I love the assignment idea - I may try it with my students! in the meantime, here are some of my ideas
‘Fix You’ by Coldplay would be excellent for the scene where George tends Lennie’s wounds after Curley’s attack. This is a slow and tender song and would emphasise the depth of their relationship and George's compulsion to defend Lennie.
‘California Dreamin’’ by the Mamas and the Papas would work as they travel to the ranch
I would go with the Simon and Garfunkel 'America' too.
I will keep thinking about this one - I may be back!
I will try to identify about seven songs that hit many of the themes Steinbeck drives home, but also are a bit off of the beaten path, so you might have to forge some more links on your own, if you choose to use them.
1. "America" by Simon and Garfunkel- The song speaks to much of what American sojourners are in search. "I've come to look for America." Certainly, George and Lennie are in search of America.
2. "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.- There is an overwhelmingly painful theme to this song, but also a striking call to a redemptive spirit that might by subterranean in Steinbeck's work. Despite cruelty, Steinbeck seems to be indicating a hope to avoid it.
3. "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" by Pet Shop Boys- Yeah, this is Lennie's theme.
4. "Where did you sleep last night" by Nirvana or "Mother" by John Lennon- Both songs deal with disloyalty and the hurt and anger that accompanies the breakage of human bonds. Both songs have a great combination of hurt- filled anger or anger filled hurt.
5. "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan- I think Dylan's cutting and bruising approach to disloyal people speaks loudly to Steinbeck's ideas.
6. "Beyond the Blue Horizon" by Lou Christie- As Steinbeck speaks to the new America of the 20th century out west, this song has a great combination of hope and melancholy, despair and progress. A personal favorite!
Since Woody Guthrie was an itinerant folk singer during the Depression who suffered as so many had, he seems a likely choice for your soundtrack to illustrate the setting, themes, and characters of "Of Mice and Men." On the jacket of the cd, perhaps a picture of a solitary man, dusty from the lonely road he has traveled, looks mournfully at the camera. Or one of the famous photographs from the Depression taken by Margaret Bourke-White would be great.
Here is a list of some of Woody Guthrie's songs:
- This Land is Your Land - this fits Steinbeck's theme of the brotherhood of men in "Of Mice and Men"
- "Pastures of Plenty" - the lyrics speak of working and working in California, but "my pastures of plenty must always be free." This song evokes the "dream" of George and Lennie to have a place of their own.
- "Jesus Christ" - This is a song about the importance of activism, a cause celebre of John Steinbeck.
- "Union Burying Ground" - This song, too, speaks out for the people who fought to improve the workers' conditions. Steinbeck, a socialist, believed as Guthrie did.
- "My Battle" - "Show me how, how to fight my battle in life/Show me how to fight/And I'll run away with you" - good for several scenes such as the confrontation between Curley and Lennie
- "Better World" - good for Lennie's death. "There's a better world that's a'coming/ I'll tell you why, why, why....When we'll all be union/And we'll all be free.
- "Lonesome Valley" - "You gotta walk that lonesome valley/You gotta walk by yourself"-good for George as he walks back with Slim after shooting Lennie.
(Woody Gurthrie's lyrics can be easily accessed on the internet.)
I would use "You're My Best Friend" by Queen to express the theme of friendship in the novel. It's a little cheesy, but I think it fits. "Oh, The Glorious" by Brett Dennen would also be a good "growing up" song for Lenny. You could actually do this entire assignment using only Beatles songs. Using only one artist who has a huge repertoire might be a fun idea. This sounds like a fun project. Could you post the actual assignment?
eNotes has a great list of themes for Of Mice and Men:
Idealism vs. Reality
Alienation and Loneliness
Race and Racism
I'm not really up on who the latest singers and songs are, but if you know the themes from the novel you will have an easier time selecting songs and artists. Good luck with your assignment!
the whole assignment is
"Make a soundtrack that illustrates the plot, theme, character, or a moment in the book. Include lyrics in a cd jacket and why you chose that song for that moment
I would also add Human by the Killers to a scene near the end of the story. It might make for good closing -out purposes.
HIM - Funeral of Hearts
Megadeth - Of Mice and Men
The Killers - All These Things that I've done
Peter, Bjorn, and John - Young Folks
Depeche Mode - Precious
Rod Stewart - Killing of Georgie
Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland by 1945
Wade Hayes - What I Meant to Say George Michael - Father Figure
The above songs have been mentioned in various sources as songs suitable for the novel Of Mice and Men I believe that there have been many movie versions made of the novel, so you might want to check out the various soundtracks available. I remember at least one version with John Malkovich, though I can't remember the date that it came out.
As for the particular moments in the book, I don't have an idea as to how many scenes you were looking for, so one person's important moment is another person's trivial moment.