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Barron's Booknotes-Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
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STYLE

Steinbeck's style in the novel is conversational and direct. People are talking throughout most of the book. They talk in the natural language of the ranch-lots of cursing, name calling, and slang. The style fits in well with the common man and naturalistic themes you just read about.

While Steinbeck's language and style are natural and simple, his sentences are carefully constructed. His descriptions are almost like poetry. Here is a sentence from the first paragraph of the book: "The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool." Notice how the author has repeated w sounds in the first clause and s sounds in the second. This is called alliteration. You might look for other examples of alliteration in the first few pages, and throughout the book. Steinbeck also uses similes to create pictures in the reader's mind: the rabbits sit on the bank "like gray, sculptured stones," and Lennie snorts into the water "like a horse."



Another aspect of Steinbeck's style is that he lets the story develop one step at a time; he doesn't jump ahead or flash back. This gives the action a dramatic quality. We know Lennie has a potential for violence, so we are a little afraid when he confronts Curley in the bunk house or begins petting Curley's wife's hair in the barn. But Steinbeck lets each of these scenes start off slowly then build quickly to a powerful climax. We, as readers, get caught up in the drama because of the way he presents the scenes to us.

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Barron's Booknotes-Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
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