Realism In Of Mice And Men

Great Essays
Acting as an archetype in literature for hundreds of years, the common man remains one of the most ubiquitous characters in the American literary canon. Even though the concept emerges long before, the idea of the common man mostly manifests itself in the writings of American realist authors during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Realists strive to create works that focus on reality, its hardships, and familiarity instead of romanticized exaggeration of the trivial and idealistic. Perfectly suiting the realists’ need for a practical, relatable protagonist, the common man gives contemporary readers a character with whom to personally connect. The authors need to have experienced many of their characters’ struggles and emotions, …show more content…
Loving the outdoors and reading “the natural world with extraordinary attention” (Kordich), the author “would wander the hills around his uncle’s ranch or trump through the meadows, marshes, and farmland that surrounded the city of Salinas” (Kordich). His attentiveness to the land in Northern California supplies him with rich details of Salinas and the surrounding areas in order to better portray the dilemmas of the common man. In Of Mice and Men the story begins with a detailed nature scene, “a few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool,” (, “Of Mice and Men,” 1). With exceptional detail, the scene of the river and the hills provide a realistic setting and background that directly contribute to the realism of the universal common man. Steinbeck uses his own experiences in Salinas to create a faithful description providing a backdrop of realism that increases the relatability of the common protagonist. Continuing the accurate renditions of Steinbeck’s home in order to bring about a realistic atmosphere, “the deep green pool of the Salinas River was still in the late afternoon. Already the sun had left the valley to go climbing up the slopes of the Gabilan mountains, and the hilltops were rosy in the sun,” (Steinbeck, “OMAM,” 99). Again, another natural rendition of a landscape Steinbeck has familiarity with, which he uses to increase the realistic aspects of the story to increase relatability. While Steinbeck creates faithful, vivid imagery of nature from his home, he also uses the same technique in the Southwest to create a realistic backdrop for other stories featuring a universal common man as, “anyone reading Steinbeck is rewarded with his portraits of the natural

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