Of Mice and Male Literary Criticism
At the mention of the name, “John Steinbeck,” many associations can be made to the timeless works produced by the man. Nevertheless, he did not start his life as a successful author. Growing up in Salinas, California, Steinbeck lived the life of a common man, working to endure in the Land of Promise. He began to establish a taste for writing; however, he studied marine biology while he participated in Stanford University. Without finishing with a degree, Steinbeck began working as a worker and reporter for the American in New York City City.
After recognizing that he was not meeting his goals, or at least coming close to them, Steinbeck moved back to California where he continued to operate in numerous chores while he pursuing his profession as an expert writer. In the early 1930’s Steinbeck satisfied Edwards Ricketts, a marine biologist who later became a significant impact on his works. Steinbeck took pleasure in listening to Ricketts’s views on the connection of life. Steinbeck became fascinated by these ideas and began applying these styles to all of his developing works.
His first 2 publications were undeveloped and deemed failures, but with the production of Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck was introduced to the world of literary acceptance. Of Mice and Guy is considered an American classic that is taught by almost every high school and featured on many “need to check out” booklists. The reason for such appraise can be discovered in the styles lying within the book. Steinbeck develops the principles of male’s fate by developing his characters, the relationships they share, and their interactions and using them to enhance underlying styles.
The relationship in between Lennie and George opens numerous kinds of interpretation for critics of the book. Some wonder whether George cares for Lennie and an individual, or possibly George only feels obligated to supervise him. Is it a matter of George’s genuineness, or does Steinbeck want to enhance the concept that people would naturally wish to be alone? Of Mice and Male informs the story of 2 guys who depend upon each other to survive. Their relationship resembles one that would be discovered in between two siblings where one, George, is looking out for the other, Lennie.
This relationship can be highlighted through out the novel. When in charge asked Lennie what he was capable of doing, George replied for him with, “He can do anything you tell him? he can do anything. Simply provide him a shot” (22 ). George discovered that Lennie might no have the ability to offer the one in charge the ideal answer so he decided to help out and take matters into his own hands. He does this because he feels that Lennie is his responsibilityand he continues to do this throughout the book. Lisca takes notice of the relationship and says that it “could be seen in George’s sacrifices and devotion to Lennie” (348 ).
Devotiong is absolutely the word to utilize due to the fact that George was dedicated to Lennie. George had an option: whether he ought to handle Lennie’s duties or not. Steinbeck utilizes George and Lennie’s friendship to set them apart from the remainder of the individuals. Not just do they have a dream, however they do have each other. Before the 2 arrive at the cattle ranch, the 2 discuss precisely what it is that sets them apart from the remainder of the rest of the ranchers when George states, “We got a future? If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody offers a damn. But not us” (14 ).
George is letting Lennie understand that they are above the others, that they have a plan to get out of the rut they are in. French also discovers this component in Steinbeck’s work. “When George shoots Lennie, he is not damaging just the shared dream? but likewise damaging the important things that makes him various and lowering himself to the status of a normal guy” (349 ). It is evident that this dream made the 2 stand out among the rest. Steinbeck wishes to emphasize the idea of isolation by developing characters and portraying them as being alone on the planet, regardless of the fact that they are surrounded by other individuals.
Candy has his companion, a canine, who eventually passes away leaving Sweet alone. This killing is vital to the book due to the fact that while in adds to the style of male being alone worldwide, it likewise is utilized to foreshadow what will come. When Candy reflects on his pet dog, he becomes unfortunate and says to George, “I ought to of shot that canine myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my canine” (61 ). Sweet thinks that the best thing to have done would have been to kill his pet himself. Later in the story, George is faced with a similar scenario.
While Lennie is being hunted by the angry group, George chooses that it would have been better to kill Lennie himself due to the fact that Lennie was George’s companion, his best friend, his animal, and his responsibility. Candy continues to search for companionship by trying to get in on the dream to own land, which was initially shared by Lennie and George. Candy attempts to contribute money to the dream but in the end, the dream is shattered when Lennie passes away. This is Steinbeck’s method of saying that males are predestined to be lone in the end. Although Sweet and George were still around, they both realized that there was no expect leaving the dreadful hand they were dealt. This relationship in between George and Lennie contrasts the isolation that surrounds their daily life. Every person around them is lonesome in one way or another. There’s Sweet, whose only buddy was an old pet dog, Crooks, the isolated black man, Curley’s other half, who is trapped and subjected to Curley in their marriage, and Curley, who doesn’t even trust his other half.
