Mice and Men / Tales Out of School

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Mice and Men / Tales Out of School

Of Mice and Men was probably my students’ favorite book in American Literature, partly because the language and story were clear, unlike the wordy prose of my favorite Transcendentalists. Also, the plot was so full of conflicts and dilemmas to be discussed and written about.

At one point, our department considered a proposal to move it to a younger grade. Those of us who taught American Lit. fought hard to keep it for the juniors, citing adult issues and harsh language. Ranch hands can’t be expected to keep to school-appropriate language, after all. My students understood perfectly that when they read the material aloud, taking parts as if it was a play, it was allowed because they were reading as a character.

The main reason we fought to keep it was that our students liked reading it, and we all, students and teachers, deserved this book after slogging through the likes of Moby Dick (not that there weren’t some exciting moments in that. Once the office called for a student and I refused to send him, “He’s Ahab, and we need him”).

I did have a little trouble living through the sad, realistic ending with five classes a day. I kept wanting all to be well. My students were very understanding of my teary eyes and would sometimes write me happy endings. In my favorite, the ranch hands all passed the hat to send George, Lennie, and Candy off to buy their little ranch with the rabbits, and all the hands would be welcome as guests. In another revised ending, Curley’s nameless wife ran off to Hollywood and stardom, finally getting a name, up in lights.

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A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good

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