Strong Themes In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

Good Essays

Any and all good books must have strong themes throughout. John Steinbeck’s, Of Mice and Men, is no different. Of Mice and Men is a tragic novella that centralizes two men, George and Lennie. The book is set in the 1930s in California. Most of this novella is set on a ranch far away from any kind of civilization save for the nearby town. While most men in the time period travel alone, George and Lennie are an anomaly. For a great length of time they have travelled together as friends and companions. George takes care of Lennie and looks after him. Lennie in turn follows George’s every word, heeds his every command. In that way, George is similar to a dog of sorts. Yet in size and movement resembles a lumbering bear. Lennie follows George …show more content…

In the novella, the theme sheds light on Lennie’s intellectual weakness. In the beginning of the novella, while at the river, Lennie asks George “‘Where are we goin’ George?’... The little man… scowled over at Lennie. ‘So you forgot that awready, did you? I gotta tell you again do I? Jesus Christ, you’re a crazy bastard!’...‘I forgot,’ Lennie said softly” (Steinbeck 4). Lennie forgets things all the time and George is not forgiving of it. He even calls Lennie a “crazy bastard”. He knows Lennie isn’t fully intellectually capable and he even on occasion uses that against poor Lennie. Yet when in the right mindset, George will defend Lennie until his last breath. When the boss remarks on Lennie’s lack of intelligent comments, George quickly fires back. The boss gestured in Lennie’s direction, “‘He ain’t much of a talker, is he?’ ‘No, he ain’t, but he’s sure a hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull.’ Lennie smiled to himself ‘Strong as a bull’” (Steinbeck 21-22). While speaking to the boss about the job position they are filling, he asks about Lennie wondering why he won’t say anything. George quickly validates his point but then sets the conversation in balance by complementing Lennie which makes Lennie smile.While mental weakness is clearly very important to the story, physical weakness plays a role as well. When speaking about Candy and his dog, Carlson says, “‘Why’n’t you get Candy to shoot his old …show more content…

As far as strength goes, Lennie has more than enough of that physically. Unfortunately he does not know his own strength and tends to hurt and even sometimes kill people and animals accidentally. For example, at the climax of the narrative, Lennie becomes frightened and, while trying to keep her quiet, he snaps Curley’s wife’s neck. This incident happened only minutes after he unintentionally kills his puppy while playing with it. Lennie is just too strong for his own good. On the other hand, his intellectual ability is contrastingly weak. He routinely forgets things, much to the annoyance of his companion, George. Lennie and George are a rarity when it comes to farm workers in 1930s California. The majority of the workers travel alone, never with a companion. But George and Lennie stick together. George looks after Lennie and Lennie in turn is happy to comply with George’s every command, even when it may get him in trouble or put him in harm’s way. Lennie and George have a fantastic dream planned. After they get the money, they’ll get a small ranch and tend to the acreage and the fields. For now, however, they travel together, going from farm to farm and earning enough money to get by with. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, is no different from any other quality story- it has multiple well placed, undeniable themes. His novella also makes several well

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