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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Of Mice And Men Book Review

Finding friendship that lasts is not an easy feat but to have one is a rewarding experience, nonetheless. In an idealistic world, friendship is defined by just mere companionship. Thankfully, the world is imperfect. Friendship is a spectrum; it comes in many forms and told in unique ways. Friendship can be built by trust, antagonism, congeniality, or even accident. One thing is common, however, a purpose. The friendship between Lennie and George is simply purposive.

John Steinbeck, Of Mice And Men Book
Image: The TVolution

Of Mice and Men tells the purposive friendship of Lennie and George. George is a practical short man while Lennie is a daft yet lovable, tall bloke. At the beginning of the novella, we find this duo on the way to work at a ranch after an incident with Lennie drove them away from their last workplace. At the ranch, they aspire to make their dreams of ownership into a reality. Although trouble seemed to find them at every turn.

Now that the obligatory short recap is finished, let us proceed to the actual review. If there is any word to describe my thoughts regarding this book, I would say, it is compromising. The book focuses more on the psyche of its characters rather than the story itself. This, in my opinion, made us closer to the characters. We might say their actions are just human since they make constant mistakes and struggled to rectify them.

You might inquire about the frequent use of the word purpose or purposive. We know that George and Lennie work to earn. In working efficiently, the brain and brawn must complement. George is the brain while Lennie is the brawn. It is hard not to miss the attention to detail since the author purposively reminds how their friendship flourished despite the problems that ensued. This brings me to my next point, the foreshadowing.

John Steinbeck, Of Mice And Men Book
Image: Good Reads

For a short book with 118 pages (depending on what edition you have), the personalities are well developed. Each key player has personalities adapted from the seven deadly sins. George is slothful, Lennie is wrathful, Crooks is greedy, Candy is envious, Curly is glutton, his wife is lustful, and Slim is prideful This foreshadowed each character's response and circumstantial reaction. Their interactions seemed to foreshadow their allegiance in the grim ending. Case-in-point, a certain character backstory hinted at the oncoming betrayal. This by no means made the betrayal any less shocking.

At this point, let us remind ourselves why this book stood the test of time. The book is relatively easy to read. The directness made the story easy to follow. Each character quirks made them human and compelling to root for. This book reminded us of a simpler time and gave us a more optimistic view of work. This book also merited from fleshing the characters with a decisive payoff. The biggest selling point, however, is its depiction of class struggle and free-will.

For all its merit, it is hard to ignore the limitations of the time. For the more critical generation of today, they might find the terminologies used triggering and offensive. Crooks represents the typical black man of America and its alarming how he was called out by a “Karen” (a white female supremacist) to know his place and he simply abided. On top of racism was sexism. Females were expected to stay-at-home for fear of being called a tramp for conversing with other men. Take this line from the novella: “why'n't you tell her to stay the hell home where she belongs”.

John Steinbeck, Of Mice And Men Book
Image: Pinterest

To conclude, the novella counts among the best literature of all-time. Its influence is felt across different media platforms with great significance in the academe. The book was translated to various languages and was adapted to a feature film that appended its contemporary relevance. Despite its obvious problems, it has depicted class struggle bowing with the message that to dream is free and we hold the power to make it into reality.


Written by Joshua Rodriguez, IFY Books

Greetings fellow book and pop-culture enthusiast! I am your average young adult that loves to read science fiction (SF), general fiction and occasionally, young adult novels and children’s literature. At my spare time you may find me watching Star Trek and Doctor Who or updating my library with the latest shows from streaming giants such as Netflix and Hulu. I devote most of my time in learning, critiquing, and researching. If you want to know more, go check out my reviews!

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