"Of Mice and Men's" literary merit

Essay by ViviFHigh School, 10th grade March 2004

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The quote noted by Oscar Wilde, "The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame", demonstrates his belief on censors, who hold the power of removing classical literature from the high school curriculum. One such novel, Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, is a rather controversial novel and have been frequently criticized. A tragic story about the brutality of loneliness and the significance of dreams, the novel fills the reader's heart with overwhelming emotions. Although attempts have been made to restrict this piece of literature because of its violent plot and harsh language, one who understands it recognizes that these characteristics are only used to fit the time period, which is during the Great Depression. Undeniably, Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, presents literary merit and should remain in the high school curriculum.

Admittedly, the novel shows the mistreatment of minorities; however, the characters that Steinbeck has created exhibit the value of friendship.

Particularly, the main characters, George Milton and Lennie Small, demonstrate great care for each other. For instance, when George and the other workers have gone off to play horseshoe, Lennie visits Crooks in the barn. Crooks, a bitter but lonely African-American, talks to Lennie about his life and feelings. As he observes Lennie's loyalty to George, Crooks develops feelings of jealousy and starts to "suppose" many different possibilities about how George is never going to come back. Since Lennie is simple-minded, he becomes defensive and gets angry at Crooks and says, " 'What you supposing' for? Ain't nobody goin' to talk no hurt to no George.'" Then Lennie becomes so aggressive that Crooks has to back down and try to calm him by telling him that George is alright. Even then, Lennie is still...