Can you compare and contrast the style in Of Mice and Men and All My Sons?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Comparing the style of these two works is somewhat difficult as one work was written intially in novel format (Of Mice and Men) and the other as a play (All My Sons). However, Steinbeck's work was also produced as a play and a film. 

The natural way to compare these two works would not be to focus on style but on content. These are both works of social consciousness and social politics. Both Steinbeck and Miller were interested in dramatizing the effects of economic and political circumstances on the lower classes. 

To do this, both writers use a style that directly and indirectly uses character as a mouthpiece for political ideas. Forces of economic and social opposition are pitted against each other in stark, simple and explicit conflict. The conclusion of each work is similarly dark and even tragic. 

Death is the final comment on the extremity of the effects of political reality on characters who feel powerless to change their role, their fate, or their state of deep moral compromise. The system forces this compromise. This comment is built into the structure of both works (and structure is an element of style). 

The style of Steinbeck's novel resembles other forms like myth and morality tale, to some degree, where Miller's play maintains a decidedly more modern form.

This conclusion is drawn from the relative complexity of each work. Steinbeck's work utilizes repetition (the dream is repeated three times, Lennie kills three creatures, the setting of the opening is the setting of the final scene, etc.). The character interactions/dynamics are also simplified. Miller's play is more "naturalistic" in the work's complexity of relationships. Miller also demonstrates an interest in the subtleties of psychology and deceit, where Steinbeck's treatment of deceit is practical, not psychological. 

osu1nixon | Student

It would be a stretch, however, I think more appropriately, you could compare and contrast "Of Mice and Men", with "The Green Mile" by author Stephen King.  Both characters have the same gentle innocence that could be compared and similar physical strengths that that they are unaware.  By contrast, they are in different "prisons" while one is free and the other is incarcerated.  Next you could contrast support they receive from the other characters in each book.

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All My Sons

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