Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

Image result for tortilla flatThis story is set in a place called Tortilla Flat in Monterey, California. It’s about five men that are paisanos (compatriots). They are Danny, Pilon, Pablo, Jesus Maria, and Pirate. These men are attracted to money and content with being friends with each other, they all walk their own bitter life path.

Danny was an heir who inherited two huge houses from his grandpa and invited his friend Pilon to stay. Through his innocence, Pilon’s rent money is postponed but he accidentally burns the house down. To cover compensation, the other men introduced earlier joined the group, but still, nobody offered rent money to Danny. And amazingly, Danny never mentioned the money to his astute tenants.

In real life, we all know that if you don’t pay the money, the next day you will be finding yourself without a house. Such a character like Danny really doesn’t exist at all in our brutal society. This book to me mainly molded the variety of personalities beneath the harsh satin of this world, but we all have similarities with each other: we are gullible to our friends and we all have greediness hidden within us for the cravings of money and wealth.

-April L

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Image result for the grapes of wrathThis is a story about Tom Joad and his family immigrating to California. Their homeland in Oklahoma is being cultivated by tractors from the bank and the police officers beat them to hell more often than breathing.

In this miserable and harsh trip, their grandparents died, and Tom’s sister’s husband ran away. His brother wasn’t able to move with them so he stopped at a desert in the middle of the trip. The government camp provided hot water and the protection away from the deputies. But other times, people are treated akin to pigs, but without the slosh their owner pour in the mange every day. The people craved for slosh but found none.

To me it’s really inscrutable why people separate from their family, it’s like the fear will devour you into the black hole in the galaxy and the entire world fades away from your fingertips. And the bank in this novel sounds brutal to me, just because they want to expand some business land, the people and tenants living there are forced to leave their beating hearts on the land and left with their inane corpse. Ma is the person that resonated with my emotions and logic because she was like the leaves of the family tree. Sometimes, when autumn comes she turns yellow and shrivels a little, but her greenness brushes the entire forest with freshness and was the food and shelter to a lot of people when spring emerges. Without the oxygen, we won’t survive. The animals and the oxygen is the buttress of the inveterate root to keep stretching. And that’s Ma.

-April L.

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

My English teacher assigned Of Mice and Men book to my whole grade to read. When I first opened the book i felt like this would be a good book and it was.

After reading a little into the first chapter I was very excited about what would happen next. Will George and Lennie’s dream ever come true and will Lennie ever get to tend the rabbits?. These are questions I asked myself after reading about migrant workers George Milton and Lennie Small.

Then I progressed to the middle of the story where things started to heat up. I was beginning to like the story even more and developed an unending love that wouldn’t stop until the book ended.

The ending of the book was really shocking to a lot of people in different ways. Some people might have had there jaw still hanging from suspense. Others maybe very confused about what happened.

My evaluation of the book is a completely outstanding 10/10. John Steinbeck really knew how to make you feel about the lives of these migrant workers. Steinbeck used many literary tools in the story such as foreshadowing, symbolism, and of course alliteration. These where used in the story because, without such vocabulary we might not have accurately pictured the lives of the migrant workers in real life.

In general the whole idea of the book was the American Dream. Think about it: George and Lennie’s dream was to be there own boss. There was also many other migrant workers who wanted this dream too. I strongly recommend this book to anyone in general.

-Max U.

John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

In a world where most people are loners comes a tale of two marvelous friends and the obstacles that cross their paths. It’s 1930’s California in the Salinas Valley. Most men who come through are looking for one thing: work. All of them travel from farm to farm, working alone.
This is not true for George Milton and Lennie Small. After being kicked out of Weed because of something Lennie did, they travel together on to the next farm with hopes and dreams of money to buy land: a few acre land with a small house and freedom from the bosses and a little patch for Lennie’s rabbits (he’s really obsessed with rabbits). There on the next farm they met people with hopes and dreams, and learn the basis for reality: dreams will get crushed.
This story is far by one of my favorites. Although (spoiler) the ending is quite sad, there are times when I laughed hard. By the way, the mice part is a metaphor: there is only one mouse, and it’s dead. The title comes from the poem “To a Mouse, On Turning up her Nest with a Plough”: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men” go astray, saying that we have hopes and dreams, but something shatters them (which describes the book very well).
Steinbeck worked on a farm once, so he knows, and describes very well, the life on a farm in 1930 or so. At times, it’s also a little hard to read because of the Californian accent. However, some good advice is to say it out loud. For example, “purty” is actually “pretty”. Even so, I encourage you to read this book! After I read it, I gave it a two thumbs up. Interestingly, the characters talk about a “cat house” a lot. It’s meaning is actually something different in modern times.
-Megan V., 9th grade

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Who’s heard of Of Mice and Men? I don’t mean the band; I’m talking about the famous John Steinbeck book set in the life of the farmers who worked in California in the 1930s.

