How Does Steinbeck Create Sacrifice In Of Mice And Men

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Throughout life, a person is forced to make difficult decisions, made difficult by the fact that no choice seems distinctly right or wrong. What should one do if any choice leads to inevitable pain and sacrifice? This dilemma appears in John Steinbeck's famous novella, Of Mice and Men, a riveting narrative of great friendship and sacrifice. The story revolves around George Milton and his intellectually disabled friend Lennie Small, two stray migrant ranch workers working towards a dream of peace and stability amidst the Great Depression. The two spend most of the novel working on a ranch in Soledad, California. Their hopes of acquiring a ranch of their own are put to an end when Lennie, unaware of his strength, kills the wife of the ranch owner’s …show more content…

The novella reveals that George and Lennie lost their previous job in the town of Weed because Lennie tried to touch the soft fabric of a girl’s dress. George explains, “So he [Lennie] reaches out to feel this red dress an’ the girl lets out a squawk, and that gets Lennie all mixed up, and he holds on ‘cause that’s the only thing he can think to do.” (41). The girl misinterprets Lennie’s intentions and tells the authorities she was raped. Lennie’s inability to control his actions turns him into a wanted criminal and hampers both his and George’s efforts to live a comfortable life. Lennie's most atrocious crime is the death of Curley's wife. Curley is the ranch owner’s son. Oblivious to her demise, Curley's wife invites Lennie to touch her soft hair. Lennie, being obsessed with anything soft, eagerly pets her hair in a harsh manner. Curley’s wife screams at Lennie to let go of her hair, causing Lennie to cover her mouth in an effort to quiet her out of panic. Their struggle leads to Lennie unintentionally killing her, with Curley’s wife described as becoming “...still, for Lennie had broken her neck.” (91). This event proves that although Lennie has innocent intentions, he can’t regulate his strength. Because of this, there is little he can do to restrain himself from accidentally harming anybody. By shooting Lennie, George prevents him from committing similar crimes in the …show more content…

Prior to his death, Lennie’s conscience berates him for the harm he caused. He sees mirages, scolding him for making George’s life difficult and belittling him for his incapacity to remember things. Their words instill a sense of remorse so intense that Lennie “moaned with grief”(101). Lennie’s death allows him freedom from the guilt of his crimes. After catching up to him, George describes their dream of owning a ranch to Lennie for the final time. Afterward, George instructs Lennie to “‘Look down there acrost the river, like you can almost see the place.’” (106). By doing so, George lets Lennie live his dream before he dies, a dream that Lennie would not be able to attain if kept alive. George allows Lennie to die blissfully ignorant and free from guilt, spending his last moments living his dream alongside his best

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