Essay, Research Paper: Of Mice And Men By Steinbeck Report

Literature: Steinbeck

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The novel Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is about two ranch hands, George
and Lennie. George is a small, smart-witted man, while Lennie is a large,
mentally- handicapped man. They are trying to raise enough money to buy their
own ranch, by working as ranch hands. During the setting of the story, they are
at a ranch whose owner’s name is Curley. It is in this setting that the novel
reveals that the main theme is death and loss. Lennie accidentally killing all
of his pets establishes that the theme of this novel is death and loss. These
pets consist of mice, dogs, kittens, etc. Lennie loves to feel and pet animals,
but he does not know his own strength. He kills them without really noticing
what he has done, until George tells him that he did something wrong. After
being scolded, Lennie is very remorseful about what he did. Once, after being
yelled at Lennie says, “I pinched their heads a little and then they was dead-
because they were so little (13).” Lennie’s remorse is probably more for
upsetting George than it is for actually killing the animal. Another way that
death and loss is evidenced by this novel is when Lennie killed Curley’s wife.
When Lennie is in the barn (after killing his new puppy) Curley’s wife came
into the barn and came on to Lennie. Lennie not knowing what was happening let
her lull him into touching her hair. To Lennie it was like petting any other
animal. Curley’s wife became flustered when Lennie became scared and would not
let go of her hair. She started to scream and Lennie tried to cup her mouth,
which concluded in him killing her. Lennie was truly remorseful after this
action. Soon after killing her Lennie can be heard saying to himself, “I done
a bad thing. I done another bad thing (121).” The final confirmation of the
death and loss theme occurred to George, not Lennie. After going to the place
where George had told him to go if anything went wrong, Lennie lays and waits in
the brush for George to come get him. What Lennie wasn’t expecting was George
to come with a posse of ranch hands with him. The ranch hands were not quite
there, when George shot Lennie in the back of the head to save him the pain the
posse would do to him. After he shot him “the brush seemed filled with cries
(140)”, which symbolizes the loss of George after shooting Lennie. This was a
truly great loss for him since Lennie was his best friend. Of Mice and Men is a
very sad and depressing story that contains many deaths of many living
creatures. Many people had a loss from these deaths, especially George. He had
to shoot his best friend. This can possibly be the greatest loss of all, because
without friends, where would we be?
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