Pentacle Theatre’s inaugural book club
Of Mice and Men
Wednesday, Oct. 19
Tickets available by calling Pentacle Theatre’s Ticket Office: 503-485-4300. Limited to 20 patrons!
Copies of Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, provided by The Book Bin.
5:30 p.m. Dinner at Taproot Lounge & Café, 356 State St., Salem, Oregon. (Please submit your order to Pentacle Theatre’s office by Oct. 18; taproot-order-form).
5:30 p.m. Discussion led by author and Willamette University Professor Emeritus Michael Strelow. See his bio and thought-provoking questions for the book club members, below.
7:30 p.m. Attend performance of Of Mice and Men at Pentacle Theatre.
10:30 p.m. Talk-back with cast and crew. Bring your questions!
Discussion over dinner
Lead by Michael Strelow, author and Professor Emeritus of English, Willamette University.
ABOUT MICHAEL STRELOW
Strelow’s first novel, The Greening of Ben Brown, was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award of Oregon Literary Arts in 2005. His second novel, Henry: A Novel of Beer and Love in the West, was published in 2014. He has published poetry, short stories and non-fiction essays in many literary and a few commercial magazines, including Sou’Wester, The Northwest Review, The Bellingham Review, Kansas Quarterly, CutBank, Orchid Magazine, Oregon Quarterly, Midwest Poetry Review, and others. His academic books are Kesey and An Anthology of Northwest Lit: 1900-1950. Within the next year or so, his new novel will be out, The Moby-Dick Blues.
Some questions about Of Mice and Men.
- Lennie and George have had a life beyond the text of Steinbeck’s novel; they’ve become not only tropes but have turned into metaphors in common speech too. Why have they come off the pages and into American culture?
- Steinbeck celebrates work in many of his books (The Grapes of Wrath, many short stories, and the non-fiction Sea of Cortez, among others). What is it in the nature of work, and how it operates in people’s lives, that Steinbeck would choose it as a main theme in his work?
- Steinbeck went from politically liberal to politically conservative in his life (he’s not alone there). Can you read the politics of Of Mice and Men? Or is this novel apolitical, in your opinion?
- There is a mystical element present throughout Of Mice and Men. It depends on how the director stages the ending; it can be done with mystical suggestions or full-blown surrealism (I’ve seen both on stage). A dream world, other layers of reality, human illusions about life, multiple layers of realities. How much of this did you pick up reading the story? How did it affect the central series of real-life conflicts?