Monday, February 27, 2012

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" which took me all of two days because it's a short novel...probably the shortest on my list. It was a quick read, and a powerful story, although I could tell after reading the first page or two that things were going to end very, very badly, and I certainly was correct in that assumption. The story concerns two migrant ranch workers living in California during the Great Depression. George is a crafty, wiry, and small man, and his sidekick Lennie is a huge man of great physical strength, but who is mentally handicapped. He's not bright at all, and he loves to pet soft things, like puppies and rabbits and mice. He doesn't care if they're alive or dead, which is for the best since he doesn't know his own strength and usually ends up killing whatever he is petting. In fact when the story opens, Lennie is petting a dead mouse that he keeps in his pocket. At the opening, George and Lennie are on their way to a new ranch near Soledad, California in the Central Valley. They had to leave their last job in Weed when Lennie petted a woman's dress because it was soft, and when she started to get mad he got scared and wouldn't let go, so naturally everyone assumed he was trying to rape her. Which he wasn't, because he wouldn't intentionally hurt anyone, he just wanted to pet her soft dress. This is how it goes with Lennie.

George and Lennie have a dream of saving up enough money to buy a small farm and live off the land. This would also give Lennie the chance to raise rabbits to help satisfy his urge to pet soft things. Lennie constantly asks George to tell and retell the story of how they will live on this farm, and it's clearly a powerful dream for both of them.

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