CRITICAL LENS: BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL THEORY
What is bio/hist. criticism?
A. What past experiences does the author have that are seen in the literary piece?
Steinbeck portrays the message that he, like Lennie and George, has gone through some hard times. His word choice throughout the novella also classifies him as very dignified and respected by many, for he is an educated man for his era.
1. What was happening in the country/area that is realized in the setting (time & place)?
Of Mice and Men is set in the United States around the 1930’s. this era was known as the great depression for several reasons, one being the economy was plummeting into the worst economic freefall in history. Another, it crushed the hopes and dreams of the American people. They hope for wealth, a big house, and a family, but so many of them were being forced to give up all they had.
B. How does the setting help the reader interpret the work and the author’s purpose?
The setting helps the reader interpret the work and authors purpose by intertwining the simplicity of the ranch and the immense horror that lay just beyond its reach.
C. What “systems of meaning” do you think the author used to shape his/her literary piece?
The system of meaning Steinbeck uses is presenting his information in a way so that anyone can and will relate to it. He analyzes life experiences that people normally don’t go through in everyday life so that they can see a new perspective.
1. Do you understand the piece better having learned about the author’s life? How?
Yes, because it shows how he became who he is, how he writes, and why he included some of the things that he did, such as the little luxuries that they miss so much, but today, we overlook them.
2. Are events and/or characters in the piece based on the author’s own experiences
AND are the presented factually or imaginatively?
I believe some of Steinbeck’s personal experiences are included in the novel simply because it shows such depth and loss that he puts into the characters. One only understands another when he is put into his perspective, then, and only then, will two men no longer quarrel over something as petty