The plot of the book Of Mice and Men is very organized. All of the events that occur are in chronological order. The story starts off with two workers that are migrants, George and Lennie. They are traveling to a California farm, where the bus drops them off miles away from the actual farm. George is described as a man that is sharp with strong features, while Lennie is the exact opposite, being a big man with a big and shapeless face. Lennie also has a mild mental disability, which can be inferred as they started talking. Lennie also doesn’t know his own strength, and very often kills the animals that he pets. The day after they get dropped off miles away, they find a farm and apply for a job. Insisting that he and Lennie are cousins, they get the job.
They then soon meet Candy, the handyman on the ranch. Candy has a missing hand and is the owner of a very old dog. They also meet Curley, the son of the boss. He is very mean-spirited and is newly married. He is very possessive of his new wife and is always filled with jealous suspicion. After Lennie and George go to settle down for the night, Curley’s wife starts to flirt with them. George then tells Lennie that he needs to stay away from her because nothing good can come from her. The next day, they meet Slim, one of the more powerful men on the ranch. He is a very skilled mule driver and takes up a friendship with George and Lennie. The next day, Slim is told by George that he and Lennie, in fact, aren’t cousins. They have been good friends since childhood because of his disability. He also tells Slim that they were forced to leave their last job because Lennie had tried to touch a woman’s dress and was then falsely accused of rape. After this, Candy hears about George and Lennie’s plan to buy land and make a farm. Candy then offers his life savings if he can live on the farm with them, to which George and Lennie agree. The three of them then make a pact to not let anybody else know about their plans.
While Curley is searching for his wife, he gets angry and starts to look for an easy target to lash out on. When he gets back to the house, he picks a fight with Lennie, and Lennie breaks Curley’s hand while squeezing it. The next night, when many of the men go to a local brothel, Lennie is left with Crooks and Candy. Curley’s wife then comes to flirt with the men. She then finds out that Lennie accidentally killed the puppy, and that he is actually the one that hurt her husband, not a machine. After she offers for him to touch her hair, she cries out in pain as he grabs her hair too hard. As she screams in pain, he grabs her to try to make her quiet, but he accidentally breaks her neck. After this happens, Lennie runs to the pool that George has told him to go to if anything bad ever happened. The men then get together and form a mob to chase after Lennie after they had found out what he did. George then comes to meet his friend, and he starts to describe what the farm would look like when they got it. As the mob continues to grow louder and louder, George shoots Lennie in the back of the head, only out of mercy. As the mob arrives, George makes them believe that he had taken the gun from Lennie, and only Slim really knows what happened. Slim and George then leave, with the other men behind them being very confused.
The point of view used for Of Mice and Men are third-person omniscient. The author, John Steinbeck knows what the characters are doing at all times, and he also knows how they think. We can tell this by how he describes the setting as well. He describes it as “A few miles south of the Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank runs deep and green.” The setting is described as a very beautiful but small landscape. But something in the setting that is deeper than the landscape. This is the Great Depression. This left people, such as George and Lennie, without work and searching for a job. This makes everyone suspicious about everyone and everything that they do, and this makes the friendship of George and Lennie even more valuable.
There are many themes in Of Mice and Men. Some of these include the rabbits, Candy’s dog, and George and Lennie’s farm. The rabbits can symbolize innocence in the world. With Lennie’s love for petting rabbits, they establish his innocence. With him always petting them and killing them, this also symbolizes the downfall of innocence in the world. Candy’s dog symbolizes the survival of the fittest. With the dog getting old and useless, they have to put the dog down. This makes it clear that only the strong will survive during this time. It also foreshadows the way that Lennie dies, with a gunshot to the back of the head. The last symbol is the farm that George and Lennie dream of. This is a symbol of paradise and the American dream. They talk of how they will live off of the land and how lavish it will be. They make it seem like it will be paradise and will be the best place they’ve ever lived.
Of Mice and Men can best be described as realistic, depressing, and honest. He uses things such as poverty, limited resources, and violence to display the type of realism he is going for. He is trying to convey that the American dream for some was purely just hopeless. Because of this, honesty comes out in the story. It is displayed in how George always has to take care of Lennie. This, meanwhile, is depressing because many find the American dream as hopeless.
The tone in Of Mice and Men is mostly depressing. This is because despite all of George and Lennie’s effort, they still don’t get their farm like they dreamed of. It also portrays how caring for someone can be a difficult task if they have a disability, such as Lennie’s. It’s also hard to try to live during this time, seeing as it’s the Great Depression. This makes everyone very suspicious at all times, and tensions are high.
The title actually plays a big role in what it means towards the book. When Steinbeck wrote this book, he referenced it towards the poem “To a Mouse [on turning her up in her nest with a plow].” In this, the writer accidentally kills a mouse with a plow while plowing a field. The author then goes on to explain how just because mice and men are different, in the end, we are both mortal. This is told by the story because of how only the strong survive, but in the end, everyone dies.
Overall, I thought that this book was very good at portraying how times were tough and how you had to work for what you wanted. This also tells about how getting what you want isn’t always the best thing, and can be seen when George and Lennie don’t get their farm in the end. It also tells about how humans can be difficult to tolerate, but in the end, its all worth it.
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