If you do of who I’m talking about, and also like Of Mice and Men, then you’re in luck. John Steinbeck wrote multiple books about people living in California including one of my personal favorites, Cannery Row.
This book is about the life of the people who lived along the streets of Cannery Row in Monterrey: drunks, a famous doctor, the Chinese man who owns a successful grocery store, even the gopher looking for a mate.
Most of the book talks about how each person goes about their life, but the main story is about a humorous group of men who travel from job to job, their plans to throw the famous doctor a party, and what goes wrong.
Along with a simple, no evil guys, slice of life story, there is comedy and a real life example of how people lived in the 1940s after the war. There are also themes of loners, but there is the lesson that someone is always there to support you.
It’s a little hard to read, but I found this book amazing and encourage you to read it.
-Megan V., 9th grade
Cannery Row is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library

Authors We Love: John Steinbeck

grapes_of_wrathJohn Steinbeck has become one of my all-time favorite authors, after I was first exposed to his novels in middle school. He is one of the most popular American novelists, whose works have had a lasting effect on American people, even today.

I have recently read The Grapes of Wrath, which is one of Steinbeck’s most renowned works, earning the illustrious Pulitzer Prize. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers who are driven from their home in Oklahoma  by drought, economic hardship, agricultural changes and bank foreclosures. Trapped in the Dust Bowl with little chance in escaping their unfortunate situation, the Joads set out for California with the hope of new opportunities. The Grapes of Wrath portrays the economic hardships of people during the Great Depression, as well as the American dream of freedom, dignity, and a better future.

In addition to The Grapes of Wrath, I have read The Pearl, Of Mice and Men (one of my all time favorites), Cannery Row, and the East of Eden. Steinbeck’s writing style certainly makes his works intriguing and his use of figurative language, especially imagery, helps the reader to imagine the vivid scenes and time period of his stories. Through characterization, readers are able to relate to his unique characters and feel their burdens and everyday hardships. I especially love Steinbeck’s novels because they urge me to read in between the lines and think more deeply about the true meaning of his stories.

Although his writing may seem simpler and easier to understand than most classics, I have found that each of his novels convey a different theme and underlying motives are hidden throughout his plots. Each time I reread a novel, for instance, I am able to come across new ideas I had never noticed before, making my reading experience more interesting and thrilling. John Steinbeck is certainly an influential author, who is able to transport you to new time periods and places through the power of his words. I definitely recommend his novels to students in middle school searching for a good classic, and urge those above the ages of thirteen to continue to read and appreciate the works of the wonderful John Steinbeck!

-Kaylie W., 10th grade

Book Review: Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

mice“The best laid schemes of mice and men go often awry…” (from “To a Field Mouse” by Robert Burns)

Of Mice and Men, whose title comes from the poem mentioned above, is a novella set during the Great Depression that describes the difficult life of workers on a ranch in California. George Milton, a small, intelligent man, and Lennie, a large man who is also mentally challenged, have formed a tight friendship and have come to depend on one another. The two men dream of one day owning their own land, with their own farm and livestock. When the pair acquires a job on a new ranch, everything seems to be going exactly as planned, until a flirtatious woman suddenly throws their lives into chaos.

In my opinion, the characters in the book are what make the plot so interesting and intriguing. George and Lennie are exact opposites; George is quick-witted, while Lennie isn’t able to comprehend as swiftly. I was specifically drawn to Lennie, due to his childlike innocence and need to please everyone around him. Lennie’s naiveté is best illustrated through his love to pet soft things, such as mice and rabbits. While Lennie does cause a lot of trouble for his partner, George can’t stand to leave him, since Lennie is such a nice person who doesn’t intend to hurt anyone. For this reason, I empathized with both of the men and wanted them to achieve their goal.

John Steinbeck is one of the most renowned American authors of the 20th century, best known for his realistic fiction works. Although the writing in Of Mice and Men is not very complex, Steinbeck is able to thoroughly describe the plot. In addition to painting a vivid image in your mind, he portrays numerous themes throughout the book such as friendship and the power of dreams and hopes. Another theme that Steinbeck depicts is the strengths and weaknesses of mankind.

Of Mice and Men is certainly one of those classics that everyone must read at least once in their lifetime. I consider it one of my favorites because of all the different plot lines, and how it displays the nature of humanity. Even though this novella is on my Top 10 Classics List, I would only recommend it to anyone eighth grade and above, due to its strong language and mature subject. However, once you have read it, I can guarantee that it will lead you to question your behavior toward people who are different, your own morals, and how the ethics of society can really make a change, good and bad, in a person’s life.

-Kaylie W., 9th grade