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Of Mice and Men'

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'Of Mice and Men', a rather interesting novel, written by John Steinbeck in 1937, was derived from a poem 'To a Mouse' by Robert Burns. The novel is mostly set on a ranch, portraying the life of the two protagonists, George and Lennie, and the shattering of their so-called 'American dream' - a hope to have their own small holding. George and Lennie are said to be an unlikely pair. George is seen as the leader between the two. He is "small and quick, dark of face, with restless, eyes and sharp, strong features". He had "small, strong hands, slender arms, and a thin bony nose"1. Lennie, on the other hand, had a lot of his choices made for him. He was the total opposite of George. He was "a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders"2. Lennie is a dreamer. He has a dream, which he is deeply devoted to. As one of the most powerful characters in the novel, Lennie was capable to kill, and therefore destroy George's dream. The novel is narrated by a third person omniscient, but Steinbeck tends to make use of dialogues between George and Lennie, and thus help the reader develop his or her opinion about each of the character as the story develops. The novel mainly concentrates on the landscape of Salinas. ...read more.


But as the climax of the novel is reached, the murder he has committed and his fear now make Lennie walk "silently as a creeping bear moves"5. He no longer "drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse"6, but "barely touching his hips to the water"7. It seems to be very affective; the way Steinbeck manages to create these two chapters so similar to each other, but in fact makes a drastic change between them. Even the sound of a bird now causes Lennie to jerk up his head. Lennie now sits on the bank. There is a change in his posture. He no longer imitates George just like he did at the beginning - "George lay back on the sand and crossed his hands under his head, and Lennie imitated him, raising his head to see whether he were doing it right"8. George is unwilling to scold Lennie. Lennie begs George to tell him off. George does not seem able to do it, but goes on to the final telling of the story about the 'American dream'. This has, in a way, become a ritual. We are told that story a number of times throughout the novel. The fact how they will have their own "steak" with chickens and other animals, as well as the rabbits, which Lennie will get to tend, and they will have money and go to a "cat house". ...read more.


"You know guys like us..." he'd say. The pressure from the society and the human feeling he has under this pressure make him totally give up on both Lennie and their dream. He still sees Lennie as he used to before, but from a different perspective. He also feels sorry about what he is about to do, but knows that it is the right thing, because is seems as the only hope in order to 'save' Lennie. The closing chapter of the novel 'Of Mice and Men' is in a way an extra chapter to the novel, ending in a tragedy of their shattered dream, which they were so close to achieving. It emphases on the fact that the novel ends in a harsh manner. There is a lack of understanding and empathy. We can tell this by the last sentence of the novel - "Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?"12 Life goes back to usual after George has shot Lennie. This shows that the humankind does not seem to be interested in a tragedy of an individual. There is not empathy. This last sentence seems to have no justice, and makes the reader aware of the fact how the world is not fair. Just like nature. It simply operates. Things sometimes do not happen for any particular reason, they simply are. Steinbeck senses that Lennie's faith was just another episode of the context of nature and faith. ...read more.

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