Of Mice and Men and Rabbits

Two Peasants Digging after Millet, Van Gogh

I finished Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men more than a couple of weeks ago, yet I found myself unable to write an interesting and insightful entry on it. I kept waiting for a wave of inspiration to hit me for I really enjoyed the novella, simple as it is at a first glance, and I wanted to write a piece equally effortless but powerful.

If you have perused some of my past entries, Reader, you probably noticed that I usually attach analysis or some personal insights to most of the reviews to give them something more than just the standard overview of plot and my opinions. This post was supposed to follow that similar procedure … alas! I tried to shed light on this novella from various angles, but all of them seemed false — my result was mere flashes on some of the more obvious aspects of the narrative.

So let’s try honesty.

To me, Of Mice and Men is first and foremost about loneliness. All of the characters experience it to varying degrees and in different ways. Lennie is isolated due to his condition, and George is isolated due to being with Lennie; Candy is isolated due to his age and inutility; Curley’s wife experiences loneliness due to her gender and position on the ranch; and the stable-boy is segregated by his race and lower rank.

Some of these characters deal with their lonesome state by building castles in the air, most prominently George and Lennie (and later Candy), which is where the rabbits come in. Lennie just wants to tend the rabbits, that’s all. The promise of this activity keeps him going and keeps him “obedient” to George. Rabbits are soft, and Lennie simply wants to pet them and keep on petting… Insert dramatic percussion foreshadowing.

I’ll stop here because this is starting to border on analysis.

In brief recounting, Of Mice and Men initially seemed like a novel I could never enjoy, but turned out to be a magnificent jewel in the dust.

a5

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2 responses to “Of Mice and Men and Rabbits

  1. I read Of Mice and Men last year and thought it was sad. The men were lonely and longing for a place to call home. Even though it was obvious the book would end up tragically, i had hope it will somehow prove me wrong.

    • Indeed, I could really feel the build up toward the climax – I think Steinbeck succeeded at creating an atmosphere of tension and expectation of something awful. For me, everything went downhill after the dog episode… 😦

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