Thursday, January 22, 2009

The title of Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men is taken from a line of the poem "To a Mouse" by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who lived in the 1700's. Here's the last part of the poem, where Steinbeck found his inspiration:

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

Lines 39-48

Because this poem is written using a mixture of English and Scots, the languages spoken in Scotland during the 18th century. Steinbeck was originally going to title this novel Something That Happened. After we watch the movie version of this book, we're going to discuss why Steinbeck changed his mind and found inspiration for his title in this poem.

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