Comparing Of Mice and Men and John Steinbeck's Life Essay

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John Steinbeck's agricultural upbringing in the California area vibrantly shines through in the settings and story lines of the majority of his works. Steinbeck's novel, Of Mice and Men, takes place in the Salinas Valley of California. The drama is centered around two itinerant farm workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, with a dream of someday owning a place of their own. Lennie Small is a simple-minded, slow moving, shapeless hulk with pale eyes whose enormous physical strength often causes him to get into trouble. George Milton on the other hand is small in stature, clever, dark of face and eyes, and acts as Lennie's guardian and calming force.

Early in the story the prospect of their ever realizing their dream seems remote,
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The plan is doomed virtually from the beginning not only because human fellowship cannot survive, but also because the image of the farm, as conceived by George, Lennie, and Candy, is overly idealized. The probability being that life, even if they obtained the farm, would not be as they envision. The fruits and vegetables in abundance, the livestock and domestic animals, and the community of people involved are unreasonable expectations.

The greater part of the novel's appeal, George and Lennie's relationship, although far from what one could call a reciprocal friendship, intrigues the reader in the same way many comic duos intrigue. It is easy to identify with the "smart guy" who helplessly tries to cope with and control his irrational, dumb and, yet, spontaneous, child-like partner as they lurch from one self-inflicted crisis to another. Steinbeck uses that classic comic routine so that the reader warmly identifies and recognizes the relationship. Steinbeck's narrator establishes and characterizes George's lording of power and control over Lennie early in the first chapter:

George's hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand (Steinbeck 9).

Unlike the typical Disney ending, Steinbeck delivers a harsh, but
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