Of Mice and Men (Longman Literature Steinbeck)

ISBN: 0582461464
ISBN 13: 9780582461468
By: John Steinbeck Jim Taylor

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About this book

George and Lennie are migrant American workers - the one alert and protective, the other strong, stupid and potentially dangerous. This is the powerful story of their relationship and their dreams of finding a more stable and less lonely way of life.

Reader's Thoughts

Claire S

A fascinating thing about this which I hadn't been aware of from my previous exposure to it is that is was one of Steinbecks's format/genre experiments. In this work, Steinbeck created a new genre: the play/novelette. '"The work I am doing now," he wrote to his agents in April 1936, "is neither a novel nor a play but it is a kind of playable novel. Written in novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands. It wouldn't be like other plays since it does not follow the formal acts but uses the chapters for curtains. Descriptions can be used for stage directions... Plays are hard to read so this will make both a novel and play as it stands."Anticipating postmodernists, Steinbeck was to declare wtih greater and greater frequency in the late 1930s and '40s that the novel was dead, whereas theater was "waking up," was fresh and challenging.'And in fact, he sent it to his publishers in late summer of 1936; it was published on February 25, 1937 (for $2 per copy); was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in March; was performed as written by Theater Union of San Francisco with an opening on May 21, 1937; then performed as a modified version at Music Box Theater in New York opening November 23, 1937; and released as a film in 1939. It was very controversial, banned in Australia in 1940; one of the most frequently banned books by school board over the years.'"The first few pages so nauseated me," wrote the reviewer for 'The Catholic World,' "That I couldn't bear to keep it in my room over night."' "Morbid and degenerate" content was why another showing of it was condemned.And the reason for all the hoo-ha? The truth of it. The hopelessness and loneliness of the group of people Steinbeck gives life to - the landless white male agricultural workers of the 1930's. Also, he used actual dialect which was still new back then. Included in the dialect is racist language in use back then, as his characters would not have been honest without it. Probably some bannings were due simply to the use of the 'n' word, although most programs that use it now include context for that which is a response to it that contains the intended respect while also containing discussion that can be so useful to unlearning racism. Another interesting content item about race is a momentary scene in which a white woman brings to the attention of a black man her ability to get him lynched. It's brutal, and then it's over and the action continues and it fades into unimportance - all of which serves as a reminder of our shared history festering with racism; and how far we as a country have come. (i'm adding that scene to quotes for this book).It's a very quick read for all that, and very enjoyable actually just for the intensity of description. This felt to me like one of those quick-action films, only the super-short scenes are ones you create in your own mind, as written by Steinbeck. Somehow he packs in vivid visual content and well-drawn characters in an almost poetically pithy writing style. Highly recommend.

Nathan

"A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. It don't make no difference who the guy is, long as he's with ya'. I tell ya', a guy gets too lonely, and he gets sick." I first read Of Mice and Men at an age when I was learning to read. Not phonetically, but critically. This novel taught me what good literature could be, and it is one of a handful of novels that I measure all other novels by. As a result, I have turned into someone who can read five to ten nonfiction books in a month but read only one or two fiction books in any given year. This is what good literature should be. The essence of the story - loneliness and man's desperate need for friendship - is a story that never ages, never tires, and only seems trite to those too self-centered to ever realize how lonely they really are. Yes, it is sad and almost dooming in places. But it is also touching, true and timeless. The quote at the start of this review is as potent now as it was then; and its sentiment is timeless enough that it even showed up in 2006 on TV's Lost, word-for-word, as part of banter between two essential characters. "Don't you read?" Ben asked Sawyer. Even on an Island in the middle of nowhere, with others out to kidnap you and magic monsters made of trees and nightmares trying to kill you, reading Of Mice and Men is still important in a functional society.NC

