How Does Steinbeck Exemplifies The Cruel Reality In Of Mice And Men

1097 Words5 Pages

The novella “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck exemplifies the cruel reality of the world that shapes beautiful dreams and then tragically crushes them. It follows two friends, Lennie and George, trying to get by in the Great Depression of the 1930s in Salinas Valley, California. Lennie is mentally challenged but a strong worker, and George is little but intelligent, so they come together to make a solid team; however, Lennie tends to get into trouble due to his childlike mind and his love for all things fluffy. They make what little money they have by traveling from job to job and working at each one for a short time, but they have always dreamed of buying a small ranch that they can sustain themselves on instead of having to be migrant …show more content…

He cares deeply about Lennie, but whenever he does something naive or frustrating, George blows up and tells him how much of a burden he is. Steinbeck writes, “‘God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an’ work, an’ no trouble,’” (Steinbeck 11). This is George’s response to Lennie's joking about wanting some ketchup to go with his beans, displaying his youthful nature which is so aggravating to George. Despite all this, George feels like he is responsible for Lennie, as he lost his Aunt Clara whom he knew, and had to take him in afterward. He knows that Lennie would not be able to survive without him, so he stays to take care of him. George longs for an independent life, but his guilt for the possibilities of what could happen to Lennie holds him back from achieving …show more content…

George does not want Lennie to die, but he knows he will either way, and Curley’s wrath would be a much more agonizing way for him to go than a quick painless shot to the head in a nice location with his best friend. Before leaving to shoot Lennie, George confesses to Candy that Lennie’s optimism about the ranch dream had convinced him that it was possible too. Steinbeck describes, “‘He pulled the trigger…Lennie jarred, and then settled slowly forward to the sand, and he lay without quivering,’” (Steinbeck 106). As Lennie died, so did any lingering hope that a simpler and better life was out there. Having the dream of living alone and free did not even come close to making up for the memory of being forced to kill his best friend George now had to live with for the rest of his life and being stuck traveling from job to job forever and blowing his paychecks as quickly as he got them. Additionally, on Lennie’s part, although the last thing George said to him before he died was a retelling of their ranch plan, he would never make it to see that dream become a reality. Both friends had their fantasies ruined, Lennie by the taking of his life and George by being the one who had to take

Open Document