John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

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Of Mice and Men

When writing the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck made many themes clear to his readers. Some of these themes were good statements to live by, and others weren’t. Most of these themes were about people’s social lives, because that was what a good part of the book was about. They addressed friendship, equality, and death.

The first, and probably most important lesson taught by this book was the value of friendship. From the very beginning of the book, readers can tell that George and Lennie are very close friends. Later, the book tells of this odd duo’s past. Because Lennie was never too bright, George often took advantage of him. Eventually, though, George decided Lennie needed someone to take care of him and lead him through life. The two stuck together, though Lennie often got them both into trouble.

Another theme the book contains is negative statements about human equality. On the ranch where George and Lennie worked, the ranch hands were considered more inferior than the wealthy boss, his son, and his daughter-in-law. One of the ranch hands, Crooks, was a black man and also a cripple. He was considered more inferior than the ranch hands and had a private room out in the barn. Some of the other ranch hands did respect him, though; as much as someone could expect from anyone at the time the story takes place.

Throughout the story, Lennie found out just how fragile life was in his strong hands. When he was younger, his aunt would give him mice to play with and pet. Because he was so strong, he would pet them too hard and kill them. When Slim gave Lennie a pup, he eventually pet it too hard and accidentally killed it too. Then, while talking to Curley’s wife in the barn, she invited Lennie to touch her hair. When she wanted him to stop, he got scared and held on. When she screamed, he shook her and told her to stop so he wouldn’t get in trouble. With his incredible strength, he accidentally broke her neck.

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At the end of the story, George was forced to shoot Lennie in the back of the head because of this accidental crime.

Of Mice and Men shows readers how precious friendships are, how people’s beliefs of human equality have changed over the years, and how easily life can be taken away. Though it has a negative way of approaching some of its themes, the novel teaches many good lessons. If looked at in the correct manner, readers can learn much from reading this wonderful novel.
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