Transactional Essay on \'Of Mice and Men\' by John Steinbeck



Lennie and George, migratory workers in the California fields,
cherish the dream of having a little farm of their own where as
Lennie\'s refrain has it, they can "Live of the fatta o\' the land."
George yearns for his own place where he could bring in his own
crops instead of working for another. A place where he could get
what comes up from the ground for himself. He wants the full
reward of his own labor. He seeks independence, and to leave his
dependent life completely. These two men seek a status in society,
they feel as though they need to belong, and their dream of having a
farm gives them that feeling that someday their satisfaction will
come. Unfortunately our dreams don\'t always coincide with reality.
George and Lennie are two incongruent characters, where one is
small, alert, and clever; the other huge, and powerful, however,
bears the mind of a child. They compliment eachother in many
ways, but deep within they have an inseparable relationship.
"Sometimes you just get used to a guy." The two have grown
together, and they live a part of eachother. George, being the leader
of the two, has the responsibility of caring for Lennie, who is much
like a child in his ways, however, far more dangerous than his inner
character reflects. George has to keep a watchful eye over Lennie,
for without constant supervision, Lennie would inadvertently kill
anything he touches.
George has towards Lennie the tenderness and protective instinct
which most have towards the helpless, the disadvantaged, and the
dependent. George has encountered and embraced a responsibility,
a social responsibility, and a humanitarian responsibility. It is to
take care of, protect, save from hurt, the dim-witted, loyal, and
devoted Lennie.
George constantly repeats how Lennie is a burden to him, but as
George speaks, and his character becomes plain, you know that life
would be totally meaningless and empty, for him without Lennie to
take care of. Also he has his emotional compensation in Lennie\'s
pathetic and dog-like devotion to him.
Lennie is George\'s doom, which he accepts in part because he
knows that Lennie cannot live without him and in part because of
love- even Lennie\'s poor defective love is precious to him. Year
after year they go on cherishing the dream of someday settling down
on a little farm together, where Lennie will tend the rabbits, and life
for them will have reached their peak.
Lennie kills without hate. Lennie\'s actions are responsive only. He
only reacts when something triggers him to. He never instigates his
actions. The pup bit him, therefor he hit the dog. Curley beat on
him, therefor Lennie crushed the bones of his hand. People die
simply because of his strength. Lennie had a condition that the
others could never understand. This is why Lennie had to die
himself, simply because within the society of man, he is abnormal
and weak, and would never stand a chance.
At the climax of the novel, Lennie\'s accidental killing of the
women shatters the dream shared by George Candy, and for a short
while, Crooks and died with Lennie. Rather than see Lennie
tragically abused, and rather than let someone else kill him, (as
Candy let another kill his dog and afterward regretted having done
so himself.) George must perform the deed himself. He alone has
the right, for he and Lennie have become one, made so by love and
a shared dream. They are responsible for eathother. The implication
here is that man without hope and love, without a dream, is perhaps
better off dead. The concluding pages to the novel find themselves
in the same setting as the beginning, where they recite for the final
time, their impossible dream which finished when the trigger was
pulled. What was done had to be done, and the story concludes
when both God and man symbolically forgive the murder when the
Godly words of Slim declare "You hadda George, I swear you
hadda."

Category: English