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Feb 27, 2013 07:09 AM 5821 Views



I knew from the beginning that they, George and Lennie, are never going to get their dream realized. How could they? What they dreamt about is quite unachievable. It’s not about the place or the farm; it’s the peace and harmony that their dream promised, which is quite unattainable. No wonder that couple of other characters aspire to be part of the dream, the moment they hear about it. The way George explains and creates a vision of it; and the way Lennie enjoys it , word by word, and become the part of it by imagining themselves in it; anybody could've aspired to be part of their dream.  No reader could deny that, at least I won’t.

‘Of Mice and Men’ – OMAM is the story of two friends, George and Lenny, and their shared dream - a dream of acquiring their own place with farm and cattle. George is a short and quick and intelligent man with quick wit; Lenny however, though huge and strong, is mentally underdeveloped and behaves quite children like. These two are migrant ranch worker and constant companion for quite a long time. In the world of 1920’s Western America, during Great Depression, they keep moving from one place to another in search of work. Lennie is totally dependent on George for all the decisions and follows whatever he says, in quite the same way kids follow their parents. George cares a lot for Lennie for he knows that Lennie is pure at heart.

There is one problem though, Lennie loves to pet animals, like mouse and rabbits, but sometimes, when he gets too excited, he pets them little too hard leading to their death. It’s Ok with animals, but at times he’d done so to human as well, wherein in excitement he’d almost killed them. This time too they are on run, under similar circumstances, escaping from a Ranch.

Now, they are going to another Ranch, looking for work, in a hope to accumulate some money and fulfill their dream. In this place however, they are going to come across people who will change their life completely. There’s Candy, an old sweeper man, who becomes a partner in their dream; then there is Slim, a kind and understanding man, kind of leader whom everyone respects; the cruel boss and his son Curley, Jealous and callous, a possessive man ever doubtful of his wife and kind of hate individuals stronger than himself and he has his eye on Lennie; then there is Curley’s pretty wife, who is tired of her husband and looks for company in the men of Ranch, she’s given no name and is the one to brought miseries for George and Lennie. It’s a far different from no other that they have worked in earlier, but they hope to succeed this time, will they? Read ‘Of Mice and Men’ to know.

Having read Steinbeck so many times I know very well, his way of striking a chord with the reader from the first page itself. It always start with light humor, describing his characters without being too descriptive, but making sure that they find place in reader’s heart; then he brings in their hopes and their dreams and make you emotional and feel for them; and towards the end there is always a tragedy and tears are bound moist the reader’s eyes. Its Steinbeck's writing and his unforgettable characters that make his books real special

I have read better books of Steinbeck, (Tortilla Flat, The Pastures of Heaven, The Pearl) and ‘Of Mice and Men’ falls a little short going by the standards set by my previous read of Steinbeck’s works. There are no CONS to point out though; I enjoyed it as much as any of his other books. Will always remember ‘Of Mice and Men’ for the friendship of George and Lennie, their interactions, innocence and purity of Lennie’s character, tragic climax, most of all I will remember this book for the dream that it talks about and the way the vision of it is created, so promising that anyone could fall for it.

OMAM is Steinbeck’s 1937’s work and was huge success on its release itself. After all the hardship of life – working as a laborer, journalist, caretaker and a Ranch worker (an experience that inspired the story of this book) – Steinbeck got the name, fame and money with success of ‘Tortilla Flat’. In his own words, OMAM is the first book that he wrote dedicatedly and leisurely, giving all the time. It’s a short book of merely 100+ pages and you’ll hardly know when it finishes, in terms of time it takes, but in terms of content, one can hardly forget this tale even year’s afterwards.

Language is quite simple and flow is one-dimensional, and was written in a style that could make it all set to be made into a Play. For this, it was later called as playable Novel. It was huge success in its play format as well as the 3 movies that were made on it.

In OMAM, Steinbeck narrowed his scope, by keeping the minimal number of characters and plots a short one, but the subject that he touched upon is Universal. It was and it is the story of every men. Aren’t we all in search of that dream that place, that peace? It was the dream of men of the labor class of that time; but the world, the time and the circumstances hasn’t changed much then why the dreams will.

After finishing the book, I wondered, why the name, ‘Of Mice and Men’? So googled and the answer lied in the lines of a poem called ‘To a mouse’ by Robert Burns(Steinbeck took the name from), which says “The best laid schemes of mice and men, Go often awry” which quite sum-up the idea behind the book.

P.S: 27th February (Today) marks the 111th Birth Anniversary of John Steinbeck. This review is my tribute to one of my favorite author, books of whom never ceases to amaze me.



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Of Mice And Men - John Steinbeck