Of Mice and Men

Critical Essay                                         OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck’s moving and thought provoking novel ‘Of Mice and Men’, is set in the 1930’s during the US Depression. George and Lennie are two men who experience the hardships of this time first hand while they’re working on a ranch in northern California, having been chased away from their other job. They have a dream to “live off the fatta the land.” This is the only way in which they have a chance of escaping the hard times which they are living through. The outcome of the novel, however, is inevitable as the whole way through the story everything points to just one conclusion.
  Lennie Small is one of the most intriguing characters in this book. His childlike mind and the fact that he doesn’t realise his own strength are two major factors that lead up to the unavoidable ending of him killing Curley’s wife and his own death. Due to his mental disability he relies completely on George, who can be seen as a father figure to Lennie. He has many childlike qualities which show his innocence as he doesn’t realise the consequences of his own actions, or learn from his mistakes. An early example of this is the way he has an obsession with ‘petting’ soft things. He keeps wild mice as pets but they never last long, because Lennie’s strength and limited mind always lead to him killing them. “I pinched their heads a little and then they was dead.” Not once does Lennie say anything to shows that he blames himself. Although Lennie killing mice isn’t seen as a particularly serious issue, if he had the capability to learn from his mistakes now then the outcome of the novel may have been avoided. A quote that shows an aspect of Lennie’s abnormal behaviour is “Lip quivered and tears started in his eyes.”This is also an example of how he is easily upset and then reacts like a young child. George seems to be the only person who has any control over Lennie, and can calm him down when...