Of Mice And Men

This essay has a total of 2070 words and 7 pages.

Of Mice And Men


Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is a story which shows how weak the human trait of
loyalty can be if put through the test of time. It shows how people can turn on their
family, best friend, and even their life-long companions if they are presented with the
opportunity for advancement in life. This novel shows the reader the true animalistic
nature of all humans through the use of highly developed characters as well a thoroughly
developed story line.

George is not a strong man physically, but what he is lacking physically he makes up for
in his mentality. Although his abundance of mental strength does not become apparent until
later in the story, it is fairly obvious from the beginning that his physical strength is
lacking. Lennie, on the other hand, is physically "strong as a bull"(22), according to
George, but mentally is a weak as George is physically. Together, as they travel from
place to place looking for their chance at making their dream a reality, they use each
other's strong points to help them complete the task. Without one another the two
characters would have absolutely no chance at success, for what one is lacking the other
has an ample amount of. George and Lennie are the perfect example of how opposites
attract.

The two of them have spent the majority of their adult lives together and know each other
better than they know anybody else in the entire world. They share their hard times and
the good, their victories and their defeats, but most importantly they share a common
dream. That dream is of having "a little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some
pigs an' live off the fatta the lan'"(14), where Lennie can take care of the rabbits just
as George has been taking care of him over the years. This is Lennie's chance to pay
George back for all of the kindness that he has had bestowed upon him out of his true love
and loyalty towards George.

When they arrive at the ranch where they will be working the first person that they meet
is an older gentleman named Candy. Candy has lived a long and hard life on the ranch and
has nothing to show for it. During his time on the ranch he has lost his hand, grown old,
and feels that he has become worthless. The name "Candy" is an interesting one for this
character though. When you think of candy you see children eating it while running around
in the yard having a good time without a care in the world. This is the exact opposite of
what the character in the novel is. The restless demon of age has caught up with him and
he is not able to move as fast as he once did; even his dog is unable to ward off the
negative effects of time.

Candy loves his dog with all of his heart; it has been his best friend for years and
according to Candy he has "Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him." (44) Even
though he cannot run as fast as in his prime or herd sheep like he did when he was younger
Candy loves him just the same. He appreciates all of the joy and loyalty that his once
great dog has brought to him during his life and is ready to let his friend now live out
the rest of his natural life. Unfortunately that is not the way that some of the other
people in the room see it. Carlson feels "This ol' dog jus' suffers hisself all the time.
If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head… right there, why
he'd never know what hit him"(45). Carlson even offers to give him a new dog to replace
the one that he is about to destroy. The way that Candy sees it is that he is not hurting
anyone and that there is no reason to have to end his life prematurely. Even though Candy
loves his dog more than anything else in the world he chooses to let someone shoot his dog
in the back of the head. After all that they had been through and all the years of loyal
service that his supposed best friend had performed for Candy, when pressured into a
decision, he chose to defy his loyal companion and make the decision on when he should
die. This leads one to wonder why he made the decision that he did. What drove Candy to
defy the trust his loyal companion of years? Candy knew that his pet had limited time left
in his life, and after he passed, who would Candy have to call a friend? He let Carlson
kill his dog in hopes that the other workers would then give him the friendship and
loyalty that his dog had provided him for years. If this happened, Candy would not have to
spend the rest of his life alone and desolate in his old age; he would then have friends
and people who he could talk to. He had been lacking this for years and wanted to obtain
it desperately, even if it meant betraying his oldest friend.

George and Lennie have the same relationship that Candy and his dog have shared for so
many years. They are as close to each other's hearts as any two people can be in life.
George has given up his chance at a somewhat normal life to help Lennie live as full of a
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