Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck Book Review
The novel of “Of Mice And Men” consists of three themes, Loneliness, Dreams and Anger and Violence. In this essay I will consider the effect and how the anger and violence makes this story gripping. In this thriller John Steinbeck does not only use physical violence but also verbal violence, as a matter of fact verbal violence is used more often. In this explosive tale the first indication of exasperation is shown verbally by George, with the use of blasphemy, when Lennie is drinking from a pool of water from which the water is not running, George says, “Lennie, for God’ sakes don’t drink so much.
” This makes it provocative because it gives a slight indication that the novelette is going to be intense and aggressive. The next incident in which anger and violence plays a cameo is when George is moaning about the charabanc driver, who dropped them off, approximately four miles away from there target and said it’s just down the road, “….
If that bastard bus driver…. he says. ‘Jes’ a little stretch. ‘ God damn near four miles, that’s what it was”. Even though this is also verbal violence using foul language and blasphemy, the reader can feel the tension bubbling up inside this character, and that what makes this an electrifying story.
After a chain of events George all of a sudden detonates and takes all the trauma, building up inside him out and all of it out on Lennie which makes the ‘big pawed’ man snivel. First Lennie neglects where they are going and George constantly has to prompt him, corresponding to that George detects Lennie’s got a inanimate mouse in his pocket but the only reason George is mad at this point is, as the reader finds out later on in the book, Lennie does not know his own strength, even though he loves ‘pettin’ small animals such as mice, he keeps exterminating them, “… You’ve broke it pettin’ it….
you always killed ’em. ” All this about the dead mouse is significant to the manslaughter of Curley’s wife, whom due to the sexist character of the male workers on the ranch has not been given a name. The ensuing incident that makes George just puncture out in anger is when they are having beans for supper, Lennie, like a little child wants ketchup even though there is none, “I like beans with ketchup. ” To which George replies, “well, we ain’t got no ketchup. ” Minutes later Lennie repeats, “I like ’em with ketchup. ” To this juvenile behaviour of Lennie, George bursts open even saying things he regrets later, “….
If I was alone I could live so easy…. No trouble. No mess…. You crazy son-of-a-bitch. You keep me in hot water all the time…. I wisht I could put you in a cage. ” This incident makes it more gripping because before this incident the reader feels tensed and at edge but at this point even though Lennie’s behaviour’s puerile we sympathise for him. But the thing that makes this act enthralling is both the emotions, even though there meanings are totally different join together and mix. Just before the resolution of the first ramification of the book we get a colossal intimation to what is going to emerge ensuing on in the story.
As George and Lennie are perching down eating supper near the pool, George advises Lennie that if he gets in commotion on the ranch then he should come and conceal by a bush nearby, “…. You can remember this place, can’t you? …. Well, look. Lennie -if you jus’ happen to get into trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an’ hide in the brush. ” This expression leaves the reader anxious and wanting to know when Lennie is going to get into trouble and in this way it makes the reader not wanting to put the book down until this event does come and so this is what makes the novel more nail-biting.
The next incident in which there is a mention of violence or hostility is in the start of the second instalment, “…. Ya see the stable buck’s a nigger. ” This incident is when the old swamper, candy is showing George and Lennie there beds and he is describing a few employees who are working at the ranch and at this point they are talking about crooks who’s a stable buck and so this incident shows us that the personas are colour prejudiced and at this point the reader is in mixed emotions, depending on your ethnic background, as I have experienced it myself.
When Curley comes into the bunk house, it’s the inauguration of antagonism between George/Lennie and Curley the ‘boss’s’ flesh, this is when George is speaking sharply with Curley, “S’pose he don’t want to talk?…. We travel together…. Yeah, it’s that way…. He can talk if he wants to tell you anything. ” and this is what Curley says to George in a sharp tone, “Let the big guy talk…. By Christ he’s gotta talk when he’s spoke to. What the hell are you getting’ into it for?…. An’ you wont let the big guy talk, is that it.
” As the reader reads this part of the book they can clearly see the rivalry between the characters arise and so this is what makes the story more stirring. When Curley departs from the bunk house we get notified of what is going to materialized between the tensed characters, “…. I’m scared. You gonna have trouble with that curly guy…. he’s gonna take a sock at you the first chance he gets…. we’re gonna get the can. ” This incident leaves the reader full of sympathy for the two itinerant workers. All the constant emotion swings makes the story an electrifying novelette.
