Reading Database Reflection

“Of Mice and Men” by John Stienbeck

The typical American dream – to rise above your own troubles and dream of a better place, become your own boss, and live a rich life. This was George and Lenny’s life-long ambition. The story opens with two travelers known as George Milton and Lenny Small in the 1930’s, in south of San Francisco in the Salinas Valley of California, probably during the “Great Depression” in the United States, caused by the unsteadiness in the stock market. In the story, Lenny was accused of raping a girl, therefore Lenny and George were forced leave their hometown. They were on their way to a ranch where they aim to collect enough money in order to start their own ranch with rabbits and chickens. George is an intelligent man, with every part of him “defined.” He is Lenny’s cousin who always has to bail Lenny out of trouble. Lenny is unnaturally large for a grown man and being mentally disabled, he constantly depends on George, with his quick, sharp mind to give him attention and care. Lenny is unaware of his strength, and has an obsession with small and soft things that repetitively leads to severe problems in the story. Because of his strength, Lenny ends up killing these “small” and “soft” things in the end. Some other main characters in the story include Slim, Carlson, Candy, Crooks, Curley, and Curley’s seductive wife (her name is not mentioned, but is referred as Curley’s wife). For the couple of chapters in the beginning, Lenny and George finds a ranch that they could work in, and the reader is introduced to the main characters. Lenny and George rally up with Candy, the old man that befriends Lenny and George, as well as Crooks, the black stable worker and shares Lenny and George’s vision with others. George’s dream of being his own boss, Lenny’s dream of being able to pet animals all day long would soon be contagious to others working in the ranch. Not the dream of petting animals or being their own boss, but the dream we all seek. The dream to rise above all troubles and dream of a better place to live a rich life. Without these dreams, these men would have nothing. Soon after, the dream is shared between the men at the ranch – therefore these men befriend each other, no matter the race, their beliefs or their illnesses. Will the men finally achieve their life-long dream?

I am not a fugitive from many towns, or mentally ill, but I can still relate a large amount of this story to my life. Friendship played a great role in the novel. Each of the characters supported another through adversity that is faced throughout the story. For example, George always looked after and cared for Lenny out of friendship, not because he pitied Lenny. Each character was sympathetic to another, and their supportive words achieved wonders for one another. During my lifetime, I have experienced many situations where friendship was in great effect, therefore bringing our relationship closer together. An example in my life is when I had trouble learning the bass guitar, my friend’s encouragements and support has pulled me through, and now I am currently playing for a band. Their encouragements helped me motivate myself to practice harder. Another key issue I can relate to is power. Power is displayed in many ways in the novel. For one, Curley represents the violent natured person, who represents bullies in my life situation. I can relate to this more than any other issues. Lenny was bullied because he was mentally ill, but nowadays, many are being bullied because some people may be different than others. Ironically, John Stienbeck shows that Curley’s outer personality is just a cover up for his weakness, and this may prove that the victim can overcome the bully. It is not peculiar to find a bully at a school, or rather the society. This is because some enjoy discriminating against another. For example, Crooks, the black stable worker is discriminated against because of his race. Dreams are relevant in the story. Lenny and George had a dream of their own that I can relate to. Their dream, their life-long ambition