Of Mice and Men- A Comprehensive Comparision of the novel and


Who doesn\'t know of John Steinbeck\'s classic novel "Of Mice and Men"? It is a novel that almost everyone educated in the United States has either read it or pretended to read it. But how many have seen the 1992 film "Of Mice and Men"? The relative obscurity of 1992 screen version of this timeless drama does not mean that it was poorly done. Just the contrary is true, it is one of the best film adaptations of a novel that I have seen. The novel and the film are very similar. The Steinbeck\'s novel could be though of as the screenplay\'s first draft. There were some small changes, but they were instituted for the good of the film. I liked the film better than Steinbeck\'s novel.
"Of Mice and Men" is a story of people who express their troubles clearly, holding on to thin dreams as they go about their thankless business. The novel, set in the 1930s, is a story of friendship of migrant workers George Milton and Lennie Smalls. The pair travels from ranch to ranch, dreaming of someday making enough money so they can buy their own plot of land and a stake in their future. George is a father figure and protector of the strong simple-minded Lennie. Lennie\'s strength is his gift and his curse. Like the child he is mentally, he loves animals, but he inadvertently crushes them to death. Women, to him, are rather like animals, -- soft, small, and gentle. And there lies the tension that powers this narrative to its tragic conclusion.
The film version and the novel are very similar. There is minimal description in the novel, enough to set the scene, and the rest is dialogue. The film\'s story is very pure and lean as Steinbeck\'s original. Producer/director Gary Sinise and screenwriter Horton Foote don\'t try do anything fancy, they don\'t try to make it anything other than exactly what it is, a timeless simple story. Sinise and Foote make American Literature teachers everywhere proud; they have left the film\'s story uncluttered. Everything is very clear, and makes sense within its context. They remembered "Of Mice and Men is a classic for a reason, and if it ain\'t broke, don\'t fix it.
The screenplay and the novel are not synonymous but they are very close to being that way. Sinise and Foote held very true in their adaptation. All of the changes made were minor and to nothing to detract from the narrative. There were many more scenes in the film than the novel. It is believable to think the novel was originally a play and then was adapted into book form because there are only four different scenes in the entire novel. Chapter one is set at the Salinas River, chapter two and three are in the bunkhouse, chapter four in Crook\'s room, chapter five is in the barn, and chapter six is at the river again. Scenes had to be added to the film to keep the audience from getting bored. Dialogue was deleted to help move the story along. The only way we get background information about George and Lennie in the novel is through their dialogue. There was less dialogue in the film because the audience can learn the background information from visual cues from the added scenes. For instance, in the novel, George and Lennie speak of walking ten miles after being forced off the bus by the driver. But in the film, we see the driver kick the pair off of the bus. Similarly, George only speaks of the trouble that Lennie had gotten them into in the town of Weed. But in the movie we are able to see what happens.
Curley\'s wife, played by Sherilyn Fenn, plays a larger role in this film than in the novel. This character steadily develops as layers are peeled back like an onion. The wife in this version is far more predatory and dangerous than in Steinbeck\'s novel. Initially she acts quite sluttish, but she eventually shows to be naive, lonely, and trapped in an abusive marriage. She acts as a feminist voice that Steinbeck probably never intended.
The film version is different because downplays the novel\'s