As the scene opens for the commenced of the third constituent, George is delineating his life with Lennie, to Slim, and the perpetual use of foul language and blasphemy manifests how much of their life is congested of violence. “Jesus Christ, I don’t know how we’re gonna get him to sleep in here…. Dumb bastard like he is…. I socked him over the head with a fence picket…. ” As this intercourse goes on the reader gets to comprehend a lot more enlightenment of Lennie and how imbecilic he is, and as it goes on the reader feels more and more condolences for the ‘beast’ and this is what makes the story more of a cliff hanger.
The adjacent circumstance in which vexation and violence play’s a part is the euthanasia of Candy’s ‘old an’a cripple’ dog this also eloquent to the demise of Lennie which arises at the end of the novel. In this incident Candy’s old dog, which his had, since it was a pup is shot, and most of the workers agreed to the fact that it was beneficial to the dog, ” he’s all stiff with rheumatism…. He ain’t no good to himself…. Look Candy. This ol’ dog jus’ suffers hisself… all the time…. he don’t have no fun,…. Well you ain’t being kind to him keepin’ him alive,….
Can’t eat, can’t see, can’t even walk without hurtin. ” All these quotes tell the reader that Candy’s dog was very antediluvian and it’s life was a melancholy, but when Carlson takes the old dog exterior of the bunk house to strafe it, there was silence in the bunk house until they heard the ‘boom’ of the gunshot, the characters in the book try to carry on in their own business and divert the attention of Carlson, but there like for violence and anger overcomes them and they can’t not resist, “What the hell’s takin’ him so long.
” Even if their was a viewer instead of a reader whatching the film, they would not concentrate on what is happening on the screen but would try to listen for the ‘bang’ of the gunshot, as I experienced it whilst whatching the motion picture. The decimation of candy’s dog is like a premonition to what happens to Lennie in the final part of the story. All this fuss about the dog’s shooting is what makes the story more hair rising.
As Carlson comes back after engulfing the old dog, Curley burst into the bunk house looking for his wife, seconds later he goes off into the barn looking for Slim followed by Carlson and Whit as they think there is going to be a conflict, “I guess maybe I’d like to see this… Curley’s just spoilin’ or he wouldn’t start for Slim…. But jus’ the same, he better leave Slim alone. ” this authenticates how much the itinerant workers relish violence.
Whilst rest of the hands have gone to witness an upbringing confrontation, George, Lennie and candy are the only people left in the bunk house. In this affair Lennie shows a lot of verbal violence through his presages, when George mention what they are going to get when they are living ‘offa the fatta the lan’, “…. A couple stripe cats, but you gotta watch out them cats don’t get the little rabbits. ” Lennie reaction with this is an explosion of anger, “you jus’ let ‘ em try to get the rabbits, I’ll break their God damn necks. I’ll ….
I’ll smash ‘ em with a stick. ” This shows how violent Lennie can be even though he’s a ‘dumb bastard’. The cats neck’s that have been mention run parallel to the incident, which happens later on involving Curley’s wife and her neck. This brings up excitement and tension in the reader who can now tell how violent Lennie really is. After a hassle in the barn all four workers, Slim, Carlson, Whit and the ‘boss’s son’, Curley come back in the bunk house remonstrating at this point a fight is imminent as you can tell by the intense action and speech of all the workers.
As Curley is looking to pick up a fight, he chooses his opponent very carefully; first he tries ‘to throw a scare into Slim’ and he couldn’t make it ‘stick’ he then tries Carlson who fights back verbally using threats, “I’ll kick your gad damn head off. ” As he’s distinguishing his next victim he sees Lennie sniggering at him so Lennie becomes the next prey, “What the hell you laughin’ at?…. Come on, ya big bastard. Get up on your feet. No big son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me. ” As Lennie and Curley are fighting instead of stopping the fight George is urging Lennie on “get him, Lennie.
Don’t let him do it”. John Steinbeck uses words like ‘slashed, smashed and slugging’ to describe the fight which makes the fight sound dramatic, the other reason why the fight is very dramatic is that this is the first mention in the book of physical violence and it shows the reader the brute strength of Lennie, and so this is what makes the story even more dramatic. The fist time Crooks comes into the scene he is involved in anger and violence. When Lennie goes into Crooks’ chamber he speaks sourly with Lennie, “You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me.