Embraced_evils

** spoiler alert ** Usually when my father and I actually have conversations, it tends to revolve around some sort of argument. At times, even if I agree with him, I’d pick up the opposite side of the given argument just for arguments sake. When we agree we fall silent, and our relationship is based for the most part on silence the chance to argue is usually too good to pass up. When I was younger I’d end up in tears, frustrated that he couldn’t look beyond his own view points…in retrospect I suppose I could have said the same for myself. I didn’t let up enough to ever consider his side. We both just sort of took this cocky and aggressive tone, he was just better at playing it out…he still is, I suppose it has to do with the difference in age. No matter how thoughtful an argument might have been, or a question, or a thought, anything I posed to question him that he in turn could give no answer to, he’d settle simply by saying I didn’t have the experience or age to understand. I haven’t yet come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be able to catch up, and that somehow I’ll never stop being a child in his eyes…hell I can’t stop being a child in my own eyes. It’s different with him though, someday I’d like to be right by his standards.Any way, while I was reading Of Mice and Men I couldn’t stop thinking of an argument my father and I had when I was very young. We were talking about the bible and my decision whether or not to read it. He didn’t try to lead me in any direction but he wanted me to understand one thing. Reading the bible he said was like a “double edged sword”. His theory (not his exclusively, obviously) was that if one read the bible and understood it then the standards for getting into heaven were harder. I think the equation went something like this:1. ignorance = innocence2. innocence always gets into heaven, because you can forgive innocence. I asked if that meant people who’ve never read the bible got into heaven. My father answered that they did, because it wasn’t their fault they had never been ‘shown’ the way. But that only meant there was more pressure for the people who had ‘seen’ the way because then they made a conscience choice to walk down that path, or take another way. The weight of this whole idea was ignored for a long time on my part; I remember scoffing at my father. It seemed ridiculous, the possibility of bad people getting into heaven just because they never knew better. This was back when I was a far more judgmental person. Though I can’t really deny that in my heart, the idea of God being so forgiving was a relief. I liked the view my father held, but I didn’t want to agree with it.Reading Of Mice and Men sort of brought that argument back to my mind. My father’s theory has evolved into a belief all on its own changed completely but with the same genuine heart. People aren’t bad; people are products of events, of situations. I wouldn’t say people are a 100% of their past, because in the living instant an individual has the ability to choose and has true undeniable free will over memories and expectations of the future. But if a person lives a very hard life, the possibilities of that individual repeating past mistakes is higher. Regardless…that was sort of off the subject.I think Lennie is the incarnation of everything wonderful and painful that makes up innocence. And not the sweet sort of innocence that people seem to wish to portray as a good quality. It’s the sort of innocence that’s rooted in ignorance. Lennie’s innocence is rooted in a mental disorder however, but it doesn’t really change the perspective for me. Mentally he’s a child, and children are innocent. When Lennie died I thought about that a lot. Though this book didn’t in any way deal with the question of religion or god, or anything close to it, I couldn’t help but know that Lennie would go to heaven. Really it was an odd thing to think about after reading such a powerful and emotional piece. My favorite character however would have to be Curley’s Wife. All the characters in this story had such an important roll, meaningful and diving deep into their psyche. All but Curley’s Wife, whose soul purpose in this story was to die, and prove that lust in the end undoes itself. Curley’s wife, who in my opinion represented nothing but lustfulness in a pool of odd but incredibly deep characters, is the most honest reflection of reality found in this book. “Curley’s wife lay with a half-covering of yellow hay. 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.” (93)It’s those little pearls of awareness thrown in her direction that made me love her. “the ache for attention”, who doesn’t know that feeling? And the idea that the only way to get rid of that ache, or the discontent and the meanness (sometimes done purposely sometimes done in ignorance) can only be beat with death. And having this representation of lust (passion for life) being killed by the representation of innocence (who generally is not at all that different from lust, or passion, the difference being only in the ‘plannings’) is painful. Where a passion for life called for planning and deliberation, for learning how to use the body and the mind…for a pure and simple ache to be known and seen was ended so quickly by innocence who just took what it wanted. And on a completely different note that’s borderline ranting…I really enjoyed the story, and I am glad I decided to read the book again since I didn’t have much of a recollection from high school, but Jesus Christ what is up with the huge bunny at the end? I understand that it was a manifestation of Lennies mind, but GOD…a giant bunny? It seemed so cartoonish here at the climax of this emotional story.

