One of the reasons that good reading can be hard, is that author's may use one of many literary devices. We are going to focus on several throughout the year, beginning with the hardest. We begin with those because you do not have to get them right now. They take time, growth, and experience. Steinbeck is a master of a few of these, namely: symbol/archetype, allegory, and allusion. He isn't trying to be difficult; he is trying to be expressive. We are going to spend a few weeks working our way into these techniques so that reading his book is more meaningful.
The first and the hardest of these techniques is allusion: a reference to something else, to enrich the text. One of the primary texts that Steinbeck is referring to, also one of the most important English texts written, alluded to, and politic changing, is John Milton's Paradise Lost. It is also one of the most difficult pieces. We are going to listen to music and read an abridged version. It won't be simple, but whatever you take from it will enrich reading in general, and Steinbeck and Shelly's Frankenstein specifically.