Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck | Analysis

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck|Analysis

John Steinbeck’s unique, Of Mice and Men, was first released in 1937. At the time, America was still suffering the grim after-effects of the anxiety and the travelling workers who form the basis of the novel were very much within the consciousness of a country separated by wealth yet driven by the concept of ‘the American dream’. Steinbeck’s book is, however, basically a tale of loneliness, of guys having a hard time alone against a cold, disinterested and faceless fate. The main protagonists, George and Lennie are, as they are happy to proclaim, different from the others since they have each other. They are an odd couple, George the wise, wiry yet ultimately caring protector of the paradoxically named Lennie Small, who is, in fact, a substantial guy who does not know his own strength and is psychologically incapable of making the tiniest of decisions for himself; he counts on George totally but similarly, George needs Lennie as he provides him a factor to keep going.

Lennie, despite his absence of intellect, senses this since when he knows George feels guilty for being upset with him, he makes the most of the moment to control George into repeating the story of their ‘dream future’, specifically the bunnies they plan to keep with which Lennie is obsessed. They are not related but Lennie’s auntie has raised George and he has assured her that he will take care of Lennie, now she has passed away. The secret dream they share, of building a life together on a cattle ranch and ‘liv [ing] off the fatta the lan’ is central however the extremely title of the book, taken from Robert Burns’ poem ‘To a Mouse’ foreshadows the ultimate defeat of their dream, given that it speaks of plans going wrong. The 2 males are en path for another in a series of ranch tasks, having been lacked Weed, the place where they previously lived and worked, because Lennie has actually been incorrectly accused of tried rape since of his innocent desire to touch the product of a lady’s skirt; once again there is foreshadowing here of the terrible ending of the novel. Certainly, the whole of the book follows the circular motion developed by the setting of the beginning of the unique and inverting descriptions utilized there in the ending which takes place in the very same area, where Lennie has actually been alerted to return if anything fails which inevitably it does. Upon arrival at the ranch, Steinbeck takes the opportunity to introduce the reader, through the newcomers, to a panoply of characters, all loners for one factor or another: the old, maimed and dispirited Sweet, the black, crippled and isolated Criminals, the spirited and big-headed employer’s kid, Curley, who is freshly and unhappily wed, his wife being what the others call a ‘tramp’, and the god-like Slim, to whom all the others look up and to whom they all look for an image to idolise. Steinbeck uses each of these in a various way to show aspects of loneliness and isolation, with only Slim appearing beyond the concept that he is an object of pity.

From the first, George is afraid that the aggressive employer’s son, Curley, will trigger difficulty for himself and Lennie because he is an amateur boxer who sees Lennie’s size as an obstacle and is ‘handy’. However, when he is associated with a violent incident with Curley through no fault of his own, Lennie squashes his hand and Slim cautions him that if anything is stated about it, he will make Curley look a fool, the important things he understands Curley fears most. Undoubtedly, Steinbeck perpetually uses Slim as his centre of awareness in the novel, the man in whom George confides, in a carefully choreographed ‘confessional’ scene, for example, where even the lighting reflects the extreme interrogative. Slim is likewise the only one of the males who appears to have any kind of relationship with Crooks. It is no coincidence, either, that it is Slim who comforts and consoles George at the end of the book, informing him ‘You hadda, George. I swear you hadda’ and leading him away. Possibly the most questionable aspect of Steinbeck’s book is certainly his representation of ladies.

The only female character to have a real existence in the book is Curley’s spouse, who appears to have married Curley on an impulse, having actually been disappointed in her ridiculous ambition to end up being a movie star, and is currently plainly on the lookout for a much better possibility. She flirts with the men, is clearly brought in to Slim, and abuses Crooks, emphasising as she does this the racial tensions of the time. The other recommendations to ladies are to woman of the streets and Lennie’s late aunt, rather unusually sharing a name with the local ‘madam’ of the whorehouse. Steinbeck here lays himself open to the charge of sexism, specifically considering that in other works such as East of Eden, which he wrote in 1952, ladies are likewise depicted as an entrapment to guys, maybe showing a connective with troubles in his individual life. In conclusion, nevertheless, it needs to be stated that the long-lasting appeal of Steinbeck’s effective book remains intrinsically the moving realisation of the main relationship between George and Lennie and how their rather coincidental coming together becomes for both the specifying feeling of their lives. Precisely since there are 2 of them, that someone, as George states, ‘provides a damn’, Steinbeck has the ability to highlight the loneliness of the itinerant drifters of whom he likewise writes movingly in The Grapes of Rage (1939 ). The sharing of their dream with the desperate Sweet is in a sense the beginning of completion because as it ends up being practically a reality it is at the same time broken by the intrusion of possibility symbolised by him.

In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck made a nationwide issue human and in doing so, he developed characters who continue to both relocation and interrupt. Bibliography:

  • Cynthia Burkhead, Student Buddy to John Steinbeck, (Greenwood Press, Westport, CT., 2002).
  • Donald V. Coers, Paul D. Ruffin and Robert J. DeMott, eds., After the Grapes of Rage: Essays on John Steinbeck in Honor of Tetsumaro Hayashi, (Ohio University Press, Athens, OH, 1995).
  • Robert DeMott, Steinbeck’s Typewriter: Essays on His Art, (The Whitston Publishing Business Troy, New York 1997).
  • Tetsumaro Hayashi, John Steinbeck: The Years of Achievement, 1936-1939, (University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL, 1993).
  • Arthur Hobson Quinn and Appleton-Century-Crofts, The Literature of the American People: A Historical and Crucial Study, (Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York City 1951).
  • Claudia Durst Johnson, Comprehending of Mice and Men, the Red Pony, and the Pearl: A Student Casebook to Concerns, Sources, and Historic Files, (Greenwood Press, Westport, CT., 1997).
  • John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Guy, (Longman, Harlow, 2000).
  • John Steinbeck IV and Nancy Steinbeck, The Opposite of Eden: Life with John Steinbeck, (Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, 2001).

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