This year, I read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It follows the lives of two men who are polar opposites, George, a quick-witted, caring man, and Lennie, a mentally impaired but hardworking laborer. Lennie is often an immense burden for George, and this causes George to question his decision to care for Lennie. However, the strong bond of friendship holds the two together through thick and thin, despite Lennie’s constant antics.
The book begins with George and Lennie finishing the journey from their previous workplace to a new farm where they hope to find work. They stop for the night, and Lennie asks George to describe their “dream”. George describes a farm that the two of them hope to obtain, with a house, animals, and workers. While it is made apparent that George and Lennie both want to achieve this goal, there are specific things that seem more important to each of them. Lennie’s dream is to have rabbits that he can tend to. George aspires to live with no one to tell them what to do, and no one that they are obligated to hide Lennie’s mental impairments from.
Later in the novel, their dream becomes even more of a reality when a fellow worker Candy offers $350 to help pay for the farm. However, their dreams are crushed when Lennie kills both a dog and a woman. Curley, the woman’s husband, gathers a group of men and orders Lennie to be lynched. George meets Lennie at their predetermined meeting spot and Lennie admits to George what he did. George knows that Lennie is going to die, as the men will eventually find them. For the final time, George restates their dream to Lennie. In order to save Lennie from a violent death at the hands of Curley and his ruthless henchmen, George shoots Lennie moments before the gang arrives.
This book taught me some important values. For example, this novel has taught me to value friendship. During the Great Depression, most men were lonely. George and Lennie had a unique friendship and they cared about each other. They traveled together, they faced adversity together, and they celebrated together.
I have also learned from this novel the importance of hard work and independence. Just like Lennie and George who had to work hard to make enough to live, I will have to work to realize my dreams.
This novel also taught me the importance of standing up for myself. Lennie was not as bright as everyone else, but he was hardworking and obedient. George stuck by Lennie and was caring and patient. These qualities of some of the characters in Of Mice and Men have made me more proud of myself for what I am.