We often find a novel’s social commentary when looking at its depiction of the relationship between a character and the society in which the character lives.
Let’s take a look at some John Steinbeck novels as examples.
- ¨ Of Mice and Men offers a commentary on innocence and ownership in a world where both are easily taken away from the common man.
- ¨ Tortilla Flats presents the reader with a community of people who have difficulty taking material responsibility in a society that honors only material responsibility.
- ¨ The Pearl presents a situation where wealth and humanity are at odds and where greed breeds a fear that destroys individuals and their feelings for one another.
From these examples, we can see that a novel’s social commentary or social aspect will often be closely related to the novel’s themes.