Jeniffer Almonte

"Of Mice and Men" is so widely read since it's required at most schools. But I hope that doesn't mean we take it for granted. On this re-reading one of the elements I gained was the character of Crooks, the clever black stable hand languishing with loneliness. I also saw Curley's wife in a different light-- one that understood how her loneliness guided her relationship with the men. And there's Candy, lonely for his smelly old dog, wanting to be part of George and Lennie's piece of paradise, wanting to go to the circus or a baseball game if he ever did feel like it.At that time that I read this when I was 11, I guess none of them made much of an impression. I saw only Lennie and the innocence of his dreams. And I thought that was the point. On this second reading, I realized that almost everyone had innocent dreams and maybe THAT was the point. Because George too, has innocent dreams, even though he should know better (having manufactured those dreams for Lennie's sake). Lennie is the way that he is because of his mental disability. But really, he's the way that he is because he is human. The desire for companionship, the innocent optimism, the potential for destruction, those things are human. They are just all bigger in him than usual. This is such a powerful little book, with dialogue that truly sings. A masterpiece. And an absolute treat to re-read!

Andy

It's the way Steinbeck describes things that gets me."Crooks, the negro stable buck, had his bunk in the harness room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn. On one side of the little room there was a square four-paned window, and on the other, a narrow plank door leading into the barn. Crooks' bunk was a long box filled with straw, on which his blankets were flung. On the wall by the window there were pegs on which hung broken harness in process of being mended; strips of new leather; and under the window itself a little bench for leather-working tools, curved knives and needles and balls of linen thread, and a small hand riveter. On pegs were also pieces of harness, a split collar with the horsehair stuffing sticking out, a broken hame, and a trace chain with its leather covering split. Crooks had his apple box over his bunk, and in it a range of medicine bottles, both for himself and for the horses. There were cans of saddle soap and a drippy can of tar with its paint brush sticking over the edge. And scattered about the floor were a number of personal possessions; for, being alone, Crooks could leave his things about, ad being a stable buck and a cripple, he was more permanent than the other men, and he had accumulated more possessions than he could carry on his back."None of this is relevant to the story, and yet a middle chapter opens up with this vivid scene. Steinbeck succeeds because the characters he paints in your head are exact. The first time I saw the movie that was made out of this story, it was just as I had envisioned it. Though the story great itself, the reason I will come back to this book is for the little things, the very things that have made me love Steinbeck so much. I first read Of Mice And Men my sophomore year of high school, when it was a required reading in Mrs. Beeler's class. I recall disliking almost all required school readings up to this point (though admittedly I had skipped out on the summer reading project of "The Grapes Of Wrath"). When this book was assigned, I knew it was different. I blew through it, reading it in a day or two, even though I wasn't supposed to. For once there was a school book that I enjoyed. And all the credit in the world to my teacher, who chose other good books the rest of the year. So it's been 6-7 years since I've read this, and now, reading it for the second time, it's just as memorable as I remember. The story sticks with you, the imagery sticks. The characters are among Steinbeck's best, painted in such a crystal clear vision of the time.It's a near perfect short story, and one that I will surely revisit throughout my life.

Kristen

I have hated Steinbeck since the tender age of 15 when I was forced to choke down Grapes of Wrath. I was then forced to sit through the movie version of Grapes of Wrath, and was re-assigned to book to read by a crazy teacher I had at the age of 17. I liked it no better on the second go round, however at least by then I was able to pick out the "Christ Figure" that my teachers had always babbled about.Because of this terrible set of experiences I had sworn off of Steinbeck for the rest of my life. If you see a copy of Grapes of Wrath on fire, you know that I'm probably near by. So when I started reading the list "1001 books to read before you die" I was glad that I could already check off Grapes of Wrath and not touch it again - but to my dismay, there were other books by Steinbeck on the list. I admit I panicked... there was no WAY I was going to torture myself like that again. Every word of that last attempt had been a struggle.Then I noticed that one of the books was "Of Mice and Men." I had seen the play several times and the movie, and to be honest - they weren't that bad. So during a carride to ATL under questionable circumstances, I read this 107 page book from beginning to end. Now I'm sure there was a Christ figure in there somewhere, and I know that there was a lot of "deep meaning" and "symbolism enough to choke a badger" but I happily ignored all of it. I am excited to say that I read through the book - found it didn't change me, my thought process, or my lifestyle, and was able to move on. Short Summary - George and his retarded pal Lenny are day workers who travel from farm to farm trying to earn a living. Lenny is huge, with the mind of a child, and George is small and quick witted. George keeps Lenny entertained with stories about how one day they will of their own land and work it themselves. George has told the story enough that even he's starting to believe it. Things go bad at their current job when a trampy woman hits on Lenny. That's about it.Lots of themes, racism, tragedy, the way men treat one another, the lifestyle of the migrant worker in the 30's, the treatment of the mentally handicapped, etc. In the end, Steinbeck does a better job of not bashing the reader over the skull with his themes, and he managed to contain his desire to describe every grain of sand. I figure most people can make it through 107 pages of Steinbeck.

