Book: Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

Yea, I just read The Pearl recently and followed it up with Of Mice and Men. What can I say about this American classic? Nothing that has not already been said. It’s an amazing book, which gave me this horrendous sense of foreboding from the first few pages. I think it was partly due to the synopsis at the back of the book, but also because of the characters that were portrayed in the book.

The two characters of George and Lennie were well crafted and well-developed. Their relationship was related to us in small pieces, but there was an understanding of how much Lennie relied on George and how much George cared for Lennie. The conversations between the two were just magical to read, they brought life to their characters. At the same time, there was so much foreshadowing in the book. Considering its petite size, it was surprising to find all the similarities between earlier occurrences and the ending scene. It really hit home all the intense feelings of hopelessness and guilt and despair. The foreshadowing really multiplied the effect of the ending, which by itself was sad already.

Steinbeck’s writing varies throughout the book. From beautiful descriptions setting the atmosphere and environment, to smaller scenes or actions that demonstrate the race issue of the times. It’s a testament to this writing and his ability to contain so much in so little. This novel tells of the American dream and what it meant to ‘drifters’ during the Great Depression, it tells of how people of different races and of different mental capabilities were viewed, it tells of how women were viewed at the time and it tells of loneliness. The inability to form bonds or connections due to the nature of their work, due to racial divides, due to gender divides. I guess that is why George and Lennie’s relationship was always talked about in the book. It was unheard of, and thought almost impossible, yet they defied the odds.

I would say that this book ranks up there with 1984, the importance of this piece of literature knows no bounds. Years, from now I hope to re-read it and be reminded of these intense feelings and hopefully at the same time, find something new to love about this book.

As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.

Then gradually time awakened again and moved sluggishly on.

I know it sounds impossible, but that moment that Steinbeck described in the book hit me as I read the last word and closed the book. And it’s this magical moment that always brings me back to reading and watching and living for that moment, when reality fades and you’re in your own world for just that moment.

2 Responses to “Book: Of Mice and Men”
  1. Jayde-Ashe says:

    Absolutely fantastic review. I couldn’t agree more with every point you made, particularly that the importance of this piece of literature knows no bounds. It is a masterpiece.

    • everworld says:

      Thank you! I wouldn’t say this if my favourite book, but it has definitely shaped my world perspective and given me something to think about in the months and years to come.

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