Burden of Responsibility

"OF MICE AND MEN IS A NOVEL WHICH EXPLORES THE BURDENS OF RESPONSIBILITY AS MUCH AS ITS REWARDS."

By evaluating the novel of mice and men carefully I have found that every character in the novel has a
facet of life that consists of burdens and responsibilities. The characters in the novel basically have three options in which they can live their lives. They can knuckle down, work hard, keep a positive frame of mind and try earnestly to improve their standard of living. An example of this is would be George Milton and Lennie Small. The other option is to walk around with a chip on their shoulder, not bother to improve oneself but eradicate those around him or her that serve as a frustration or nuisance. An ideal example of this would be Curley when he decides to target Lennie as a’frustration’ and subsequently attacks him with no real valid reason apart from jealousy and spite. The last option concerns Candy and Crooks to an extent. They live a fairly meaningless life void of love and affection. They have few friendships and cling to anyone who shows them sincere attention. An example of this is when Lennie has a conversation with Crooks and he expresses his feelings of loneliness. Another example is when Carlson shoots Candy’s dog. Candy becomes very eager to attach himself to George and lennie and purchase a house with them as a result of the loss of his only real love in his life.

The responsibilities of aspiration and hope play a major role in the structure of George, Lennie and Curley’s wife’s character. To an extent their aspirations protect them from reality for short stints and acts like a recharge to their motivational batteries. This is a good thing more often than not. Examples of these instances are when Lennie and George are sitting on the bank of a pool of the Salinas river in the last chapter. George is in the process of telling Lennie how together they are "gonna get a little place." He does this because he knows it makes Lennie happy and he wants Lennie’s last thoughts to be of his ideal world not terror. George then shoots Lennie in the back of the head doing whats best for everyone, and Lennie dies in a state of utopia, his reward. An example of Curley’s wife’s hopes is when she finally finds a person around the ranch who sees her not as an object of lust but someone to talk to. This person is Lennie. Of course he subsequently snaps her neck when they are both in a state of hysteria, but for a brief moment she was a step closer to her hope. Talking to Lennie was her reward in a sense.

The responsibilities of friendship, whether it be marriage as with Curley and his wife or mateship as in Lennie and George’s situation, also play a vital role. George and Lennie’s friendship is an ideal one where they both respect, help and love each other in their eyes. There is an example of this unity at the start of the novel when both George and Lennie are sitting around a fire ready to make dinner. Referring to their baked beans Lennie makes the comment of "I like ‘em with ketchup." After this comment George explodes into a verbal rage explaining how he could have so much fun by himself and how much of a burden Lennie is to him. When George finishes his ‘speech’ Lennie attempts to reconcile by explaining to George how he could go and live in a cave in the hills. This ‘guilt trip’ delivers a realisation to George that he has been nasty. They then patch things up by discussing their utopia. Curley and his wife’s marriage is filled with mixed emotions and motives. Curley is filled with disgust for his wife for marrying such a poor choice of a ‘man’ and he expresses this by attempting to control her, ever worried that she will cheat on him. He is very paranoid. She used him to get out of a situation she was not comfortable with and is now in a worse one where she cannot communicate with