Monday, August 13, 2012

Steinbeck Death Match 2: "Of Mice & Men" vs "Tortilla Flat"

Are you ready for another Literary Death Match? We're going to do this slightly different this time, because I don't want to end up with negative 22 points again lol. I'm rating on a scale of 1-5, 1 being "ZOMG WHY WOULD YOU KILL DOBBY??" and 5 being "YOU'RE A WIZARD HARRY". :)

Today's Death Match features more Steinbeck...this has turned into the Steinbeck Summer, but I swear I'm almost done with him. I still want to read Sweet Thursday, but my library only has a large-print version. I may just give in and order it on Amazon. And I know you may be wondering why I haven't tackled East of Eden or Grapes of Wrath...well, I just don't have the interest in them that I have had in the others. Maybe I'll try next summer? Lol. Anyway, Death Match! In the first corner we have Of Mice and Men: "a thriller, a gripping tale that you will not set down until it is finished." And in the other, Tortilla Flat: "temptations of greed and lust, stand firm in their loyalty to one another." Let's see how we do and as before, consider anything in this Death Match a spoiler if you haven't read the books yet! Skip to the end to see if you should read them or not.

(image courtesy of LiteraryDeathMatch)

Of Mice and Men-
1. Lennie-oh, I love Lennie. He's so sweet and simple (not calling him dumb, but his wants and needs are simple). 5 points
2. George-looking after Lennie all this time, even when it causes him problems. 4
3. "...because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why."..."an' live off the fatta the lan' an' have rabbits." 4
4. Slim 3
5. Lennie gets a puppy and tries to sneak it into the room. 4
6. Lennie & George's dreams of a house of their own and a garden and rabbits for Lennie. 5

Tortilla Flat-
1. Same setting as Cannery Row! 5
2. "Thou knowest not what bitches women are." 4
3. The Pirate and his dogs 3
4. All the drinking and partying 3
5. "The wind rose as they walked, and drove the fog across the pale moon like a thin wash of gray water color. The moving fog gave shifting form to the forest, so that every tree crept stealthily along and the bushes moved soundlessly, like great dark cats. The treetops in the wind talked huskily, told fortunes and foretold deaths." 3
6. The kindness and well-meaningness of Danny's friends, no matter how much trouble it causes in the end. 3

The Ick Factor:
Of Mice and Men-
1. Skittering Lizards 2 points
2. Curley's glove full of Vaseline-ew ew ew 1
3. Curley's wife and her treatment towards Crooks, Candy, and Lennie 2

Tortilla Flat-
1. Racism against the "paisanos" and the blatant stereotypes throughout the book re: Hispanics, Portuguese, etc. 1
2. Big Joe's beating after he steals his friends' money. 2

All the Tears:
Of Mice and Men-
1. Curley beating on Lennie 2
2. Lennie's joy at having a puppy 5
3. Candy's old dog being killed 2
4. Lennie accidentally killing the puppy 1
5. Lennie accidentally killing Curley's wife-"And the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face. She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young." 1
6. The ending :(( 1

Tortilla Flat-
1. Danny's descent into madness and his struggle to find the freedom that he enjoyed again. 2
2. Danny's friends throwing him a huge party and succeeding in cheering Danny up for a bit. 3
3. Danny dying in the end. 2

Death Count:
Of Mice and Men-
1. Candy's Dog 2
2. The puppy 1
3. Curley's Wife 2
4. Lennie 1

Tortilla Flat-
1. Danny 2

Overall Likeability:
Of Mice and Men-I've read this before and knew I had enjoyed it. The story of innocence, brotherhood, and dreams is inspiring. Lennie is one of (only?) the most parodied Steinbeck characters I've seen. But the desperation and sadness in the end kind of ruins it. 3 points

Tortilla Flat-this had so many similarities to Cannery Row, I had to go look up the publication date in relation. (Tortilla Flat was written 10 years before Cannery Row) I was excited to see the similar style of writing and characters in this, but I don't think it was quite as good. 4 points

Of Mice and Men-51 points
Tortilla Flat-37 points

Well, there you have it! The second Literary Death Match was a success, don't you think? Despite the huge point difference, I would still highly recommend both of them, especially if you are a Steinbeck fan.


  1. I like this point system, and I'm glad to see that there is a redeeming hope for those who loathed Grapes of Wrath :)

    1. Oh yeah, I would try these for sure! And I have Sweet Thursday in the mail woot! :)