Week #9: Of Mice and Men
Recently I’ve focused on contemporary novels, but I took a break this week and read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. A short break, because this novella ran only 100 pages. I’m not sure how I missed this in school - I found two copies in our basement because my brothers read the novella as an assignment. Steinbeck impressed me with his eloquent and powerful simplicity. Migrant workers George and Lennie travel from farm to farm looking for work during the Depression. Lennie’s mild mental disability precludes the pair from finding stable employment; every time they find a new job Lennie gets himself into trouble. The novel opens as the two men travel to their next gig. Initially I was exasperated alongside George every time that Lennie asked a question, but eventually I fell in love with Lennie through George’s eyes. As they begin work at their new job everyone from the boss’ ornery son Curley to the black stable buck Crooks gives Lennie a hard time, but George always stands up to protect his friend. Steinbeck also emphasizes the impossibility of achieving the American dream. The pair fantasizes about owning their own farm and “living offa the fatta the lan’,” a sentiment that resonates with the contemporary American dream of home ownership.