RTL- Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

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 In Of Mice and Men, a novel by John Steinbeck, two men named George Milton and Lennie Small travel together heading toward a ranch where they have secured jobs as laborers. George has to take care of his friend, who “has the mind of a young child”, yet is huge in size. Lennie doesn’t know his own strength, and the problems he faces on the ranch ultimately lead to the death of the boss’ daughter-in-law. When the boss’s son wants to go hunt Lennie down, George decides that he must kill his companion himself mercifully, rather than let him face the boss’s son, Curley, who has disliked Lennie since he first came to the ranch.

Lennie’s condition was very unusual and not everyone understood that. Lennie had no capability of taking good care of himself. George had grown to care for his gentle giant of a friend, because despite his forgetfulness and sluggish mind, Lennie is very kind and sweet natured. “ ‘I can see Lennie ain’t a bit mean…He’s jes’ like a kid, ain’t he.’” remarked one of the ranch hands. However, the giant’s strength was considerable, and his

“’…want[ing] to touch ever’thing he likes’” is what causes a huge problem and leads to Curley’s wife dead.

            Lennie had done something similar at the ranch where the two had previously had jobs: he wanted to touch the dress of a girl on the ranch, but he scared her, and the ranch hands chased George and Lennie off the grounds. George knows that Lennie had no bad intentions; he just doesn’t know how to handle himself. But George can’t do anything about it, because he cannot watch his friend all the time; he still has to work. Still, George tries and tries to tell Lennie what not to do. He’s watching out for him, because it may not seem obvious, but he has Lennie’s best interests in mind. He doesn’t want anything bad to happen to him like last time.

            Not long after the two settled down at the new ranch, their roommate, an old man named Candy, agreed to let two others shoot his dog that was getting too old. But after he heard the gunshot, he said something that George remembered. “’I oughtta of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t oughtta of let no stranger shoot my dog.’” After Lennie killed Curley’s wife, and the ranch hands were going to go hunt him down, and Curley was going to shoot him, maybe this is what George was thinking. He shouldn’t let anybody else shoot Lennie but him.

            In a world where times are hard, George did the right thing. He proved that he cared more about Lennie than he did about himself. He could have left the unpleasant and heartbreaking task of killing Lennie to Curley, who most certainly would have done it. But George’s reasoning is that he should do it to spare Lennie. Life would always be hard for a person like Lennie, and along with Lennie’s mishaps, it was better to let him out of this life rather than have him suffer at the hands of a cruel world. Not everyone would have done what George did, maybe because they’re not that brave, maybe because they don’t think it would be the right thing to do. But George did. He really believed, and that is what matters, because he’s the one that did it, not anybody else.

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Comments

Mangofish did a good job briefing the story of George and Lenny. He(she) also tried to reason what triggered George to make the decision at the end to kill lenny himself.  I guess the reviewer would agree that I am not very sure what deeper meaning is there of the book beyond the decision of ending the life of someone you love, but this is one thing that stood out form the book to me that made me wonder. The reviewer thinks George did the right thing. But I thought he had another option. That is to take Lenny away to a different place again. But I guess George was tired of doing that.

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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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