Review: Of Mice and Men

mice and menTitle: Of Mice and Men

Author: John Steinbeck

Cove Copy: “An intimate portrait of two men who cherish the slim bond between them and the dream they share in a world marred by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. Clinging to each other in their loneliness and alienation, George and his simple-minded friend Lenny dream, as drifters will, of a place to call their own — a couple of acres and a few pigs, chickens, and rabbits back in Hill Country where land is cheap. But after they come to work on a ranch in the fertile Salinas Valley of California, their hopes, like “the best laid schemes of mice and men,” begin to go awry.”

My thoughts: When I first read Of Mice and Men I was fifteen and studying it for my Junior Certificate in secondary school. That was almost ten years ago now and to be honest although I remembered the general plot I had forgotten what a powerful and exceptionally well written story Steinbeck had created.

The literary genius of this novel rests on the relationship between the two main characters, Lennie and George, from their friendship to their shared desire of owning their own farm in a time when hope was at an all time low. Lennie and George are two very different characters that stick together through all the challenges that life throws at them and this unbreakable bond of friendship creates a very endearing basis for this novel.

It is made abundantly clear that George’s life would be easier if he didn’t travel with Lennie but his unwavering loyalty and desire to do what’s best for his disadvantaged friend is one of the most heart warming plot points in this novel. Throughout the story the damning sense of an inability to be free from their troubles plagues Lennie and George but the reader is given a reprieve towards the end when the ultimate price is paid for peace.

Favourite Quotes:

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”

“Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place….With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us.”

“I can still tend the rabbits, George? I didn’t mean no harm, George.”
Final Thoughts:
Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is a classic piece of literature that primarily focuses on the strength of friendship between two farm labourers in America during the depression but looking beyond that there are elements of social commentary on the time, some of which still translate. As a stand alone novel this is worth every reader’s attention at least once.

2 thoughts on “Review: Of Mice and Men

  1. Making me want to re-read this. I still remember vividly Mrs. Kirtley’s English class, how much I cared about this book. It was the first paper I really enjoyed writing.

    • I love that this triggers a memory for you! It is well worth a re-read, I think it is one of those books that every time you read it you learn a little more from it.

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