Friday, January 31, 2020
Of Mice and Men is a famous novel written by John Steinbeck Essay Example for Free
Of Mice and Men is a famous novel written by John Steinbeck Essay Of Mice and Men is a famous novel written by John Steinbeck; Steinbeck was born in 1902 in Salinas Valley, California and he set Of Mice and Men during the Great Depression. He based the storyline on his personal experiences and ventures. The novel was later adapted into a motion picture starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise. This essay will examine various aspects of the film; the films treatment of the story, characterisation, camera work, symbolism, special effects and the use of music. The film does not follow the book exactly as several scenes from the novel have been edited to add climax and tension. For example some important aspects of the book have been changed. The first change is George and Lennie going into the boss house to meet him instead of the boss meeting them in the bunkhouse; George doesnt scold Lennie for talking in front of the boss when he strictly told not to say a word; George is introduced to Slim over dinner but in the book they first meet in the bunkhouse; George comes into Crooks room to get Lennie while in the book Candy joins Lennie and Crooks and they all discuss the dream, then even Crooks starts to believe in the dream and asks if he can be part of it. Some scenes from the book are not included at all, for example Curleys wife doesnt threaten Crooks in the film whereas in the book she threatens to frame Crooks for rape purely out of spite because the men reject her company. The hallucinations that Lennie has of Aunt Clara and the rabbit telling him how bad he has been in the last chapter of the novel are not portrayed in the film and when Slim and the other men console George after he has killed Lennie is not shown in the film either. Although some scenes have been cut from the original storyline others scenes have been added to the film. For example the opening of the film which shows the girl running in the red dress and the men chasing George and Lennie (this is only hinted at in the book); the train scene where George and Lennie jump on the train escaping to Salinas Valley and grabbing their work tickets in town; the work scenes which show the power of Lennies strength; Curleys wife talking to George alone in the barn; Curley practicing his boxing skills on his punching bag and George and Lennie speaking to Curleys wife after they have just left Crooks room. This treatment of the story shows us that not all scenes in a novel makes a good or interesting scene in a film so a novel can not just be filmed as it is, it often needs changing to make it a film the audience wants to watch. In film the director usually tries to bring a romantic element into the film to keep the audience guessing, will the couple get together or not? For example, there is an underlying sexual tension between George and Curleys wife in a couple of scenes. The characterisation is fairly faithful to the way they are described in the book. The way Lennie is portrayed is as a large, tall man with the strength of a giant. He is shown to be innocent like a child but as strong as an ox. The actor playing Lennie, John Malkovich matches Lennies description in the book, A huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders. Gary Sinise also fits Georges physical description, Small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features. He is shown to be the brains and Lennie the brawn. He is like the responsible father of Lennie, always taking care of him and trying to keep him out of trouble e.g. the scene where George gets Lennie out of Weed because he got into serious trouble for touching a womans red dress. Candy, the swamper, is faithful to his description in the book, A tall, stoop-shouldered old man and so is his character. Curley, the Boss son is described as, A thin young man with a brown face, with brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair (hence the name) but the actor in the film has straight hair. However some characters differ from the way they are described in the book. In the book Slim, the jerk line skinner, is described as Prince of the ranchhe moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen and he has a lot of authority and respect among all the ranch men in fact, His authority was so great his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love. In the film his authority and respect doesnt come across as much as it does in the book. The actor playing Slim didnt look the way the reader would have imagined him, His long, black, damp hair straight back. His hatchet face was ageless. His hands, large and lean, were as delicate in their action as those of a temple dancer. Curleys wife is physically the same as how she is described in the book. However, the audience has more sympathy for her in the film than in the book because she doesnt threaten Crooks in the same vindictive, spiteful way. Her vulnerability is also highlighted when she is seen breaking down in tears after Curley has broken her records. In addition Crooks, the stable buck, (his nickname is derived from his crooked spine) is much more bent over then the audience would have expected. He is crueller than in the book e.g. he enjoys tormenting Lennie about George possibly not returning ever again therefore is seen to be quite malicious. The camera work is very cleverly done and emphasises certain aspects of the story very well e.g. the close up of Lennie crushing Curleys hand and the close up of Lennie breaking Curleys wifes neck, make the scenes more dramatic. The lighting affects the mood of the story like the semi-darkness in the barn when Lennie kills the puppy and the bunkhouse when Carlson takes Candys old dog to be shot display a sombre mood. The golden glow of the men playing horseshoes outdoors displays a happy and optimistic mood. There are also several interesting special effects used in the film to intensify the drama. For example the fight between Curley and Lennie is exciting to watch as you see the blood dripping from Curleys crushed hand, the killing of Curleys wife as she panics and he breaks her neck and the shooting of Lennie when George shoots him in the back of the head. Most scenes in the film symbolise things for different characters for instance the dark side of the mens lives when they are on the train and the light flickers symbolises an uncertain future ahead, violence could flare at any time. It could also symbolise a gloomy, depressing future. Scenes with a lot of light symbolise happier times, signs of hope or the men just enjoying life for a change. The rabbits symbolise the dream and a symbol for Lennie of a better life. The dead mouse symbolises death and a sense of foreboding (that something bad is about to happen). Music is a key element in any movie because it helps to build up tension e.g. the famous theme tune of Jaws or the music used in Physco as the person is being murdered the beat is set by every stab. Music also shows the mood and is there to accompany the action on screen e.g. when the men are chasing George and Lennie at the beginning of the film the music gets louder and louder. In contrast to this is the use of complete silence to set the mood e.g. when they are on the train and when they are hiding in the ditch. The silence can represent calm or tension. The music when they are discussing the Dream is very relaxing and soothing, which again reflects the mood. Overall the novel is a tragedy because you feel sympathy for George because he had to kill his friend who had become like a brother to him. The film relays the novel, keeping along the lines of the story but is still a film worth watching even if the audience has not read the book. This is because the director has altered and added scenes to include tension, drama and climax. People who have read the book would be satisfied that the characters and storyline follow the book almost to every aspect.