Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck

.. ime; emotionally, however, he is entirely bound to Lennie, as his protector and companion. Lennie also keeps George from feeling the isolation and loneliness that possess the other ranch hands. Because George cares for Lennie so deeply, he cannot allow him to die brutally at the hands of Curley and the angry ranch hands. After painting the picture of the farm in Lennie’s mind one last time, he takes Carlson’s pistol and mercifully shoots his friend, in a totally selfless act of kindness. It was a terribly difficult thing for George to do, and at the end of the book, Steinbeck paints him feeling lost and alone without his faithful companion and without a dream to keep him going.

Lennie Lennie is George’s friend and constant companion, who is mentally retarded and highly dependent on George. He suffers from a child’s mentality within a giant’s body. He is innocent and forgetful like a child. He is also attracted to small, soft things because of his child-like, gentle nature. Unfortunately, he often harms the things he loves accidentally. As a huge man with heavy arms and powerful hands, he does not know or understand his own strength. Lennie idolizes George, his kind caretaker, almost like a god. In Lennie’s eyes, George is totally kind, faithful, and good.

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He tries hard to remember everything George tells him to do and obeys him implicitly without asking any questions. Even though Lennie did not know how to swim, he jumped in a river one time when George jokingly told him to do so. Because Lennie is slow, forgetful, and powerful, he causes trouble for George wherever they go. They had to leave the last job because Lennie reached out and grabbed the dress of a little girl and would not let go. When she screamed, the townspeople came and blamed Lennie for attempted rape. PLOT (Structure) Of Mice and Men is almost a long short story, divided into six chapters. Steinbeck takes great care to develop the tragic plot in a classical fashion. The first two chapters are largely expository, describing the isolated setting, introducing the characters, and developing the relationship between Lennie and George.

The rising action begins in the third chapter with the confrontation between Curley and Lennie. When the huge man easily crushes Curley’s hand, his strength is actually seen for the first time and foreshadows that there will be trouble on the ranch. The fourth part of the book focuses on the theme of loneliness and develops Curley’s wife, who is shown to be a lonely woman, constantly seeking company. In the fifth chapter, her loneliness leads her into the barn, where she engages Lennie in conversation. It has been clearly foreshadowed that nothing good can happen in this encounter.

In fact, Curley’s wife is the instrument causing the tragic ending of the book. In a flirtatious manner, she asks Lennie to stroke her soft hair. When she feels his powerful hands that do not know how to be gentle, she panics, screams for help, and brings about the climax of the novel. When Lennie covers her mouth and shakes her to be quiet, he breaks her neck. The sixth and final chapter includes the falling action and inevitable outcome of the tragedy. Lennie must be punished for killing Curley’s wife, even though it was truly an accident.

To save his friend from a cruel end in Curley’s hands, George shoots Lennie himself. Because it is a short novel, it is tightly held together. The opening scene of the book pictures George and Lennie beside a stream; the last chapter of the book is the same setting. In the first chapter, George tells Lennie to come back to the stream and hide in the bushes if there is trouble on the ranch. In the next four chapters, George reminds Lennie of the hiding place, and Lennie tries hard to remember it. In fact, in the sixth chapter, he is very proud of himself for remembering to come to the stream and wait for George.

The end of the novel works and is believable because Steinbeck has taken great care to emphasize the hiding place throughout the book. Two themes also hold the book together. In the first chapter, George and Lennie talk about their dream of owning a farm; Lennie is particularly enthralled with raising rabbits there. In every chapter of the book, the dream of the farm is discussed, and Old Candy convinces George and Lennie to let him join them in their dream. Curley’s wife scoffs at the dream; Crooks does too at first, and then contemplates joining them on the farm, hoping to find a place where he is not treated with such prejudice. The dream, however, comes to an abrupt end with Lennie’s death. Before George shoots him, he asks Lennie to picture the farm in his mind, for he wants him to die believing the dream will come true.

The theme of loneliness is also seen throughout the book. The actual setting of the farm is lonely and isolated. The ranch hands share a bunkhouse with one another, but have no family and no emotional ties. One by one they express their loneliness. Old Candy begs to go the farm, so his last days can be filled with companionship and happiness; he fears being treated like his old dog. Crooks, because he is black, is forced to live in a shed by himself and is not allowed to interact with the white workers. Because Curley’s wife is miserable on the ranch and dislikes her husband, she also feels isolated.

Because George and Lennie have each other, they are the only ones on the ranch who do not feel the misery of loneliness. Unfortunately, after George has to kill Lennie, he becomes the loneliest of all the characters. He has lost his best friend and his life’s dream Major Theme The major theme of the book is the beauty of a dream, for it gives a person a purpose in life. George and Lennie dream of owning a farm that they can call their own and where Lennie can raise rabbits and stay out of trouble, free from the constraints of society. Both men constantly keep this dream in front of them.

In fact, Lennie asks George to repeat the dream over and over. George, himself, refuses to frivolously spend any money, for he is saving every dime to buy the land. The dream keeps both of the working; it also keeps them close. Curley’s wife and Crooks, two cynics, scoff at the dream of Lennie and George as being unrealistic, but Candy sees its possibility and its beauty. He offers to give his life savings to help make the dream a reality, for he wants to join George and Lennie on the farm, living out his last days in happiness. When the two men accept Candy, he suddenly has a new lease on life; the dream has given him hope for a better future.

At the end of the novel, the dream dies. As soon as Candy sees the body of Curley’s wife, he understands his own loss of a dream and curses her for it. George also knows the dream has died with Lennie’s death, and the novel ends with his going off to spend his money on liquor. He no longer has a reason to save his pennies. Without a dream, his life is sad and meaningless.

Minor Theme The pain of loneliness is another key theme of the novel. Early in the book, George sets the lonely mood by stating, ‘Guys like us that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world.’ Candy becomes the picture of total loneliness caused by age. He is rejected by all for being old and handicapped. His only company, his faithful, old, blind dog, is taken from him and killed; Candy fears that he will be treated the same way in the future and wants to join Lennie and George on the ranch. Crooks is the picture of total loneliness caused by prejudice. Because he is the only black man on the ranch, he is forced to live alone in a shed of the barn, and no one will have any interaction with him.

As the only female on the ranch, Curley’s wife also voices her loneliness. She says, ‘I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.’ Slim is also a lonely man and says, ‘Maybe everybody in the whole damn world is scared of each other. Only Lennie and George are spared from the feelings of loneliness that pervade the book, for they have one another. Table of Contents IRONY The major irony in the book is that George kills Lennie because he loves him.

He wants to spare Lennie from dying a brutal death at the hands of Curley and the other ranch hands who are enraged over the death of Curley’s wife; therefore, he selflessly does the terrible deed himself, as a merciful act to his friend. Ironically, George steals Carlson’s pistol to use; it is the same pistol that killed Candy’s old dog in order to save it from suffering and misery. Ironically, the ranch hands felt great sympathy and sorrow for Candy over the loss of his dog; but they feel no sympathy for George over losing his best friend and companion. Slim.


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