Bonnie

Ok, first of all, you're probably wondering how I made it through 12 years of good ol' American public school and 4+ years of college without reading this book. Let me explain...no there is too much, let me sum up. I signed up for AP English my senior year of high school. After a few classes I realized that my current case of senioritis would really not allow for such extensive reading and reporting as the AP curriculum required. So, I did the responsible thing, and promptly transferred out of AP and into regular English (also known as remedial English). Once there I sat back, relaxed and studied the good-looking soccer player 2 rows ahead and passed notes to my friend Jenny. We read a grand total of one (that's right, ONE...as in 1, uno, a single) book the entire year; To Kill a Mockingbird. It took a good semester to read the thing and then another one to watch the movie, of course. So, there you have it. Now I have to make up for lost time in order to feign intelligence within my various social circles. A fabulously simple tale about friendship and brotherhood but also misunderstanding, jealousy and hatred. A classic, of course.

Paul

The title of this novel is only 50% accurate, a very poor effort. Yes, it’s about men, but there’s little or nothing about mice in these pages. Mice enthusiasts will come away disappointed. This got me thinking about other novel titles. You would have to say that such books as The Slap, The Help, The Great Gatsby, Gangsta Granny, Mrs Dalloway and Hamlet have very good titles because they are all about a slap, some help, a Gatsby who was really great, a no good granny, a woman who was married to a guy called Dalloway and a Hamlet. I have no problem with those titles. But you may be poring over the pages of To Kill a Mockingbird for a long fruitless evening to find any mockingbirds coming to any harm at all. Indeed, to coin a phrase, no mockingbirds were harmed during the making of that book. So I rate that title only 5% accurate. And some titles seem to have a word missing, such as Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four. Four what? It doesn’t say. Perhaps he completed the book and left the title to the very last minute and died as he was writing it down. Same thing with The Crimson Petal and the White. White what? Wallpaper? Hat? Cat? Mouse? Mockingbird? Could be The Crimson Petal and the White Gangsta Granny for all we know. A poor title. And what about The Dharma Bums? I think a Cigarette or You Out is clearly missing from that title. Another grossly misleading title is Women in Love . I can’t be the only reader who was expecting some strong girl on girl action from DH Lawrence but I would have been better off fast-forwarding to the middle part of Mulholland Drive. Now that’s what I call Women in Love. DH, take note. Another badly chosen title is Hitler’s Niece - yes, it is 100% accurate, but at first glance it can look like Hitler’s Nice, and surely that is going to put off a lot of potential readers (except for the readers you really don’t want). And what about Call it Sleep? – call what sleep? The Catcher in the Rye, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Flaubert’s Parrot, The Camomile Lawn – sometimes obscure titles can be solved if you understand that the author is referring to Death, so, the Catcher is Death, the Postman is Death, the lawn is Death and the Parrot is Death. Of course, I may have got that wrong. It’s something I read somewhere and it just stuck in my mind. Some other titles I would give low ratings to :The Turn of the Screw completely baffled me – I know that “screw” is what inmates call prison officers, so I was expecting a story about a concert put on by the staff of a large correctional institution. It was nothing like that. The Little Prince according to my system does rate 100% but I still think The Little Faux-naif Idiot would have been better.The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – actually, I rate this as 90% accurate – there are two guys who are named Kavalier and Clay, and they do have adventures, but they aren’t amazing. A Clockwork Orange – this must be a metaphor for “I have given up thinking of a title for my novel”No Name – like A Clockwork Orange this must be where the author couldn’t think of any title so in this case he left it without one, like the Byrds’ album Untitled, or () by Sigur Ros, or several paintings by De Kooning and those other abstract expressionist types; but to call a novel No Name is self-defeating, because No Name then becomes its name – epic fail, Mr Collins.The Violent Bear it Away - this is another example of a word missing - possibly "took" or "dragged", I expect that's the sort of thing a violent bear would do I’m surprised the publisher did not catch this error.

