Thursday, March 15, 2012

Of Mice and Men: Lessons Learned

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A Quick Note: Before I begin discussing John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, I would like to apologize for my extended absence from the blogosphere. I have recently been working on several projects and was not able to focus on my blogging. I believe I have finally found a happy medium and am looking forward to blogging regularly again!
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John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is a novella that discusses and details more of life’s lessons than most 1,000 page books I have read. 
When I was seventeen and flying to Germany to see my boyfriend at the time, Lennie taught me the importance of aspirations and desires. Although Lennie was not the brightest of characters, he knew that sometimes you have to take the longer route in life before you can reach your destination, before you can “live off the fatta the lan’.” When things do not go as intended, he taught me to imagine how things will be, that as long as you are actively working towards your goals, that they will become realized. My na├»ve mind must have blocked out Lennie’s final scene in the novel because for years thereafter, I clung to the lessons Lennie taught me. 
I’m not sure if life’s obstacles have hardened my outlook on life or if the current state of the economy and the despair reflected in most people’s faces have made me more pessimistic, but when I recently reread the novel, Lennie’s message no longer held hope for me. George, with his realistic outlook and hardened demeanor, became the character I related to. I didn’t always agree with his actions and decisions, but I understood his frustration with Lennie and his enthusiasm for a dream they would never claim as their reality and his current work and living situation. Oftentimes, George would lose himself in the stories he told Lennie of their future life together. The details were so vivid that he began believing that their dream would become a reality. However, because of mistakes made by both Lennie and George, George realized he would not be able to attain his goals and dreams. In order to protect himself and his best friend, he had to make a difficult decision that impacted their goals. George’s final lesson taught me that regardless of how many times you retell your plans and no matter how many good intentions you have, sometimes a decision you have to make will perpetually alter your future.
These were only a few of the lessons Lennie and George taught me. Racial inequalities and the expected roles of women were also discussed. The novella transpires during the Great Depression and the quality of life during this time is detailed as well. Unfortunately, I do not have time to discuss all themes, lessons, and characters within this one blog post.
I am, however, curious as to what John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men taught you. What do you remember most about the novella? Which character were you able to relate most to? Is the novella relevant today?

5 comments:

  1. For some reason, with Steinbeck it is not the characters or the storyline that resonates with me the most, although that is clearly a part of it. It is an inexplicable feeling of another world that I draw from it the most. That probably makes no sense, but that's what it is :-)

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  2. And, while I love Of Mice and Men, my favorite is East of Eden. LOVE IT.

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  3. Man alive, I hated this book. The main lesson I learned is once a book starts going nowhere, chuck it at the wall and never open it again.

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  5. in of mice and men, what is a lesson one character teaches another

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