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What point of view is the novel "Of Mice and Men" written in?

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literature2011

Posted February 21, 2012 at 8:30 PM via web

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What point of view is the novel "Of Mice and Men" written in?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:36 PM (Answer #1)

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The point of view used by John Steinbeck in the novel Of Mice and Men is third person omniscient and objective. This means that the narrative is not given by a character within the story. It also means that the narrator knows everything about the characters, and the plot itself.

Moreover, this point of view entails is that the story will be told objectively, and without condemning nor condoning any of the actions of the characters. It provides detailed information in a sequential manner, always moving the plot forward. Also, there are no allotments for flashbacks nor any instances of self-analysis that may show partiality towards the thoughts of one character or another.

Notice in this excerpt how this third person omniscient and objective narrator describes the beginning of the journey of George and Lennie in a distant and detached tone

They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other. 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.

It may feel odd to think that the narrative in Of Mice and Men is detached, considering that we do acquire a lot of insight into the life of each character. However, this is a demonstration of Steinbeck's unique talent for characterization, as it is only from the characters' mannerisms and behaviors that we can sift their unique traits and connect them to the plot. George and Lennie's vocabulary, their dynamics, and their actions may tell us more about their backgrounds than a partial description by a partial narrator:

George's hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers
sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand. "I wasn't doin' nothing bad with it, George. Jus' strokin' it."

From this small information alone we can tell who is the dominant man in the relationship. We can also identify Lennie's weaknesses, as well as George's strengths in their daily interaction.

Therefore, Of Mice and Men is told from a third person omniscient and objective narrator. This is a good choice of narrative because it allows for the reader to learn the facts of the plot in an unbiased and impartial manner. It also entices the audience to create its own connections and make its own assumptions about what they learn.

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