midnightfaerie

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck was not an enjoyable read. I read this again because it was short and I couldn’t remember all of it from when I read it in high school. It was just as terrible as I remember. It’s about a man and his retarded brother who travel around looking for work. They constantly get in trouble and have to leave because the retarded man is socially inept. The retarded man, Lennie is the most pathetically sad creature someone could invent. And all the dying that took place, especially the dog and the puppy, made me sad. It was almost a relief when the ending happened. I won’t tell you because I don’t want to spoil it in case you decide to read it. At least it was quick. Maybe people like that are better off dead. That might sound horrible, but how often was Lennie happy? He was mostly in a constant state of anguish and anxiety. Never knowing if he did something wrong or when he would next. Don’t judge me until you read the book, then we’ll talk. The point of the book I guess was the relationship between the two men, and how men need each other. Is this Classic material? I don’t think so. Was it a good book? I didn’t enjoy reading it. I read only to get to the end. ClassicsDefined.com

Lou

Oustanding short heart warming storySome facts about the book, author and the movies..Of Mice and Men was adapted for the screen three times, the first in 1939, two years after the publication of the novel. This adaptation of Of Mice and Men stars Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie, Burgess Meredith as George, and was directed by Lewis Milestone.It was nominated for four Oscars.[16]In 1981 it was made into a TV movie, starring Randy Quaid as Lennie, and Robert Blake as George, and was directed by Reza Badiyi.Another theatrical film version was made in 1992, directed by Gary Sinise, who was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Sinise also played George in the film, and the role of Lennie was played by John Malkovich. For this adaptation, both men reprised their roles from the 1980 Steppenwolf Theatre Company production.John Steinbeck loved the movie and said that Henry Fonda as Tom Joad made him "believe my own words".Prior to filming, producer Darryl F. Zanuck sent undercover investigators out to the migrant camps to see if John Steinbeck had been exaggerating about the squalor and unfair treatment meted out there. He was horrified to discover that, if anything, Steinbeck had actually downplayed what went on in the camps.The novel's original ending was far too controversial to be even considered for a film in 1940. It involved Rose-of-Sharon Rivers (Dorris Bowdon) giving birth to a stillborn baby and then offering her milk-filled breasts to a starving man, dying in a barn.Darryl F. Zanuck paid $100,000 for the rights to John Steinbeck's novel - a staggering amount of money at the time. Steinbeck only allowed the rights to be sold under the proviso that the filmmakers should show the material due reverence and treat the project responsibly.Some images.. The Author Steinbeck

♥ Innocent Lamb ~ Forever Reading ♥ - AKA Smarties

I'm one of those people who reads classics even when its not necessary reading at school... I actually really loved this book. It's sad, but this is me after reading it:

Douglas

** spoiler alert ** You won't get any complaint from me that this book is skillfully written, in it's vivid descriptions of settings, detailed descriptions of characters, and realistic dialogue. However, I believe this book has a bad message, and the bad message is about how it's ok to put the weak, infirm and dependent to death. It started with the discussion of Candy's aged dog. The book gave the impression that the dog's age made him no good to even himself, the "quality of life" argument that has been advanced to support euthanizing the elderly, weak and infirm. After discussing Candy's dog, the argument proceded to Candy himself, where he longs to be euthanized when he can no longer work. Finally, we come to George's murder of the retarded Lennie, which is completely justified by Slim, the voice of the one sympathetic character in the book. I believe that George was looking for an opportunity to divest himself of Lennie, and that opportunity presented itself when Lennie killed Curley's wife. It was also mentioned that if Lennie was institutionalized, it would be worse than death. I realized there are conflicting opinions about the moral nature of George, but I don't believe he was a good character. As I was writing this review, I recalled Proverbs 31:8-9 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Of Mice And Men describes a world where the advocates for euthanizing the weak and infirm prevail.

