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Compare two different stories, John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' and Thomas Hardy's ' The Three Strangers'.

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Introduction

The Three Strangers, Of Mice and Men In this wide reading assignment I am going to compare two different stories, John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' and Thomas Hardy's ' The Three Strangers'. Both stories are written in completely different countries. Hardy was writing in 1883 about rural Dorset in the 1820's and because of the time period, Hardy's writing goes into greater detail about everything in his story much more often than Steinbeck does in his 'Of Mice and Men'. Steinbeck was writing about the life of workingmen in America one year after the Wall Street crash in the 1930's. The story is based in California. The initial differences in style of writing are quite easy to see. Hardy writes with long, complex sentence structures, making long descriptions of the buildings, objects, people and weather. He uses complex, learned similes, " the long inimical seasons, with their sleets, snows, rains and mists afford withdrawing space enough to isolate a Timon or a Nebuchadnezzar...". In contrast, Steinbeck is descriptive, but in a more economical, more to the point way of writing. ...read more.

Middle

Hardy tells of a secure community that is tightly woven together with little to be concerned with other than work and leisure. Hardy describes that there is not much trouble, as we can tell from the part-time police officer that would only work with his staff with a royal emblem on top. He did not know what to say when making an arrest, instead saying what a robber would "... your money or your life!". Although Hardy describes this community as quite a safe place, it is not idyllic, with poverty and unemployment in the area, which we learn from one of the main characters, Timothy Summers " the poor clockmaker we heard of, who used to live away at Shottsford and had no work to do- Timothy Summers, whose family were a-starving...". In contrast to the tightly knit community, Steinbeck writes about sparse, wide-open spaces with miles to walk if people wished to gather or go to different cities and towns. He writes about itinerant workers travelling together to work on lonely ranches during the great depression. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Hardy's story there is marriage and planning ahead, "The shepherd fennel had married well..." In Steinbecks story, people avoid women and marriage, one of the main characters even calls women "jail bait" and says he would rather be given "a good whore house every time" than be married. Crime and Punishment differs in both stories, in both there are still people trying to escape from the law. In 'The Three Strangers' it is in a remote area that has never dealt with an escaped prisoner. The town only has a part-time police officer, yet there is the utmost respect for the law. The case is very different in 'Of Mice and Men'. People still live in a remote area, but take the law into their own hands, forming lynch mobs to catch whoever breaks the law instead of getting the police involved first, "I'm going for my shotgun, I'll kill the big son of a bitch myself!". In both stories the punishments are harsh for the crimes committed. In 'The Three Strangers' people are hanged and in 'Of Mice and Men' people are shot dead by executioners or members of a mob. The communities react quietly against the law and have their own sense of justice. ...read more.

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