By Eva Trujeque
This masterpiece, written by John Steinbeck, is one of the most representative American thrillers of all times. This is the story of two men travelling together whose friendship gives sense to their existence. George and Lennie, the two main characters, experience a series of events in a ranch that transform their lives forever. Throughout this book we can see how workers used to live in ranches during the 1930’s. This common and simple life of workers is the one that Steinbeck deeply analyzes in Of Mice and Men.
In this thriller there are three main topics described: friendship, loneliness and the sense of existence. The three of them constantly overlap in different circumstances lived by the characters in the story. Thus, it is worthy to analyze its manifestations in this book.
Friendship is the very first topic shown. It is found in every interaction between George and Lennie, which was both gentle and rough. This was an interaction similar to the relationship found among brothers. There is also a strong relationship between Candy and his dog, which curiously was similar to the one among George and Lennie. However, in both relationships there was a strong dependency. It was so because of the different conditions they had. Lennie was a childish big guy who did not follow the society standards of behavior as well as Cand’s dog, considered a disagreeable animal for most workers. Indeed, George and Candy sacrificed themselves and constantly defended their inseparable friends.
Loneliness is another if not the paramount topic in this book. It is especially workers who live a very ordinary and habitual life that makes them feel lonely sometimes. In this story there are not many women, only one who was prohibited for being Curly’s wife, the boss’ son. Men interaction was very direct but cold, and they did not easily share their true feeling. Most workers endured the solitude they felt, but not George and Lennie, not them because they were like brothers and looked after each other like family, at least during the time they were in the ranch.
The sense of existence is also a topic that Steinbeck shows in Of Mice and Men. All characters were looking for something in life such as earning money, being accepted, having somebody for them, having a family, etc. The point is that they believed in something, like a dream, that made them continue living and struggling to get those things. That is what makes this story real. It has human characters with normal lives that suffer and enjoy life as it is. And it is precisely their dreams what gave sense to their existence.
When reading this book, the picturesque and concrete images you get from the characters and the places described help you to see how human the story is. It has an unexpected ending but in this part you understand the motto of a life-changing decision. That is why I strongly believe it is a major literature piece.