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Of Mice and Men Friendship and the Great Depression in America

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Of Mice and Men was written by John Steinbeck about the Great Depression America about two itinerant workers George Milton and Lennie Small. John Steinbeck presents Of Mice and Men friendship and the character of Lennie as being all to blame for the events that happened to him. Lennie is seen to be childish, He has understanding of what was happening around him, he ignores the commands for his peers and blames everyone else but himself.But he was not responsible for some of the things that happen to him.

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Lennie is childlike and doesn’t know his own strengths this shows the reader that he was not capable to make decisions on his own. The reader can see this when it says “But made an elaborate pantomime of innocence.” This indicates to the reader that Lennie is very simple minded and doesn’t think about anyone else but himself . Steinbeck uses a metaphoric language to compare Lennie to an act and it is all for show and all he wants is attention. This makes him childlike as children always want to seem like the bigger person in the situation. Further more we can see that Lennie is to blame as when he kills the mouse with aunt Clara and then keeps repeating the same mistakes that he did because he didn’t know how strong he was. For example “ that was your aunt Clara. An’ she stopped givin’ ‘em to ya. You always killed ‘em.’”this shows the reader that Lennie knew it was not right to have the animals as he was too strong but didn’t know ,the fact that Lennie’s aunt told him he was not allowed to have them suggests that he couldn’t make his own decisions as he was too childish.

Lennie is to blame as he has understanding of what is happening around him because he understand friendship and loyalty as the other men on the ranch don’t understand it. For example when it states “ He had sensed his advantage. ‘If you don’t want me, you only jus’ got to say so, and I’ll go off in those hills right there – right up in those hills and live by myself.”This shows the reader that Lennie is intelligent and knows what is happening around him as he copies the other men on the ranch and this conveys that Lennie thought he was self sufficient and could live on his own. Through the repetition we can see that Lennie likes the friendship he has and would do anything to stay friends with George and have him by his side . This indicates that he is all to blame as he keeps ruining his friend ship with other people for example his friendship with Curley’s Wife they were attempting to talk to each other but then he kills her and then keeps running back to George for help( George helps him by killing him). All the ranch men don’t have these emotions toward anyone so they don’t know what he was going though and they had no respect for him .There are two sides to this I do agree and I don’t agree he as to blame because he will feel left out as they are saying that the relationship between them is weird and feel that they are outsiders also can’t make friends with the other men and he doesn’t want to lose his friendship with George. Also having no social interactions with the other characters means that he doesn’t know how to stay away from and to get close to so he will get into bother with them eg Curley. Which leads t the events that happen in the novella.

However there are two sides to this point I agree that he is too blame but on the other hand I disagree that he is to blame as George doesn’t teach Lennie from right or wrong. For example in the novella it states that “ it ain’t you’re fault” this shows the reader that George confuses him because he doesn’t tell him what is wrong to do and what is right to do , which makes him wonder and think that the things that he did was right and then the things that was right was wrong. George also tells Lennie to do all of the bad things in the novella which confuses him and makes him seem like the big bad wolf but was actually George his supposed friend. Also George uses Lennie’s strength for defence mechanism and Lennie uses George’s intelligence this is seen when they meet the boss “George said,’his name’s Lennie small.’(…)hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull.’”This shows the reader that Lennie was a very strong huge man and very good worker and George was very small and weak and only used Lennie for his strengths the reader can see this through a simile. But we can also see that Lennie was reliant on George to talk and present him as normal but George only does this to use his physical strengths to get him to stay with him. This is why I think that Lennie is not exactly to blame for all that happens to him as he gets confused and bewildered about what George says and tells him to do.

Lennie ignores the commands he gets from the other characters in the novella for example George, Curley’s Wife and slim. The reader can see this when “ Let go,’ she cried. ‘You let go!’ Lennie was in a panic and her body flopped like a fish. And then she was still’ for Lennie had broken her neck.”this shows the reader that Lennie doesn’t listen to their commands as they didn’t want to listen to there commands as he only wants to follow his own rules. This shows the reader that Lennie is to blame as he knows that he shouldn’t be doing what he was doing as it might be harmful. Steinbeck uses animal imagery to describe Curley’s Wife after Lennie killed her and to show what harm he caused. When slim says tip Lennie not to take the pup away from its mother Lennie disobeys his command and goes ahead and does it . For example “ He reached down and picked the tiny puppy from where Lennie had been concealing it against his stomach. Slim had not moved. His calm eyes followed Lennie out the door. ‘Jesus ,’ he said. ‘He’s jes’ like a kid, ain’t he.” This portrays to the reader that Lennie had a mental age of a child and didn’t want to listen to the orders that were commanded. We can also see that Lennie does this to George when George asks Lennie if he asked if he had the mouse in his pocket when it states “Gi’me that mouse!’ But Lennie made an elaborate pantomime of innocence. ‘What mouse, George? I ain’t got no mouse.’” Through the metaphor we can see that Lennie is smart and knows when he need to use it but doesn’t use it to take the command of his friend/ parental guide as he doesn’t want to as he only thinks abut himself. This indicates that Lennie is responsible for the events that occur in the novellas as the most simple thing to understand is not to kill and the people around him have warned and protected him from the danger that happened but he decided to make his own chooses that made his situation worse.

The last point that Lennie is responsible for what happens to him in the novella Lennie repeats the actions that he caused and blames everyone else for the damage that he did. The reader can see this when it says “you wasn’t big enough,’he said. ‘They tol’ me and tol’me you wasn’t. I di’n’t know you’d get killed so easy.’”the writer uses colloquial language to show that Lennie didn’t have education and he didn’t understand what he did to the pup and what effects it would have on the pups life all he thought about was his own opinions and his views on what was right and wrong. Further more steinbeck shows that he is to blame when he blames Curley’s Wife for ruining his dream when actually it was himself as he put Curley’s Wife in danger. For example when it states in he novella “Oh! Please don’t do none of that,’ he begged. ‘George gonna say I done a bad thing. He wont let me tend no rabbits.’”this shows that he didn’t know what he was doing and wanted to blame it all on somebody else because he didn’t know how to take the blame. Lennie doesn’t learn from his mistakes and just keeps repeating the actions that he did. This makes Lennie to blame as he just didn’t take that blame for what he did and has much more effect then taking the responsibility for what he did.

To conclude I truly believe that Lennie was to blame for what happened to him in the novella not just him but what happened to all the rest of the characters to as he was childish and irresponsible and didn’t control his actions. Also the way that Lennie has no social interaction with other characters so he doesn’t know who to stay away from as they could do physical harm.  

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