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John Steinbeck of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck called his novel about migratory farmhands during The Great Depression. The title Of Mice and Men is Steinbeck alluding to Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse “. Burn states “the best laid plains of mice and mean oft go awry “.

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Therefore there are many reasons why this quote can relate to the relationship of George and Lennie and also others of this book. Here are my three main reasons why this quote is the main idea of the story and why Steinbeck’s message is true about the real world. First of all, the simplest reason is that George and Lennie’s best laid plans went awry.

Lennie and George want to work on the ranch in the hopes of making enough money to buy their own farm, where they can be independent and in charge of their own destiny and rabbits. With the certainty of payment, it seems the pair will get what they’ve hoped for all along. While this is something we can call the plan stage, it has a bit of a twist, hinted at by the way George tells Lennie and us as the reader of their dream. The story of the little farm, with the rabbits and vegetable patch and so on, is less like a plan and more like a fairy tale.

The dream-like unreal quality of their dream doesn’t assure well for the hope that it will ever come true. Lennie and George learn that Candy would like to live on the farm, too; he can even offer three hundred dollars toward its purchase which is his life support money. Everyone is very excited at the possibility of the dream actually coming true. With the entrance of Candy’s money into the story, it seems like the dream could come true after all. Candy has three hundred dollars to contribute, and George even knows the couple he’d buy the land from.

As Lennie smiles to himself about the possibility of the ranch, Curley is on the prowl for his wife and a fight. He thinks Lennie is laughing at him or wants to fight him and begins to punch the big guy. Lennie is horrified and does nothing until George urges him to fight back. Lennie promptly reduces Curley to a crying little man with a mangled hand. Slim makes sure Lennie and George are protected from getting in trouble, but it’s clear that working on the ranch will be a lot more complicated from now on.

Lennie accidentally kills his own puppy, and then accidentally kills Curley’s wife. If Curley was waiting for Lennie to slip-up, he needs to wait no longer. Though Lennie doesn’t at all mean to kill Curley’s wife, this act pretty much decides his fate. Any promise of safety or happiness he had on the dream farm is over. Now we’re certain Lennie will have to pay for what he’s done, one way or another. George realizes that if Lennie is to go with any dignity or comfort, it’s up to George to take his friend out himself.

Although this means the literal destruction of Lennie, in killing his friend, George gives Lennie the happiest ending he could have. George has to face the sarcastic loneliness of the open road. George describes to Candy the life he’ll have without Lennie: it’s a future made of whorehouses and pool halls – places where lonely men stay lonely. Worse than just losing a friend by accident, George’s act seems to kill any last hope that the loneliness of the open road could ever be beaten. Without Lennie, George has nothing that makes him different from the other sad wanderers.

He’s lost his best friend, and along with losing Lennie, George has also lost his dreams. The plan become very awry obviously. Secondly, Steinbeck’s characters are often powerless, due to intellectual, economic, and social circumstances. Lennie possesses the greatest physical strength of any character, which therefore establishes a sense of respect as he is employed as a ranch hand. However, his intellectual handicap undercuts this and results in his powerlessness. Economic powerlessness is established as many of the ranch hands are victims of the Great Depression.

As George, Candy and Crooks are positive, action- oriented characters, they wish to purchase a homestead, but because of the Depression, they are unable to generate enough money. Lennie is the only one who is basically unable to take care of him, but the other characters would do this in the improved circumstances they seek. Since they can not do so, the real danger of Lennie’s mental handicap comes to the fore. Lastly, Most of all Steinbeck clearly believes The American Dream cannot always be considered as happiness, love, peace, etc.

This is his message to the true real world. In my opinion Steinbeck is saying that sometimes the things you plan don’t succeed and what you think is truly your life longing it turns out to be your worst nightmare or not the real destiny of your life. It’s the thinking man, who can look backwards and forwards, that suffers the most from the awful things he’s done. The last verse is a nice way to think of Lennie and George’s respective fate. Whatever happens to Lennie is done, but George is left to spend the rest of his future thinking of his past deeds. OF Mice and Men Essay By: