Only four settings until I completely fell in love with everything Steinbeck created in this novella. I cannot believe how deeply I fell into the plotline and the characters in the short amount of time it took me to read this novella. Steinbeck, I have decided, is a genius. And here’s a short list of reasons why:
- Lennie: Steinbeck knew what he was doing to us when he decided to write Lennie into the story. Lennie touched my heart immediately because of the people in my life who are mentally disabled. The circumstances Lennie comes to be in tugged (or more accurately pulled) at the heartstrings of every reader I’ve talked to about Of Mice and Men.
- George: George’s character didn’t necessarily get my sympathy, but this is the spot where I discovered Steinbeck’s brilliance. (I’ll discuss that later.) Lennie found a companion in George. While this is true, George, I felt, limited Lennie. Being historically accurate, though, George gave Lennie more of a life than anyone else would have during the time period.
- Slim/Curley: Weird of me to lump these two characters together, huh? Well.. .there’s a reason. They’re both minor characters who weren’t so minor but really were. If you followed that sentence, then here’s more: Slim and Curley are foil characters of one another. Now for you readers out there who may have forgotten their middle school English classes: foil characters are opposites of each other. Slim is cool and collected, while Curley is the boy about to jump the trigger at anything appearing to threaten him. I understood the background of both of these characters, but I was totally #teamslim the entire time.
- Lack of rhetorical devices: Sometimes having rhetorical devices strewn all over the page can be a little disconcerting. Especially when you just want to have a relaxing read where you don’t have to think about anything. This aspect of the novella was amazing in allowing me to read straight through without thinking so much right away.
- THE BRILLIANCE OF STEINBECK!!!!!!: Why all the exclamation points, you ask? Well… if you have read this book but have not analyzed the background or the story, then prepare to have your mind blown with my little story:
If you have not read the book then I suggest skipping to the next red text to avoid spoilers. 🙂
I was sitting in English class the other day discussing this very story. My peers were making some connections to Bible stories and other stories when my teacher landed a large bomb right in the middle of the conversation with two words: John Milton. Milton, so what’s his importance? Well… Milton is George’s last name. (#2) And John Milton was the reference. John Milton wrote a brilliant epic poem called Paradise Lost. (If unsure of this poem, Google it. It’s okay I had to also.) Milton’s poem talks about “The Fall” and when Adam and Eve eat the fruit. Basically this is what my teacher said:
“Paradise Lost by John Milton talks about God and Satan and Eden. Who was the one to eat the fruit first, and is most commonly blamed for the sin? Eve, or the woman is, just like in Steinbeck’s novella when Curley’s wife is only viewed as trouble for the men.”
You readers, Slim versus Curley: Slim is God because everyone confides in him and he’s even-tempered. Curley is Satan because he’s hot-headed and always fighting. Curley’s wife is Eve because she messes everything up. George is Lennie’s shepherd and Lennie is the lost sheep. Of Mice and Men is literally the story of the Beginning, with a side parable thrown in. I love it so much. (Little girl squealing at the brilliance.)
Okay, you can read now for spoiler-free information. 🙂
I suggest reading this book asap for anyone who has not. It really is a phenomenal read, and then you can come back to this review and look at the brilliance of Steinbeck rant above. (But don’t look now.) Pick it up now!
Much Love, XOXO,
~A Writer Named Charley~