Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
Journey is a term that implies travel, which can offer up new insights, experiences, cultures and perspectives. Journeys can have positive or negative effects, as we see in John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. In the novel, the writer takes us into the American outback, and we journey with the characters as they face the various challenges and barriers that arise as they attempt to achieve the ‘great American dream’ – settling down and farming their own land.
The physical aspect of journey in this novel was the traveling – George and Lennie running away from Weed because of something Lennie had done, and trying to find work on another ranch. The inner and emotional journeys were far more significant, and we see the changes in the characters from the first time we’re introduced to them.
The characters that undertake the most significant journeys would be George and Candy. At the start of the novel, George was Lennie’s best friend and protector, but at the end, he had to end Lennie’s life. From the very start, Steinbeck presents Lennie as an animal like figure with very little intelligence, “dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws”, “snorting into the water like a horse”, and throughout the novel, events build the mood up for the tragic ending – first it was the girl in Weed, then the dead mouse, then Lennie killed the puppy, then the fight where he crushed Curley’s hand, and finally – he killed Curley’s wife. Throughout the whole journey, George was there with Lennie, guiding him along and getting him out of trouble. After Lennie killed Curley’s wife, George finally realized that this couldn’t be allowed to go on any longer – Lennie lacked control over his strength and if he didn’t do something, these tragedies would just keep following them wherever they went.
Another character who went through a significant journey was Candy, the disabled, isolated, unhappy, lonely and insecure old man. Candy's...
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