Johnny Bear and Of Mice and Men
One similarity between the story of Johnny Bear and the novella of Of Mice and Men is the description of Johnny Bear and Lennie. An interesting description on p. 2 of Johnny Bear describes Johnny Bear as a “great, stupid, smiling bear”. This description is parallel to the one in Of Mice and Men. “Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.” (Steinbeck, p.2, Of Mice and Men) In both texts, Lennie and Johnny Bear paired with the animalistic nature of a bear. Besides both of them being compared to bears, both Lennie and Johnny Bear are portrayed as half wits or dimwits. “He stood in the doorway, swinging his arms jerkily the way half-wits do.” (Steinbeck, p.2, Johnny Bear) “The poor bastard’s nuts.” (Steinbeck, p.98, Of Mice and Men) In both texts, these characters are sentenced to aloneness because of their mental challenges.
Another similarity between Johnny Bear and Of Mice and Men is the dilemma that Johnny Bear and Lennie are caught in. Because of Johnny Bear and Lennie’s ignorance to reality, both of them end up hurt and maybe even killed depending on how Johnny Bear’s end is interpreted. Johnny Bear’s ability to imitate people’s conversations in their voices exactly led the others to hate him. Johnny Bear knew all the secrets in the village of Loma, but the character Alex didn’t want a certain secret to be known and so he silenced him. Similarly, in the book Of Mice and Men, Lennie can’t control his bear-like strength and murders animals and people accidentally. Because of the crimes that he commits, Lennie had to be killed at the end. Both Lennie and Johnny Bear become outsiders and unwelcomed characters in their environments because of their abilities and mental challenges.
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