Raeden Zen

A Tragic Novella of Companionship and Destroyed Dreams“Lennie still stared at the doorway where she had been. ‘Gosh, she was purty.’ He smiled admiringly. George looked quickly down at him and then he took him by an ear and shook him. ‘Listen to me, you crazy bastard,’ he said fiercely. ‘Don’t you even take a look … I don’t care what she says and what she does. I seen ‘em poison before, but I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her. You leave her be.’”“Of Mice and Men” begins with two men walking along the Salinas River and ends with two men walking along the Salinas River and in between we are transported to a distant world dominated by the Great Depression, by two migrant workers whose American Dream has been repeatedly shattered by the economic downfall. It is a world where mental illness had not yet been understood and is Shakespearean in mood: From the initial steps along the river and the first words uttered by George to Lenny and the foreshadowing that follows at the farm, we know the story ends badly. We can see Lenny’s big hands and George’s lips flapping, warning while they imagined better times, of living off the land where Lenny can tend his rabbits and George can farm in peace with Candy and Crooks.The bottom line: “Of Mice and Men” isn’t always an easy read. Its language is of an era that is foreign to many Americans, racist at times, harsh or filled with vile slang at others (see above). But with limited pages of a novella, Mr. Steinbeck finely draws the characters that populate this world in such a way that you can’t help but be transported to their lives, to their struggle. You’ll hate Curley and his wife and you’ll sympathize with the rest, especially Lennie Small and George Milton as they descend to an inevitably depressing conclusion.

Alexia

Blatant symbolism makes the reader able to discern exactly what is going to happen and what means what from the get-go. There is no surprise or character development, just the descent into the inevitable.

Fewlas

Steinbeck ha questa immensa capacità di inquadrare con precisione poetica i destini umani che ti lascia ogni volta in uno stato di completa ammirazione.Come in “Vicolo Cannery”, anche in “Uomini e topi” la vicenda viene incastonata in un paesaggio reso ottimamente da pennellate di vividi colori, e viene scandita dal sorgere e dal calare del sole. La parabola discendente di Lennie e George si misura dall’altezza dei riflessi del sole sulle pareti delle stalle e sulle montagne, quasi fosse un ciclo vitale. E, in effetti, lo è. In molti accostano questa novella ai morality plays inglesi di epoca medievale: ogni personaggio dovrebbe incarnare un vizio oppure una virtù, mettendo poi in scena delle vicende che solitamente portavano al trionfo del bene. In un certo senso è vero, visto anche che Steinbeck inizialmente aveva pensato a “Uomini e topi” come ad un dramma da intitolare ”Something that happened”; un dramma che doveva solo mostrare (non giudicare o commentare) e che doveva girare il paese per mettere in scena l’americanissima perdita dell’innocenza, la cruda discesa agli inferi di quella gente povera il cui unico vero possedimento era un sogno nel cassetto. Fu Ricketts, l’amico biologo di Steinbeck che ispirò la figura del Dottore in “Vicolo Cannery”, a suggerire a Steinbeck questo tipo di scrittura di intento cronachistico. Fu Steinbeck con il suo talento a renderla una perla di rara bellezza. La sua voce narrante non irrompe mai direttamente nella vicenda ma, nel riportarci gli avvenimenti, non si limita ad una cruda e distaccata cronaca: ne è un perfetto esempio l’espediente narrativo dell’anticipazione, affidato tante volte in questo romanzo allo stridere delle catene dei cavalli nella stalla, al loro quasi imbizzarrirsi in prossimità degli eventi che andranno a sconvolgere l’azione. Espediente che tanto ricorda lo shakespereano chiamare in causa la natura ed il suo sconvolgimento nei momenti in cui si cambiano i destini umani.La parabola di Steinbeck non finisce bene come facevano i morality plays ma, indubbiamente, è molto più efficace. Perché in quel piccolo pezzetto di mondo egli riesce non solo a raccontare la storia di una manciata di uomini, ma ad inserirci anche la sorte di ogni umano destino.

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