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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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In Steinbeck’s much analysed and lonely novella Of Mice and Men, the characters are seen to experience solitude, frustration, despair, limitations – and ultimately, tragedy for all involved. Although the novella is very much a tragic tale of two disadvantaged migrant workers struggling for their shared dream, the themes of companionship, guidance and hope are also presented to the reader, who experiences the development of the dream, and the devastation of it never occurring due to the untimely death of George’s comrade, Lennie. Steinbeck effectively creates a realistic, poignant, emotive and engaging piece of literature, and the reader is able to feel the suspense of the author’s cleverly-woven foreshadowing, the interpretation of his characters, and in the end, the raw and cruel parting to the friendship of George and Lennie – and their hope of a better life, simple but within the bounds of freedom and security. The reader feels intense sympathy and emotion for the ending, but they do feel a sense of satisfaction and closure, and we as readers are assured to the fact the tale was done justice by Steinbeck, whose clear message is shown: the event of the tragedy was, indeed, just ‘something that happened’, and nobody was to blame for the sadness that was to come. Steinbeck also successfully conveys to the reader the harsh, lonely and impossible world of the migrant workers, and George, Lennie, Candy, Curley’s wife and Crooks are a group of many for which the American Dream was always slightly out of reach.




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