Others crumple while others flourish under strain. Independence is marked by responsibility. Overburdening that freedom-seeking kid with too many responsibilities might have disastrous consequences. In his masterpiece “Of Mice and Men”, John Steinbeck explores the idea of taking responsibility in moderation. After reading Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse,” in which the author regrets accidentally killing a mouse’s nest, Steinbeck adopted the title Of Mice and Men. The poem touches on numerous important themes in Of Mice and Men, including the transience of home and the harshness of existence for the most defenseless.
Two guys pause at a brook nearby the Salinas River one evening while driving to a ranch. George, a small, black man, is the one who leads the way. Lennie, a behemoth of a guy with enormous arms, is pursuing him. George constantly tells Lennie to close his mouth closed on the ranch during their chat by the stream, implying that Lennie has a problem. They discuss their ambition of owning a piece of land after dinner and preceding sleep.
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George and Lennie arrive at the property the next day to begin work. In the bunkhouse, they each get two beds. Then they meet practically everyone on the ranch, thanks to Old Candy. They encounter the boss and his unpleasant son Curley. When Curley’s wife comes seeking her husband, they meet her. She wears a lot of make-up and has a flirty demeanor. When it comes to Curley and his wife, George cautions Lennie to be on his best behavior. He also proposes that if anything bad occurs to any of them on the property, they meet by the pool.
Slim, who is rational and ‘civilized’ and speaks with authority, is assigned to George and Lennie. Slim proves to be an understanding confidant for George, and the two build a relationship. Slim is enraged when Curley falsely accuses him of chatting to his wife. Curley apologizes to him in front of everyone in the bunkhouse, but he is turned down. Curley tries to instigate a fight with Lennie by venting his rage. When George asks Lennie to, he obliges and smashes Curley’s hand. Curley agrees that revealing his hand to others would jeopardize his self-esteem.
While working on the ranch, George and Lennie continue to fantasize about having their piece of property and create strategies to achieve this goal. Overhearing their plans, one of the ranch employees, Old Candy, offers to join them. He even offers to pay for the land with all of his savings. His suggestion is approved by George and Lennie.
Lennie visits Crooks’ room one evening, seeking for his dog; as the ranch’s sole black man, Crooks lives alone, isolated from other ranch workers. Candy comes in seeking Lennie, and the two tell Crooks about their ambition of having their ranch, but Crooks assures them it will never occur, foreshadowing the reality. Curley’s wife enters and interrupts their conversation. When Crooks protests about her being in his room, she accuses him of fake rape.
Lennie is later spotted alone in the barn, caressing his dead puppy. He accidentally destroyed it by overworking it. He is now mourning his loss. Curley’s wife enters the barn and begins conversing with Lennie. She invites him to brush her hair while they converse. When she feels Lennie’s powerful hands, she becomes terrified. Lennie covers her lips when she speaks loudly to him. He accidentally breaks her neck in the process, and she dies as a result. He flees the property, knowing he’s done something dreadful. When the ranchmen discover that Curley’s wife has been murdered, they correctly deduce who is to blame. They all set out to find Lennie, led by an enraged Curley. In retaliation, they plot to assassinate him.
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George estimates Lennie’s whereabouts and sprints to the pool. To protect him from the ranch employees’ savage attacks, George humanely murders his companion. The searchers assemble near the pool upon hearing the gunshot. They praise George on his performance. Only Slim is aware of George’s true motive.
“Of Mice and Men” is written in the format of a play. To link his story, Steinbeck used a circular pattern of settings, condensed narration, minimum action details, dramatic lighting, and foreshadowing.
To depict the ranch’s insider/outsider relationship, Steinbeck used both narrative and speech. Curley, his wife, and Slim are among the insiders. George, Lennie, and Crooks are among the outcasts.
Mice and Men warn us of the perils of trusting in fantasies, particularly the American Dream, while also emphasizing the need for companionship and friendship.
Different groups’ isolation and social alienation is still a problem that is as significant now as it was in the 1930s. Friendship, loneliness, aggression, and justice are all still important in today’s culture. It is because of this relevancy that it can be considered a modern classic and a good read.