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An analysis of why 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck struck a chord in 1920s American society and its continuing resonance. Dr Susan Shillinglaw of the Center for Steinbeck Studies discusses the theme of loneliness in the novel. The narrator examines Steinbeck’s place within American society today and whether The American Dream has any contemporary relevance. A poignant extract from the end of the novel is featured and provides a solemn conclusion to whether or not the dreams of Steinbeck's characters are fulfilled within the novel.
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First broadcast:
16 January 2008

Classroom Ideas

Can be used to explore the device of making the political personal, and the concept of a microcosm. The novel was very nearly a play and lends itself perfectly to being realised on stage because of the fact that much of the action takes place in one setting, the ranch, specifically the bunkhouse. Using an image of how the ranch/ bunkhouse has been staged in a theatre production, can students annotate this with quotes describing the bunkhouse, or life in it? Can they now comment on what the bunkhouse setting represents in wider society at that time?

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