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TITLE: Of Mice and Men
AUTHOR: John Steinbeck
Overall: ★★★★★ (4.33)
A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression.
They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.
Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.
“A thriller, a gripping tale . . . that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick.” —The New York Times
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The Critical Points:
I picked up this book because of a recommendation by one of my youtube viewers. So, if you haven’t checked out my youtube reviews, make sure you check out the page HERE.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, was originally published in 1937. A lot has changed in literature and society since 1937…
With that said, let’s get into the guts of this story and my opinion of it. Just a warning… there will be spoilers in this review.
WRITING: Of Mice and Men is a classic, read in many high schools across the country, although I don’t believe I ever read it in school. Although I never read the novel, until now, I had read the play while studying theatre in college.
I can understand why the novel received the Nobel Prize in Literature, but I have to admit that it wasn’t my favorite of Steinbeck’s novels. The writing style, although probably a good example of the time period, was choppy and repetitive. I found the excessive foul language to be distracting and often unnecessary.
STORY: The story is beautiful. It is the relationship between two men, George and Lennie, an unlikely pair of friends. George takes care of Lennie, who is mentally challenged, as they travel the country looking for work on farms. Their goal… or rather, their dream, is to one day own some land of their own. However, Lennie is continually getting into trouble causing them to have to pick up and move at a moment’s notice, which in turn makes it difficult for them to save up the money for the land they hope to purchase.
CHARACTERS: George is a small, caring man, who looks after Lennie like he is more than just a friend, as if he is a brother. Lennie is a rather large and very strong, mentally challenged man who doesn’t know his own strength. He doesn’t know how to think for himself and as a result relies on George to tell him what to do and how to react to situations. When left to his own devices, Lennie reacts physically and is unable to control himself, hence killing the mice he keeps hidden in his pocket, or the puppy he so desperately wanted to pet. Although, it isn’t until he kills his boss’ wife that George realizes that he has to stop covering for Lennie and make the hard decision of letting him go.
The final scene of the book is heart wrenching, emotionally draining, and sad. It was also predictable, but that didn’t in any way dampen the emotional affect of the scene when reading it.
MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“I seen hunderds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads. Hunderds of them. They come, an’ they quit an’ go on; an’ every damn one of em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head.” ~ Of Mice and Men
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