When George and Lennie arrive, their relationship stimulates interest in all the characters that they come across. This can quickly be seen by the way Curley’s partner would always appear particularly interested in Lennie. Steinbeck shows this on page 79 when he composes,” [Curley’s spouse] looked longest at Lennie, up until he dropped his eyes in shame.” Curley’s spouse was tired of her own lonely life and she was interested in Lennie. Steinbeck utilizes Curley as the reason for Lennie’s and George’s tragic ending.
While Lennie is eliminated for an error made thanks to Curley’s other half, George is confronted with the responsibility, as soon as again, to solve the issue no matter how hard his choice might be. Steinbeck is smart in that he symbolically has the majority of the characters crippled in some method. Steinbeck spends a great deal of time developing a strong connection in between the two main characters, however there are subtle hints that connect back into the style of males ending up alone, as it is there fate. While Lennie is positive that George is his buddy, there are doubts that George can say the same of Lennie.
While George is talking to Slim, he confesses that he had just become used to looking after Lennie which he “can’t get rid of him” (41 ). This leads the reader to believe that George is inspires by feelings of regret, responsibility, pity, or maybe even a desire to not be alone himself. Possibilities are it is a combination of all of these inspirations. Nevertheless, it seems odd that George would continue to stick with Lennie, considering the threat that Lennie causes for the both of them.
George knows and understands that his life would be simpler without Lennie, and it is apparent that he desires his independence when Lennie ends up being troublesome. Folsom slams Steinbeck on this concept when he states, “to Steinbeck modern life itself is typically the enemy, in which his characters discover themselves lost in a world they never made and desire nothing to do with” (2276 ). George is tired of keeping up with his obligations and he is angry that he is caught worldwide that he” [desires] nothing to do with. Steinbeck is typically depicting George as a guy who plays solitaire, a single person card video game.
George never asks Lennie to join him so it appears that this is George’s escape from the world he is required to live, his easy game of solitaire played in privacy. This tension is constant up until the killing by the riverside, when the pressure of Lennie’s companionship makes it unbearable for George to go on with his partner. By eliminating Lennie, George gets rid of the huge weight on his shoulders and a hazard to his own life considering the reality that Lennie’s actions had actually always threatened the life of George, who was continuously confronted with the responsibility to take duty of Lennie.
The saddest part is that George is obligated to shoot both his buddy, who made him various from the other lonesome workers, as well as his own dream and accept that their plans have gone miserably wrong. The brand-new weight is now the hopeless and lonesome life of the homeless cattle ranch worker. George is now exactly like everybody else. Slim’s convenience at the end, “You hadda George” (118 ), shows the sad fact that one needs to give up one’s dreams in order to carry on. Steinbeck wants to utilize his writing to send a message.
The reoccurring theme in Of Mice and Male is that in the end, guys are predestined to be alone. Attell takes this message and applies it to the world in which Steinbeck matured. He thinks that” [Steinbeck] is making a very exact and pointed review of specific aspects of what it is like for many people to reside in California and American society” (255 ). Attell is essentially saying that Steinbeck is not only writing an amusing story, but he is likewise making waves and fighting for the side of the working guy.
Steinbeck wants to understand throughout that it is not simply a story where a character is handled a tragic life, but that the people of California, of America are dealing with the same thing. He uses his work to illustrate the plights of common man and lets the reader know that in the end, despite the relationships, male is predestined to be alone. When Of Mice and Guy reads between the lines, it is easy to discover Steinbeck’s goal. Males are destined to be alone, in spite of their hardships, despite their connections.
In order to develop these ideas Steinbeck develops his characters, the relationships they share, and their interactions. Of Mice and Male is considered a traditional book for a reason. Steinbeck does an exceptional task of establishing effective themes while using unparalleled composing methods. Steinbeck had the ability to take his training as the commoner and turn it into motivation for books. WORKS CITED Attell, Kevin. Novels for Trainees: Guy and Animal. Stanford University Press: Stanford California, 2004. Folsom, James K. Important Survey of Brief Fiction.
Salem Press: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1981. French, Warren. Reference Guide to American Literature. Consistency Books: New York City, 1987 Goldhurst, William. Of Mice and Guy: John Steinbeck’s Parable of menstruation of Cain. Western American Literature: New York City, 1971. Levant, Howard. The Novels of John Steinbeck: A Critical Study. Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1974. Lisca, Peter. John Steinbeck, Nature and Misconception. New York City: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1978. Paul, Louis. Contemporary Literary criticism. William Beneton: Detroit, Michigan, 1982.