What characteristics make Of Mice and Men an example of modernist literature?
This novel certainly is not a clear example of Modernist literature (like Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake or Robbe-Grillet’s Eraser) ; it follows more in the footsteps of 19th-century novels, and in its sociological content is linked to Willa Cather and Frank Norris; in its characterizations, it bears a resemblance to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Stylistically there is one modernist element in narrative style: the omniscient narrator is absent. Instead there is an objective narrator who never goes inside the minds of the characters like an omniscient narrator, bur only reports the visual and aural facts. For example, we never are directly informed about what Curley’s wife is thinking; we are only given a description of her actions, which we interpret as flirting; another example would be that we are not directly told that Lennie is simple; we are only given descriptions of his actions, which we interpret as simple-mindedness. This style was particularly suitable to stage and film adaptation, which explains why the story is better known in its stage version that in its prose form.