Morality about uncontrollable power in the novel Of Mice and Men
In his novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck addresses several aspects of life around 1937, when the book was released. He talks about racism by using vulgar language, this is one of the many areas of contention when it comes to this novel. The book focuses on two friends, George Milton, an intelligent fellow – despite his lack of education – and Lennie Small, who is endowed with great physical strength. Lenny is mentally disabled and George acts as his guide and protector during many interactions with other people.
The two have a dream to own a farm and each has ideas on how they would make the most out of their land. Lennie likes small animals and he intends to keep a few. The problem is, whenever he interacts with them, he ends up killing them. The extent of his physical strength is sometimes lost on him and he hurts the things he wants to love.
George and Lenny make their way to California to look for new opportunities during the great depression. They get employment under Curley, who is not too pleased by Lennie’s strength. Curley is intentional about establishing his power and continually picks on Lennie. At one time, he attempts to hit him, but his attack on this strong man only leaves Curley hurt. Lennie defends himself and breaks Curley’s hand and George is proud of him for standing up for himself, he encourages it.
While Curley cannot stand Lennie, his wife is a tad bit too interested in the man. Curley’s wife constantly flirts with Lennie as she is intrigued by his physique and strength. Lennie, on the other hand, is somewhat attracted to her. This attraction and flirtation is eventually the cause of both their deaths.
Writing about Of Mice and Men
This novel has received intense criticism for many factors, especially its use of racist slurs. Although these words are unwelcome and unacceptable in modern-day language, they reflect the language used in the past. In the novel, Curley’s wife walks into a conversation between Crooks, a black handyman. She speaks recklessly and suggests that Crooks deserves to be lynched.
The extremity of her sentiment is a reflection of aspects in 1937. Students writing about Of Mice and Men often grapple with the idea of depicting reality at the expense of disrespecting people’s humanity. These racial slurs can be found in some essays and Of Mice and Men examples. However, many explanations “Of Mice and Men” essays manage to make a clear-cut distinction between what should and can be said and what is inappropriate. The fact that the conversations in the novel depict past reality does not mean an abandonment of the knowledge one has on the harm of using racist language. Those who need to write a paper on the book should explore some of these examples to get a clear picture of what to include in their essays.
Lessons from Lennie’s death
George takes care of Lennie, the one time he isn’t there, Lennie kills a puppy and Curley’s wife. As Lennie was patting a dog, he kills it, then, Curley’s wife walks in and is intrigued by his strength. So, she asks him to run his fingers through her hands. At some point, Lennie’s strength presents itself. She panics and so does he. He accidentally breaks her neck and runs away.
On coming back to the ranch, George sees the corpse and he goes to the one spot he knew Lennie would be. George kills his friend as a way to protect him from himself. Lennie’s strength was a burden to everyone around him. He did not realise the extent of his power and did not acknowledge the harm it could do.
The book depicts history but also applies to reality. Many people, young and old, forget their potential or overlook it. In essence, Lennie’s character’s philosophy shows that the wrong use of power and its misdirection could lead to more harm than good. The book has been adapted to a film, The Green Mile. The lessons unfold with a similar conclusion.
The editorial unit