The Survival Game in Harsh Conditions: Of Mice and Men

Length: 12 Pages 3036 Words

THE SURVIVAL GAME IN HARSH CONDITIONS: OF MICE AND MEN, BY JOHN STEINBECK To A Mouse (Robert Burns, 1759-96) Wee, sleeket, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,... ... But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promis'd joy. Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me! The present only toucheth thee: But, och! I backward cast my e'e On prospects drear! An' forward, tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear! The title of Steinbeck’s novel, taken from the poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, leads us directly to what happens to the two main characters of the novel: no matter how hard they try their plans to reach a successful ending, they always fail to become true. Clinging to each other in their loneliness and alienation, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie dream, as drifters will, of a place to call their own. But after they come to work on a ranch in the Salinas Valley their hopes, like "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men," begin to go awry. Of Mice and Men is set in the farmland of the Salinas valley, where John Steinbeck was born. Steinbeck's father owned land in the area, and Continue...


But characters like Crooks and Curley's wife serve as reminders that George and Lennie are not different from anyone who wants something of his or her own. as a young man Steinbeck had worked helping in the farm. Like the characters' dreams go awry, their bodies show imperfection; nature commits mistakes in her creatures, and whatever the cause is, these physical deformities occur regardless of the person's desire to be different, just like their dreams are unfulfilled no matter how hard they try. (page 41) They grew up together, when Lennie's aunt died he promised to take care of him and, in a way, I sense that George admires Lennie's faithfulness towards him, and this creates a bond and a responsibility that is sometimes as strong, if it is not more, as friendship. It is very interesting because, on the one hand, he never asks Lennie to play cards with him, nor any other of the men that live in the bunk with him, and because, on the other hand, this game represents the loneliness of the characters in the novel, and specially it stands for George's solitude; he states in different moments of the story that he would manage much better without the burden of his friend Lennie. Their desires may not seem so unfamiliar to any other American: a place of their own, the opportunity to work for themselves and harvest what they seed, with no one to take anything from them or give them orders. In this sense, Steinbeck portrays American society as one that disposes of what it considers not useful any more. Thousands of people made their way to California to escape from their farmlands in the mid-West. 00 a day, as well as food and very basic accommodation, as we can see in the bunkhouse of the farm were they are living in the novel. Candy is emotionally attached to the dog, like George is to Lennie, but in the end he has no other option but to see him killed. PLOT SUMMARY Two migrant workers, George and Lennie, lead their way to a California farm where they have to start a new work. Hard work, loneliness, death or physical and mental burdens are all masterly dealt with in these few pages, and every analysis of the different aspects of the novel give light to a world of possibilities that help the reader understand a very harsh period of America's history. During this time, when unemployment was a very serious problem in the United States, agencies were set up under the New Deal to send farm workers where they were needed.