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Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Of Mice and Men"

by John Steinbeck, AF, 1993, c1937, 107p, rating=4

They are an unlikely pair: George is" small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of lonelinss and alienation. Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him. (book cover)

I can see how in literary sense this is a great work of literature.  Indeed it was poignant, methaphorical, and masterfully descriptive.  I just don't like the ending in practicality.  I can see how it ties in with the essence of the craft of the novella but I had a hard time with the tragedy of the book. Taking another life as the solution just didn't sit well with me.  I suppose that would be part of the genius of this book to move someone as such but the era was sad as it was already, why extend a conclusion of defeat?  Ha, I can answer my own question.  I would venture to guess that such a depressive time did call for some to vanquish hope.  I just don't like that message.  I would have liked a happy ending.  But life is not always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows but we need to hear the contrast in order to know that there is better ...ex. the tree of life vs the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9).

For a exceptionally well written review of this book please go to Dark Chest of Wonders.  Jzhun wrote an indepth and compelling look into the literary feel. 


  1. I've loved this book ever since I read it in High School and love seeing what other people think of it. I agree with you, the first time I ever read it I didn't like the ending either.


  2. I had to read this one almost every year in hs. I personally have never enjoyed anything by Steinbeck. They all just seem so depressing.


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