Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

March 7, 2010
By Lucy(: GOLD, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Lucy(: GOLD, Cambridge, Massachusetts
18 articles 0 photos 31 comments

“I got you to look after me and you got me to look after you.” Lennie, a burley man with a mental impairment, says this enthusiastically to his reliable companion, George, a clever man who looks after Lennie like a father. Furry rabbits, soft mice, and silky hair all mesmerize Lennie, always ending up tragically, for one stroke of his immense fingers can easily cause death. How can George constantly be there to protect Lennie from his dangerous obsession? Full of devastation, excitement, friendship, and dreams, Lennie and George share a story like no other. This portrays the tense undercurrent of violence in this deep book. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, a vibrant bewilderment, is a classic must-read.
Lennie and George, two extremely different men by temperament and intelligence, start their adventure with a mellow friendship, hoping soon to own a separate piece of land that’s away from all tumult. However, when they go to Salinas Valley Lennie becomes immersed in a world where his disability isn’t accepted, and they are stuck in a place where equality is ignored. Since Lennie is addicted to soft, living things George is constantly scolding him, but sadly, George can’t always help cover up Lennie’s mistakes. Wandering from ranch to ranch, they exert hard labor to “work up a stake.” The two companions meet new friends along the way, while finding enemies who may break apart their special bond. Usually Lennie and George are capable of escaping any dicey situation, yet this time an escape is more like a bid farewell.
Of Mice and Men is packed with different themes, philosophies, and perspectives on life, but the one theme I came away with was that everyone has flaws. At Salinas Valley they meet many people with their own handicaps or disabilities: Slim is working with a missing hand, Lennie has damage in his head (mentally), Crooks has a devastating back problem, Candy is too old to walk, and George has the burden of Lennie that’s holding him back. Also, many of these people have a dream, for I noticed a tone of hope in the story. Lennie wishes to “tend rabbits,” George wants to get away from ranch life by owning his own land, Crooks wants freedom, and Curley’s wife wants to be famous. I learned many great lessons from this magnificent book, but the one lesson that impacted me most was that even the disabled could be successful.
“On one side of the river the golden foothill slopes curve up to the strong and rocky Gabilian Mountains, but on the valley side the water is lined with trees - willows fresh and green with every spring, carrying their lower leaf junctures the debris of winter’s flooding; and the sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs and branches that arch over the pool.” This scenery is as beautiful as any lyric of a poem, for the eloquent description is tremendously pleasant to read. Since each chapter begins with impeccable detail to a scene, I could literally imagine myself there. Meaningful lessons about life were hidden between the lines, causing the story to be more intriguing. Also, I admire the large amount of dialogue; the conversations kept me fully engaged. There was a heavy Southern accent, which made it easier to comprehend a different culture from the one I’m used to. Racism and sexism added tension to the story, causing it to be more exhilarating to read, but it was also aggravating to think about such appalling beliefs. For example, Curley’s wife never got named, plus all the men on the ranch thought she should do her “duties” by cleaning and cooking. However, with all the exciting scenes it’s impossible to take your imagination off the vivid “movie” going on in your head. How can an author put so much action and beauty into only 107 pages? One answer: brilliance. With a first glance at the book’s length I wouldn’t be interested, but I love how there are no redundant scenes, descriptions, even sentences. Each word has a purpose.
As a winner of the Nobel Prize and a classic read, this phenomenal book is rated a ten out of ten. There were many different tones I felt throughout the novel, a spark of adventure, a hint of sorrow, and a smidgen of ambition. With a collision of different emotions and themes, Steinbeck creates an elegant work of art, and I couldn’t change anything in the book to make it better. I highly recommend this book to young adults and adults alike; it’s also perfect for book group discussions. Of Mice and Men will dazzle, and you won’t be able to put it down.
All in all, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a wondrous work of art, in fact it’s a masterpiece. Each precious detail makes the friendship of Lennie and George come to life, and every aspect of the tale ties into a lesson about life. Can Lennie overcome his obsession and learn to be gentle with the fragile creatures he constantly touches? Read about this unique story that includes tough decisions, different philosophy, and a surprise ending. Crooks, the overseer of the ranch, makes this discouraging assertion to Lennie: “Just like heaven, everyone wants a piece of land. But nobody gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.” Will Lennie and George be different from everyone else; will they fulfill their dreams? Fantasies of the future don’t always turn out as desired, so read this story to find out what lies in the future of Lennie and George.

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