Of Mice And Men

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade May 2001

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In the Stienbeck's novel "Of mice and Men", there are many features that lay beneath the obvious surface of the main story. Some of these are the bleak setting and the strange friendship shared between the characters. In the following paragraphs I will talk about these examples.

In the book there is a relationship shared between all the characters. It is a relationship like, they know each other and they say hi but they really don't want to know each other personally. They are kind of just passing each other on the highway of life. Another example of a weird relationship is the one between Curly and his wife. Curly hates his wife and she likes to tease other men with her beauty. She is a lonely person who is nice but not a trustworthy person. As a child she had big dreams that were only to be hampered by her mother.

She regrets being in the crappy town she's in. A quote for this is, "Aw, nuts," she said. "What kinda harm am I doin' to you? Seems like they aint none of them cares how I gotta live." And, "Well, a show come through and I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show. But my ol' lady wouldn' let me. She says because I was on'y fifteen." Also in "Of Mice and Men" there is a peculiar setting. It is very bleak, it almost seems black and white with color people. It is so isolated and alone, like in the middle of nowhere. There is never and mention of neighbors or nearby houses or inhabitants. I think Stienbeck uses this as a kind of subliminal message to the reader that there is no escape from the farm; there are no other interactions. The only other mental picture painted in the readers mind is the pond, it is ironically the place that the story begins and ends.

The farms inhabitants are very interesting, there is Crooks, a black man with a crooked back, and there is Curly, a cocky man with an attitude toward bigger people, and Curly's wife, she is a lonely woman. Out of all of these people I have mentioned, and the others in the book, they all share one common characteristic, they all have some form of a dream, this dream is most often in tatters. They have either forgotten this dream or simply just given up. This may be because of the hard times they are going through or just the lack of money and the need for love. A quote for this is, "You guys is just kiddin' yourself. You'll talk about it a hell of a lot, but you wont get no land. You'll be a swamper here till they take you out in a box. Hell, I seen it too many guys. Lennie here'll quit and be on the road in two or three weeks. Seems like ever' guy got land in his head." This novel by John Stienbeck sets a story of confusion, misunderstanding and betrayal. The quotes are unforgettable and the characters are as vivid as your imagination. The ending is a harsh slam, the whole story seems to drop as fast as Lennie, into the sand of the glimmering pond, with the voices of near by men, shouting. A quote for this would be, "and George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back if Lennie's head. The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied. He pulled the trigger. The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and rolled down again. Lennie jarred, then settled slowly foreword to the sand, and he lay without quivering." This tragic ending is fitting to the whole book, the dream of the farm, lost forever in the sudden crash rolling through the hills.