Of Mice and Men – The Struggle

Publicat deIoana Ioana

“Of Mice and Men” is a book about two men and their struggle to achieve their dream of owning a farm through their companionship. The two men are completely different, one being a retarded fellow (Lennie), and the other, a typical ranch hand (George) who travels with him. On the path to achieving their dream, they run into obstacles, but stick together, stressing the importance of true friendship. Steinbeck wrote this book to tell us how important it is to have a friend to share your life with.
The book starts off set in Soledad, which, when translated into English means “lonely”. But when Lennie and George are together, they are anything but lonely. They share a friendship so great that if either person dies, or both are separated, they other could not survive. Their friendship is a true one, where they share their lives together, benefitting from each others company. “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re pounding in’ their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got nothing to look ahead to….With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that give as a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blow in’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail then can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us. But not us! An’ why? Because…..because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.” (p.13-14) Because of the extent of Lennie and George’s friendship, they go beyond the mere sharing of words. George and Lennie share a dream of owning a farm, due to their friendship with each other. Their friendship makes this dream possible, because if there were only one person, there would be no one to share the dream with, it would be just a silly old thought, and not a serious possibility. “With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us……O.K. Someday–we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and’ An’ live off the fatta the lan, An’ have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that, George.” (p.14) In the third chapter of this book, Candy is center of attention due to his dog, which Carlson wants killed. Candy is an old man who has no one to talk to or keep him company besides the dog. To him, the dog was more than an animal that smelled, it was a companion to share life with. When Carlson tells Candy he wants to kill his dog, Candy is hesitant to answer. Candy stalls, and finally gives in to Carlson’s request. He had this dog for his whole life, and now that it was gone, Candy would be abandoned without a friend. Out of this loneliness, he jumps on to Lennie and George’s dream, giving practically everything he has to them, stressing the importance of friendship and sharing your life with a friend. “Tell you what’ s’pose I went in with you guys. Tha’s three hundred and fifty bucks I’d put in. I ain’t much good, but I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some. How’d that be? I’d make a will an’ leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, ’cause I ain’t got no relatives nor nothing.” (p.59) In this book most of the people had no one to share their life with as intimately as George, Lennie, Candy and his dog did, leaving themselves with a void which they tried to fill in. Take for example, Curley’s wife. She had a husband, but he was never there to spend time with her, so she went in search of someone to talk to. What Curley’s wife needed was a companion or a friend which she could spend her life with because even though she was beautiful, she didn’t have anyone to spend her life with, therefore resulting in her unhappiness. “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while? Think I like to stick that house alla time?” (p.77) Through out the book Steinbeck uses many characters to emphasize a message which he wants to get across to us. By looking at the situations which George, Lennie, Candy, and Curley’s wife were in, we can conclude that Steinbeck wrote the book to tell us how important it is to have a friend to share your life with

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