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Media studies coursework for John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”

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Introduction

Media studies coursework for John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" We are doing a study of the opening sequence on the novel "Of Mice and Men", and the subsequent two films (1995 version, and the 1989 version) on the Novel. The author of the novel is John Ernst Steinbeck, who shares the exact same name as his father. His father was an observer of nature and the natural world, and taught the young Steinbeck to respect and to be a part of nature. This love of nature from his father is incorporated in Steinbeck's opening sequence of the book, where he describes in great detail the opening beside the Salinas River, this causes a calm and tranquil feeling for the reader and draw him straight into the book. Steinbeck was born and raised in Salinas in California and bases his book around both that area and in the time he was writing it, which was during the American depression in the 1930's. The opening sequence of the book is set a few miles south of Soldad, in the Salinas river. The Salinas river is a peace full and tranquil place with lots of vegetation and wildlife and gives a very slow and calm start to the book. Steinbeck indicates that it is a spring evening of a hot day, and judging by the two men's clothes it is sometime in the early 1900's but he does not indicate exactly what period in the early 1900's they are in. We can tell they are in this period from the second paragraph when he mentions that there are "boys coming down from the ranches". From this and the clothes they are wearing we can also tell that the two men (George and Lennie) are working class and are most likely looking for a job on the ranch near by. We can tell they are working class because before the 1940's only poor people amd workers would wear that type of clothes, "denim trousers and denim coat". ...read more.

Middle

The first glimpse we get of any of the character is when the camera slowly fades into a close-up shot of George lit only from the tiny beams of light coming from the slits in the carriage door. George is not moving at all and his face seems contorted and morose, showing us that he is in deep thought about something bad that has happened in the past, we can also assume now that he is on the train because he is running away from whatever has happened. The next scene strikes you very strongly because it is set in the middle of the day in a lush field witch looks like America. Running towards the camera there is a woman in a bright red dress with tears running down her eyes and obvious signs of distress on her face, her dress has also been ripped as though she has been attacked. This scene has been shot at a slower frame rate to indicate that it is actually George reliving previous events that have happened. The girl running towards the camera showing that she is running away from something, and towards safety. As the Woman runs closer to the camera the shot pans out across the field showing some men working in a field near by. As the women runs towards the men she starts waving and pointing to the direction she has just come from, The men drop their tools and run towards her. All this indicates that something very serious has happened to the Girl. The Men workings in the field have no machinery witch is also an indication of the period we are in. There are three main atmospheres established in the opening sequence of this film these (in order of happening) are; anxiety, fear, and peacefulness. The anxiety is felt at the beginning when you hear the music getting louder and louder and the white on black background, and when you see George for the first time. ...read more.

Conclusion

George even though his appearance and his voice is the definite leader out of the two, we are shown this when he tells Lennie what to do and when he cups his hand over Lennie's mouth to keep him quiet. Another sign that George is the leader is that when they are in Aunt Clara's house Lennie repeats every word they say. In resent years we have seen the decline of book reading because there has been a vast increase in the standard of T.V quality. The person being entertained does not have to think any more, to picture the scene in his head and so doesn't have to concentrate so hard. This is why many people just watch T.V these days instead of reading a book. They find it more relaxing, they are almost sleeping there mind and body are asleep this is also why you get addicted to the T.V because your body finds another way to replenish it energy without sleeping. T.V lowers your imagination though, and your concentration span because your brain doesn't think while watching T.V but while it is reading a book it is constantly thinking and imagining possibilities of what the scene will look like and the characters. I honestly prefer after a had days work to sit in front of the television and just relax a bit. But if I am just bored and I want some entertainment I will open my book and read for couple of hours. My preferred sequence is that of the books because it gives you an exact idea of the scenery and the people while also giving you room to imagine for yourself what they look like. I also enjoyed a lot the 1995 version because it brings a lot of tension and anxiety into the film witch is the opposite to what you feel in the book. This tension and anxiety raises your adrenaline and gives you a enjoyable and on the edge of you seat experience. ...read more.

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