OF MICE AND MEN - John Steinbeck PDF


"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck is a poignant novella that delves into the lives of two displaced ranch workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, during the Great Depression. George is small and wiry with a sharp mind, while Lennie is large and strong but mentally disabled. The two share a deep bond of friendship, united by their shared dream of one day owning their own piece of land. This dream gives them hope and a sense of purpose, setting them apart from the other lonely and aimless itinerant workers they encounter.

Upon arriving at a new ranch near Soledad, California, George and Lennie encounter a variety of characters, each with their own struggles and aspirations. Candy, an old and disabled ranch hand, fears being discarded as he ages and sees a potential future in George and Lennie’s dream. Curley, the boss’s aggressive and insecure son, immediately dislikes Lennie and looks for ways to assert his dominance. Curley’s wife, who remains unnamed, is lonely and craves attention, revealing her own shattered dreams of a different life. Slim, the respected mule driver, serves as a voice of reason and understanding amidst the harsh environment of the ranch.

The fragile hope that George and Lennie nurture is constantly threatened by the reality of their circumstances and Lennie’s inability to control his own strength. Tensions reach a breaking point when Curley picks a fight with Lennie, resulting in Lennie crushing Curley’s hand in a defensive reaction. This incident sets off a chain of events that highlight the precariousness of their situation. Despite this, the vision of their own farm becomes more tangible when Candy offers his life savings to join them, providing a brief glimmer of possibility.

The turning point of the novella occurs when Lennie accidentally kills a puppy, foreshadowing a greater tragedy. Curley’s wife, seeking companionship, confides in Lennie about her lost dreams. In a moment of panic and confusion, Lennie unintentionally kills her, leading to devastating consequences. Realizing the severity of the situation, Lennie flees to a hiding spot by the river, as George had instructed him to do in times of trouble.

In the climax, George faces an agonizing decision as a lynch mob, led by Curley, seeks to exact brutal revenge on Lennie. Finding Lennie first, George decides to spare him from the mob’s violence by shooting him in a final act of compassion. He comforts Lennie with their shared dream in his last moments, providing a sense of peace before pulling the trigger. The novella concludes with George left alone, grappling with the loss of his friend and the shattered dream that once gave them hope. Slim’s understanding and consolation underscore the moral complexity of George’s actions, highlighting the themes of friendship, sacrifice, and the harsh realities of the human condition.


 



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