up to par with [Steinbeck’s] previous novels.’ The novel was also highly anticipated, selling 117, 000 copies in advance. It hit the best-sellers list almost immediately. But it faced the wrath of many censors and the book was initially banned from high schools, the reason that was given by the censor body was that it promoted euthanasia, condoned racial slurs and also contained “vulgar” language. Later, this ban was lifted. It is now described as one of the most challenged books of the 21st Century.

Performance of The Film at The Box Office

The film was first screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1992 where it was competing with 26 other films which were part of the “Official Competition” category. At the festival it received a very positive response from the audience and the characters got a standing ovation. It could not win an award there though. The movie debuted in America on 2nd October, 1992 and made a sum total of $5,471,088. The film received praise from many critics including Roger Ebert who gave it 3.5/4 for the film’s attention to detail. The film was later released in the DVD format by MGM Home Entertainment in 2003.

My Preference

I preferred the book version of ‘Of Mice And Men’ because it was more precise and it was an unadulterated portrayal of the ideas and sentiments that the author had in his mind. The characters’ development through the journeys they undertook and the minute details brought the story to life for me. Everything in the book had relavance and added depth to the scenes. Besides, nothing beats a crisp paperback for me. The film was a great watch with stellar performances too. 


We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.