” In this incident the reader can again see how much of Lennie’s life is in anger and violence, you can see this, when Crooks threatens Lennie by saying George isn’t coming back, “S’pose George don’t come back no more…. I said s’pose George went into town tonight and you never heard of him no more…. Nobody can’t tell what a guy’ll do,… Lets say he want to come back and can’t. S’pose he gets killed or hurt so he can’t come back…. What’ll you do then? ” Lennie who is infuriated as he viscously retaliates, ” Who hurt George? As Lennie demands this he walks dangerously towards Crooks, Crooks sees the danger approaching him and edged back.
This incident builds anxiety into the reader who gats a slight threat of warning that maybe George is really hurt and this is what makes the book more thrilling. The way the scene opens for the next incident which includes anger and violence is, Lennie in the barn holding his accidentally killed puppy, he says, “Why do you got to get killed?…. I didn’t bounce you hard. ” This suddenly reminds him of what George had said to him earlier on in the drama, “But you ain’t gonna get in no trouble, because if you do, I won’t let you tend the rabbits.
” This makes Lennie even more angry as he explodes, “Now maybe George ain’t gonna let me tend the rabbits…. God damn you…. Why do you got to get killed? ” Lennie’s guilt conscious gets the better of him, “This aint no bad thing like I got to hide in the bush…. Maybe George won’t care,…. God damn little son-of-a-bitch wasn’t nothing to George. ” At this point Curley’s wife comes into the barn; this is the incident in which Lennie kills Curley’s wife, as the reader already had got a hint.
He kills her by stroking her hair first as he likes touching soft objects, and then holding on tight and then he shook her holding her hair firmly. The reader knows that Lennie did it accidentally because of Lennie’s panic speech, “Please don’t…. Oh! Please don’t do that. George’ll be mad. Lennie regrets killing Curley’s wife even though he killed her unintentionally, ” I done a bad thing. I done another bad thing. “. When George runs out of the barn to hide in the bush everything goes quiet in the barn, this is a symbol that Curley’s wife is dead.
This incident runs parallel with the earlier incident with the cats because, Lennie says he will break the necks of their ‘future’ cats that try to get between him and their ‘future’ rabbits, but in this incident Curley’s wife is the object that’s coming between Lennie and his dream rabbits. The thing that makes this story, more of a thriller is that the reader is made anxious after not knowing what George will do. When Lennie reaches the bush is mad at himself and regrets ruining his and George’s dream, he says, “I can go right off there an’ find a cave …. an’ never have no ketchup- but I wont care.
If George don’t want … I’ll go away. I’ll go away. ” At this point Lennie’s guilt started playing with him, in his head he sees his Aunt Clara, she lectures him of how Lennie never thinks about George, “You never give a thought to George”. After Aunt Clara was gone from Lennie’s head a gigantic rabbit came and insulted George by saying, “Tend rabbits…. You crazy bastard. You ain’t fit to lick the boots of no rabbits. ” This incident shows the readers that Lennie does have a conscience and it leaves the reader to argue about ‘who is responsible for the death of Curley’s wife’ and that is what makes the story more gripping.
Finally George finds Lennie hiding near the bush, George has made his mind up and he is going to kill Lennie for the benefit of Lennie because of Curley’s violent instructions, “Shoot for his guts. That’ll double’ im over. ” This would make Lennie suffer and Lennie would have a long and painful death. That’s why this incident is primitive to the shooting of Candy’s dog, as he is also shot in the back of the head. The reader knows that George does not want to kill George but is shooting Lennie for his benefit because it says George has great difficulty talking to Lennie before killing him.
It is very perplexing for George to kill Lennie, this is shown when George raises the gun to Lennie’s head but his hands shake so he drops his hand to the ground. When George kills Lennie it is a very antagonising moment for both, the reader and the two characters, this is what makes the story gripping. This novel ‘Of Mice And Men’ is full of anger and violence and that is what amuses the reader. After Lennie kills the small mouse in the first part, the next thing he kills is something bigger, the pup and then Curley’s wife and this shows the reader that Lennie was unaware of his own strength.
Most people find violence exciting especially physical, but only in fiction not in reality, in other words second hand rather then first hand and the thing anger and violence does is that it stimulates the brain and makes the reader’s blood flow faster. In this novelette verbal violence is greater then physical and in some parts the threat of violence is more aggressive even though not fulfilled and that is what makes “Of Mice And Men” a gripping story.
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