Note: Apologies for not writing anything at all last week. Work has gotten very busy and on top of that I am feeling a little fluish. I have gathered the energy to write my weekly book review, and promise that regular weekly posts will now continue. During my absence I have also come up with some more article ideas and recipes, so subscribe if you haven’t already to get immediate updates when I post!
‘Of Mice and Men’ is a GCSE classic, and it is easy to see why. A simple yet well written piece with a gripping plot, even teenagers will enjoy it. I never studied it at school myself, yet I envied my friends who did as their text seemed a great deal more fun than what I was made to study. I only read this book recently as it was on my list of “book to read before I die” and I have to say it did not disappoint. The shocking twist at the end was spoilt for me by a friend, however I still enjoyed the build up to it.
The story follows the lives of two farm-workers: a skinny man named George, and a great large (yet mentally challenged) man named Lennie. Lennie is kind-hearted and has a passion for animals, yet he is so big and strong that he squishes and accidentally kills them when petting them.
George and Lennie arrive at their new jobs tending to a farm. George tells Lennie that once they have worked hard and saved enough money they will buy their own farm. He tells Lennie he can have as many rabbits as he wants living on the farm.
They meet their boss’ son, Curly, and his wife. Curly makes fun of Lennie being simple-minded. George warns Lennie to stay out of Curly’s way.
Lennie and George discuss their future plans to buy a farm. An elderly farm-hand, Candy, overhears them and offers to give them some money if he is allowed to live on their farm, too. Lennie and George are over the moon as this means they only have to work for a month now to save up the amount of money they need to buy the new farm.
Curly’s wife finds Lennie alone and starts flirting with him. It is established that she is not the most loyal of wives. She teases Lennie to play with her hair. He gets excited and grabs on to it hard. She screams in agony which freaks Lennie out and he accidentally breaks her neck and kills her. Lennie realises what he does and runs away. Curly finds his wife dead and gets his friends together to hunt Lennie down and make him pay for what he has done.
George finds Lennie by the stream and is told of what he has done. Lennie asks George to talk about their farm and rabbits to calm him down. George promises Lennie that he will never have to work hard again and he can just spend his life petting all the animals he wants. As George is promising Lennie all this, he shoots Lennie in the back of the head.
“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s
“As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.”
“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”
‘Of Mice and Men’ sheds a harsh light on the American Dream and exposes it for what is really is: nothing more than a dream. The nature of capitalism has it so that no matter how hard they work the poor get poorer while the rich get richer. Curly was a bad man, yet he got to own the farm and boss around George and Lennie while not ever doing any real labour himself. George and Lennie were never going to get that rabbit farm, and it is clear throughout the novel that George understands that truth. Lennie was not built for the harsh realities of the world, and George knew that the accidental killing of Curly’s wife would mean Lennie would be imprisoned which would push him even further away from his dream. George killing Lennie while discussing the rabbit farm was done out of kindness, as now Lennie would never have to live in a world where that was never a reality. Lennie is now preserved in the version of the world where the rabbit farm was just a few weeks away. This novel reflects the theme of capitalism explored in ‘Death of a Salesman’ (link to my review: https://evierichards.blog/2018/07/27/death-of-a-salesman-book-of-the-week/ ) where Willy had to die in order to be free of the harsh reality of the American Dream. Although a sad book, ‘Of Mice and Men’ is definitely one to read. It is short and powerful, and I refuse to believe there is ever anyone who walks away from it with a dry eye.
Thank you for reading. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below, and do you have any texts you would like me to review?
Love from Evie x