Friendship,Dreams, and the Conflict in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a book filled with conflicts, including external and internal conflicts. One external conflict is between Candy and Carlson, where Carlson wants to kill Candy’s dog, but Candy eventually agrees. Another external conflict is between Curley and Lennie, which results in Lennie crushing Curley’s hand. One of the internal conflicts is that George has conflicting emotions about Lennie, as he has gotten them into trouble before, but he also feels that Lennie is a part of his success. The book ends with George having to make a difficult decision that will affect his dream of owning a farm.

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In the novel Of Mice and Men, various conflicts arose. These conflicts included both external and internal conflicts. One example of an external conflict is the tension between Candy and Carlson, as Carlson wanted to put an end to Candy’s dog. Carlson deemed the dog useless, old, and unpleasant, leading him to desire its death. As depicted in the book, Candy took his time considering the situation before ultimately accepting Slim’s advice and instructing Carlson to proceed with ending the dog’s life.

Curley started an external conflict with Lennie and George while they were confronting him about finding his wife. Carlson advises Curley to keep his wife away from the bunkhouse. When Curley tells Carlson to mind his own business, Candy joins in with insults and Lennie finds it amusing. As Lennie steps back, Curley hits him with a left hook and then a right punch, causing a dent in Lennie’s nose. Lennie is too scared to fight back. When George tells Lennie to defend himself, Lennie grabs Curley’s hand and ends up crushing it.

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There are two types of conflict – external and internal. An instance of internal conflict is evident in George, who experiences conflicting emotions towards Lennie. While he has made a promise to Lennie’s aunt to look after him, George has also faced difficulties with Lennie which resulted in them losing their jobs. This leads George to contemplate that his life could be improved without Lennie, as he expresses his thoughts by saying, “If I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an’ work, an’ no trouble. No mess at all, and the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks inbeck.”

Curley locks eyes with Lennie, then looks back at George and murmurs “right in the back of the head (Steinbeck).” Curley’s words were hushed. Slim immediately approaches George and sits down beside him, positioning himself close by. “Don’t worry about it, sometimes a guy has to (Steinbeck),” Slim reassures George. Carlson interjects, asking “How did you manage it (Steinbeck)?” “I just did it (Steinbeck),” George replies sorrowfully. This incident severely hindered his chances of fulfilling his dream of owning a farm. Despite Lennie’s occasional mistakes, he contributed to George’s success.

Works Cited

  1. Attell, Kevin. “An overview of Of Mice and Men.” Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.
  2. Leaf, Jonathan. “Of mice & melodrama.” New Criterion 26.4 (2007): 84+. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.
  3. Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1993. Print.

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Friendship,Dreams, and the Conflict in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. (2018, Feb 08). Retrieved from

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