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Julianna Truslow’s Formal Blog Post on John Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men

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“God a’mighty, 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 when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want.  Why, I could stay in a cat house all night.  I could eat any place I want, hotel or any place, and order any damn thing I could think of.  An’ I could do all that every damn month.  Get a gallon of whisky, or set in a pool room and play cards or shoot pool.”  Lennie knelt and looked over the fire at the angry George.  And Lennie’s face was drawn with terror.  “An’ whatta I got,” George went on furiously.  “I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get.  Jus’ keep me shovin’ all over the country all the time.  An’ that ain’t the worst.  You get in trouble.  You do bad things and I got to get you out.”  His voice rose nearly to a shout.  “You crazy son-of-a-bitch.  You keep me in hot water all the time.”

Of Mice and Men

Even though in this passage George is putting down Lennie for being so troublesome, George does not truly feel this way about Lennie.  What George really wants is not just a road companion, but someone he can actually do enjoyable things with as well.  George really feels bad for Lennie since he doesn’t understand and isn’t capable of doing the things men his age typically do and society won’t let him.  George does not pity himself missing out on things as much as he pities Lennie missing out on things.

George starts out by listing all the things that he can take part in as a man, but Lennie cannot.  George feels sorry for Lennie that he cannot enjoy the things in life that George can.  This is because Lennie very much still has the rationality of a child and does not understand certain parts of life such as staying all night in the “cat house”.  Another reason George cannot take Lennie along into town to eat in a restaurant or stay in a hotel is due to the fact that when Lennie is put in front of someone new, that someone misjudges Lennie because of his mental disability.  This is seen time and again as he is introduced to new characters within the novel.  George has to continually explain how Lennie has the mind of a child and therefore is ignorant, but not harmful to society (which is ironic).

In the second half of George’s tantrum, George is angry at society and pities the way they see and treat Lennie.  Up to this point in Lennie’s life, he has yet to harm any person, however he has accidently killed numerous mice.  So people have no logical reason to be afraid of Lennie, and yet they are.  It is possible that because Lennie does not understand his own strength, they could be afraid of this if it was ever showcased.  Society is scared of a possibility of a deadly outburst of strength.  Society has forced Lennie to become a self-fulfilling prophesy.  Realistically, people in their past barred themselves off from Lennie because his mental capacity is different.  People in the world do not like to see deviances from the normal so it makes sense that Lennie and George were never able to stay somewhere long.  At the same time, George seems to on occasion misjudge how people are going to react to Lennie and is always on the defensive for that reason.

George is upset that society is unable to accept Lennie the way he is.  Lennie does not have the normal level of brain development, but his brain is still normal.  He thinks in a normal way, but it is more equivalent to a child than it is an adult.  Due to this childlike understanding of the world around him, Lennie is forced to miss out on adult things in life around him not only because of his mental limitations, but also society’s limitations.

Word Count: 486

Written by Julianna Truslow

October 6th, 2010 at 10:09 pm