Of Mice and Men is based in the time of the ‘Great Depression’ in America in the 1930’s. The two main characters are George and Lennie who are very close friends, roaming around America together looking for work. Their friendship is so unique and foreign to their surrounding people, and at that time having one true friend was very rare because men didn’t have time to worry about other people, they just did their work and got their money.
Their friendship is what makes the story so special, Steinbeck shows George and Lennie’s similarities and differences to other characters in the book to boldly show how unique they are. In chapter 3 it starts with Slim and George talking about how Lennie and George are friends. Slim says “Funny how you an’ him string along together” this shows that Slim isn’t used to men being friends and travelling together, as in this completely different world of loneliness this friendship is very unique. George then gets defensive and questions Slim on what he means, Slim replies “Oh I dunno, hardly none of the guys ever travel together.” So George is different to Slim in the sense that Slim has nobody.
The main parts in this chapter are when Candy’s dog gets shot, the talk of the dream, and the fight between Lennie and Curley. Carlson tells Candy that his dog stinks and he should get rid of him. He describes the dog as “all stiff with rheumatism” and “got no teeth”. He explains to Candy where he will shoot him and how the dog will feel nothing.
This shows that Carlson is different to George and Lennie’s relationship because it shows that Carlson doesn’t understand how people can become bonded to other living things, and George and Lennie are so close, they’d never hurt each other. Candy later talks about him and his dog and how much he loves it and doesn’t want to let go when Candy says “I’m so used to him” and “I had him since he was a pup” shows that him and his dog have had this bond for a really long time like George and Lennie.
In chapter 4 the main events are when Lennie and Crooks talk and later are joined by Curley’s wife and Candy. Crooks is in his own bunkhouse minding his own business when Lennie comes to join him. Crooks at first isn’t happy about this, claiming that this is his own property and no one is allowed to come in, like what the white people say to him. Crooks talks fiercely “Well, I got a right to have a light. You go on get outta my room.
I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room.” This shows how George and Lennie are different to Crooks, because Crooks is so used to being lonely he has turned fierce and spiteful, whereas George and Lennie who both have each other are really nice and loving. Crooks’ voice then gets persuasive “S’pose George don’t come back no more. S’pose he took a powder and just ain’t coming back. What’ll you do then?” Lennie becomes worried and angry. “He won’t do it, George won’t do nothing like that George is careful. Who hurt George!” Steinbeck builds up and builds up the tension and shows how upset and angry Lennie is getting at the thought of never seeing George again, Lennie becomes protective over George and worries about him, implying how much he cares about him.
Later Curley’s wife comes in, by herself, she says her usual excuses as to why she is wandering round “You boys seen Curley?” when clearly she doesn’t care at all where Curley is. She complains about how no one will talk to her and why she would cause trouble. This is a regular thing which Steinbeck uses to emphasise how lonely Curley’s wife is compared to George and Lennie’s relationship.
A sarcastic Curley’s wife remarks “Sure I gotta husbun’, you all seen him. Swell guy, ain’t he?” When Curley’s wife talks about Curley there is no love and compassion which shows how their relationship is completely different to George and Lennie’s because whenever they talk about each other they take pride and never bad mouth each other, as true friends. Curley’s wife gets so furious that nobody will talk to her properly and show her some attention she bursts out about her dream “I tell ya I could of went with shows. Not jus’ one, neither. An’ a guy tol’ me he could put me in pitchers…”
Steinbeck is showing us how angry Curley’s wife is, feeling trapped all of the time, by asking constant pushy questions. Another moment in the chapter which shows how George and Lennie’s relationship is presented as different to others on the ranch is when Curley’s wife asks Lennie how he got bruises on his face.
Steinbeck makes Lennie’s answer loyal to George and show that he trusts everything George says. Lennie replies with “He got his han’ caught in a machine” In chapter 5, the event which occurs is Lennie kills Curley’s Wife and Curley decides to hunt for Lennie and kill him. Lennie is in the barn and Curley’s wife then joins trying to talk to Lennie. She’s always complaining about how lonely she is and asks why Lennie can’t talk to her.
Lennie obedient to George replies with “George says I ain’t to have nothing to do with you-talk to you or nothing.” Every time Curley’s wife tries to speak to Lennie, he will always be loyal to George, and his big mouth leads him to say the exact words which George says, sometimes what he shouldn’t say. She complains about how she can’t talk to anybody “You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley.
Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody?” Here she explains that if she talks to anyone, her one person to talk to, will get angry and mad. Whereas Lennie is allowed to talk to anyone, apart from Curley’s wife, and George doesn’t mind at all, and Lennie doesn’t care that George is outside playing horseshoe with the other men on the ranch. So this portrays that even though George and Lennie are very close, they also have freedom apart from each other, and trust each other.
On the other hand Curley and his wife are the opposite, they are not fond of each other and even though Curley barely ever talks to his wife, he gets jealous if she talks to anyone else, and ready to put up a fight; no trust and no love. Steinbeck describes Curleys wife as “and then her words tumbled out in a passion of communication.”, as she was about to explain her dream.
Curley’s wife’s dream was to become and actress, “Met a guy, he says he was gonna put me in the movies, and as soon as he got back to Hollywood he would write me a letter.” The comparison between her and George and Lennie is that they both have dreams, Curley’s wife to be an actress and to escape this world where she is ignored and beg for attention, to a world where people will notice her and be wonderful, George and Lennie’s to escape the long hard days of work and live of the fatta the lan’. Both of the dreams are similar in the sense that they all want to escape from the ranch and enter a whole new world. In conclusion I admire George and Lennie’s relationship.
The fact that in the time of so many people being depressed there’s this little spark in a abandoned ranch, where two men are so close. I think George was right and very kind to have took on Lennie, otherwise Lennie would not have been able to survive by himself in these hard times, especially with his disability. I think the ending of a book is a very clever and well written end.
I’m glad George did what he did, because it would have been cruel to let Lennie roam by himself if he didn’t get caught and be lost, but if he was caught it would have made Lennie unhappy and had a sad death. So by George shooting him, his close friend and the one who he feels happy with, and both of them talking about the dream together, the one thing which Lennie has a real passion for, is a lovely way for Lennie to die, as he is happy.