Men and Mice.
Literature Criticism Essay In essence, Of Mice and Men is a novella about dreams and aspirations. John Steinbeck sets the novel linked to the American Dream during the 1930s Great Depression, when high unemployment made plenty of poor drifters struggle in California with a naive assumption of starting a new life by owning a small piece of land. The two mostly represented characters under that background, George and Lennie, who are itinerant workers from California searching for work on ranches in Soledad, share an innocent dream of “live off the fatta the Ian” (14). Hence, dreams re integrated with hope, reality, and fate.
Firstly, as a true reflection of the 1930s Great Depression in American, the story suggests that the nature of human dreams is a hope to escape from grim reality with the integral point of being independent and living happily. By creating dreams, the life is infused with a driving motive of ambition; while, without dreams and aspirations, life would lack direction and meaning, which is possible to make human sinking into despair. To George and Lennie, the dream of having a small acreage farm means Joys of self dependence, ecurity, and being their own boss, like: “we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens.
And when it rains in the winter, we ‘II Just say the hell with goin to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof”Nuts! ” (14-15) Through the comparison to other ranch hands, George recognizes that he cannot simply accept such a meaningless life with the grind and poverty of working on ranch, as George described in the book: “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 ain’t got nothing to look ahead to. “(13-14) This makes George believe that Lennie and him are in a unique situation, because they share a “symbiotic relationship” ( Halyersmcq) by depending each other to provide a sense of yearning for a small land to dwell in happiness, after their enduring hardship on ranch. So, this is why George claims that “With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. ” (14) Secondly, through Lennie ‘s killing of Curleys wife which eventually results in their dream lost,
Steinbeck shows his audience that Just simply having and sharing a dream is not enough to bring it to reality, due to the unavoidable obstacles. Each person must be aware that obstacles against their dream tend to be difficult but not insurmountable, as long as they work hard and focus entirely on the eventual objective; otherwise, the dream would be never within reach, or even crushed by the cruel world. The intellectual handicap of Lennie limits the possibility of achieving their dream, which makes George feel that it is always hard to keep Lennie out of trouble and keep them on track for dream.
As a result, Lennie’s innocent preoccupation with touching soft objects becomes the undoing of their dream in the end. In the story, when Lennie strokes the hair of Curley’s wife by irritating herself, he tries to make her calm with yelling that “Oh! Please don’t do none of that, George gonna say I done a bad thing. He ain’t gonna let me tend no rabbits. “(91), but finally Lennie unintentionally kills her of did that. George’ll be mad. “(92) At this point, it is the seeming desire of Lennie to keep dream safe but actually his fixation on the hair of Curley ‘s wife that destroys heir dream eventually.
Therefore, this irony also confirms the ultra negative assertion from Crooks, who is a black stable-hand in the novel, that it is as impossible for ranch hands to get as a piece of land. “l seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ that same damn thing in their heads. Hundreds 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 Ian’. I read a plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s Just in their head.
The’re all the time talkin’ about it, but it’s Jus’ in their head. “(74) Thirdly, the idea that dream is to a large extent reigned over by the philosophy of fate is reinforced in the story. Steinbeck hints to the reader that “fate keeps you set where you are, and no matter what you do, fate will keep you controlled by what is available to you in your life style. “(Haylersmcq) In the story, because George and Lennie are unable to enjoy their position in the ranch all the ime, they desire to own a piece of land and start a new life; but yet fate is against them and breaks their dream, when the goal seems Just within their grasp.
Then, George and Lennie are “once again stuck where they had started, with nothing. ” (Haylersmcq) Perhaps, this ending makes George to some extent perceive that their dream is bound to be a failure regardless how much effort they make, due to the uncontrolled fate. So, this is why he says softly to Candy at the end of story that “”l think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we’d never do her. He usta like o hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would. (94) However, another main character, Slim, who is known as “the prince of the ranch” (33), seems different from George and Lennie in the story, because he is not enslaved by dreams; instead, he shows his happiness and satisfaction on working as a mule skinner in the ranch. Steinbeck’s depiction on Slim makes him a bit of a perfectionist with charismatic personality and excellent skills, as: “… capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line to the leaders. He was capable of killing a fly on the heeler’s butt with a bull whip without touching the mule.
There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. His authority was so great that his word was taken on my subject, be it politics or love. This was Slim, the Jerkline skinner. ” (33) It allows us to see that Slim is one of those odd and rare individuals who are able to find and accept their position in the work and life, instead of to challenge the fate, because the nature of this acceptance is a kind of inner peace which could let people have a clear vision of what they want to get (Mwestwood).
To conclude, in Of Mice and Men, dreams are integrated with hope, reality, and fate. The nature of dreams is a hope but there are still obstacles to overcome in reality. In addition, dreams are controlled by the fate, which is always so irresistible and unchallenged that to accept your position in the world is more important than to have a dream. Reference List 1 . Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguim, 1993. 2. Hylersmcq. Characters dreams for a better life within mice and men? Web. Jan 28, 2012. 3. Mwestwood. Why doesn ‘t Slim share other men ‘s dreams in Of Mice and Men?