Custom essay on Of Mice and MenAugust 18, 2012
George killed Lennie out of hope for a better life Of Mice and Men is considered to be one of the best works, produced by the well-known writer John Steinbeck. The setting of this novel, as well as of most of the rest, the author took from his real life, because he was born in 1902 in Salinas, California. During his teen years he worked a lot in neighboring ranches and knew a lot about people there and their lives. The attitude of critics towards his novel Of Mice and Men was different, some even stated, that his characters are one- dimensional and his plot was too deterministic, which distracted all the attention of the readers from the characters of the novel. In spite of all the critical remarks, Of Mice and Men is by right considered to be a deeply emotional, realistic reflection of the times, which historically got the name – the Great Depression. It reveals the details of lives of poor people, their dreams and struggle for fulfillment of these dreams at any cost. One of the main heroes of the novel – George Milton – was so desperately wishing to reach his aim, to improve his life, that was ready to refuse from his closest person – his friend Lennie Small.
From the very beginning the relations between the two friends- Lennie and George are rather complicated for the readers. The only fact, that Lennie was not quite adequate mentally, already causes misunderstanding why and how George could become so close to him. It is not easy to answer the question, why George was ready to take all the responsibility for a mentally ill giant, be ready to take all the decisions for two, arrange the live of two persons, instead of taking care purely of himself. Maybe, George was trying to help a childish and unadapted to the surrounding world friend. But rather Lennie was his medicine against loneliness and the feeling of isolation: “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place… With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go” (Steinbeck, 10). It was not hard for George to deserve devotion and friendship of Lennie, who was not aggressive or evil inside, all the bad things, which happened to him, were only due to his clumsiness and mental problems and complexes. The main difference from the other men around for George is in the fact, that he has such a close friend, who makes him feel special and supports his self – confidence. The sense of responsibility for Lennie, makes George weighty and important in his own eyes and in the eyes of people around. George was not as lonely as other characters of the story, as Crooks for example, who says: “A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin’ books or thinkin’ or stuff like that. Sometimes he gets thinkin’, an’ he got nothing to tell him what’s so an’ what ain’t so. Maybe if he sees somethin’, he don’t know whether it’s right or not. He can’t turn to some other guy and ast him if he sees it too. He can’t tell. He got nothing to measure by” (Steinbeck, 39). Only at the end of the story, George started to realize, how dangerous might be Lennie for his dream of having his own rancho and developing the mode of life, he was so long waiting for. This dream, which seems to be the same for both friends, in reality is not limited only to having rabbits for George in contrast to Lennie. He is looking for much more in his life, including financial and moral independence.
Although Lennie is one of the center characters of the novel, he is not dynamic, there are no changes in his personality or views, from the very beginning of the narration and till the end he remains helpless and innocent. Lennie is not able to resist in the cruel world around him, he is not able to avoid the dangerous situations with Curley and his wife, his vision of the future are so pared-down and unreal, that this character evokes the feeling of sympathy of the readers. However the sympathy of his friend – George – is often substituted by anger, because the foolish things done by Lennie, built obstacles on the way towards fulfillment of George’s dream. On the one hand the childish enthusiasm of Lennie concerning the possibility to buy a farm and to build prosperous future sometimes excites George and his dream becomes morereal for him ““S’pose they was a carnival or a circus come to town, or a ball game, or any damn thing.” Old Candy nodded in appreciation of the idea. “We’d just go to her,” George said. “We wouldn’t ask nobody if we could. Jus’ say, ‘We’ll go to her,’ an’ we would. Jus’ milk the cow and sling some grain to the chickens an’ go to her.”(Steinbeck, 25). On the other hand he is really disrupted by Lennie’s physical strength, combined with lack of intelligence and thus ability to get into constant troubles.
Some critics state, that George killed Lennie out of mercy towards his friend and trying to protect him from people’s anger and lynching. In reality it is not so easy to define the inner motives of the George’s act. This is possible, that he just gave vent to his despair and loss of hope for better life, maybe somewhere deep inside George realized, that keeping Lennie by his side would never let him come closer to his dream, because Lennie was a constant trouble.
Overall, Of Mice and Men is a vivid presentation of the lives of usual people during the Great Depression, the reflection of their dreams and groundlessness of these dreams in reality. It tells us the story of emotional bonds and isolation, of sincerity and friendship, which can be so easily lost in hectic and cruel world.