John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

Satisfactory Essays
Of Mice and Men - Critical Evaluation

‘Of Mice and Men’ is a book, which deals with the issues of loneliness, dreams and friendship, the author of this book, is John Steinbeck and it was first published in 1937.

The story this book tells is of two friends who travel together looking for work during the recession in America in the 1930’s. The men are George and Lennie. George has to look after Lennie because he is a bit dumb and gets into trouble a lot. They both have a dream of owning their own farm one day.

All the characters in the novel show aspects of the main themes, the two main characters, George and Lennie, illustrate these themes throughout the book. They travel together for companionship and for someone to talk to. George and Lennie have nothing in common and therefore the only reason they are friends is to stop each other from becoming lonely. Lennie isn’t all that smart and he worships George utterly, but sometimes George gets annoyed with Lennie’s stupidity and shouts at him, for example, in the first chapter when Lennie was annoying him about ketchup he shouts “God a’ mighty if I was alone I could live so easy”. Deep down George knows this isn’t true because he doesn’t want to be alone. Also, George cares about Lennie and tries to make sure nothing bad happens to him.

Another Character that shows these themes is Crooks. He is isolated from the rest of the workers due to racist prejudice. He lives alone in a shed beside the barn and has very little contact with other people. He is probably the loneliest person on the ranch because know one will speak to him apart form Lennie. He is so lonely he is going insane which is shown when he says “ a guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody, don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya”. This really sums up Crooks feelings, all he wants is someone to talk to.

On a broader scale the whole structure of the book gives the impression of loneliness. For example, the story is set in a town called Soledad, which is Spanish for loneliness. Also the first chapter starts by giving you a detailed description of the surroundings, the landscape of the Salinas River and “the strong and stony Gabilan mountains”.
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