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Of Mice and Men: Literary Analysis

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Many people attempt to get what they want by doing anything. They recklessly take action without thinking about the consequences. They try to predict and control their future, thinking that it is best for them. However, it soon backstabs them. You might not know, but this occurs in real life. For example, school. Students do anything to get a good grade. They cheat to do well on a test, or just to get the assignment done before the due date. They think that no one will ever find out and that they would only do it that one time. They find ridiculous ways to copy off each other, just so that they can get answers. However, they don’t know they it would soon lead to consequences. Teachers can compare your assignments with your other classmates, so they will easily tell if you had copied someone. It doesn’t end off from there. Teachers can fail you, wasting lots of time that you have used going to class, the time it takes to wait for the next unit, and also wasting money to take the classes. Students cheat, so they aren’t able to use any of the knowledge that was supposed to be gained for that test or assignment. Homework, for example, is supposed to be used to prepare yourselves for an upcoming assignment or test and can improve your understanding of the topic or subject. However, many students believe that homework is useless or that their homework load is too big to be able to do in the time given. They end up not doing the homework and just leaving it to copy another person’s homework. In the meantime, they relax and go on their phones, being very happy that they would be able to get a good grade without any effort. Cheating is the method that many students use to get a good grade, without even caring that they probably won’t be able to use that knowledge they did take in the future and will end up failing their education. They attempt to control their grades and how their future and classes will turn out, but it ends up failing them because of their lack of knowledge and independence. This topic is not about how fate and free will differ, but rather how people try to control their fate, without knowing that it will lead to consequences. John Steinbeck conveys that people self sabotage themselves by trying to control how their fate turns out through the characters Lennie, George, and Curley’s wife.

“George gonna say I done a bad thing. He ain’t gonna let me tend no rabbits.” (Page 91 of Of Mice and Men) This dialogue conveys how Lennie self-sabotaged himself. Lennie is a tall big man, but he acts like a kid. Many readers think he is mentally disabled, and I think that he might have schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects the person’s ability to react, feel, and think. I think that schizophrenia was a factor in Lennie’s failure, but also himself that affected him. For example, in Weed, Lennie touching the girl’s dress without her permission was caused by his disorder. He wasn’t able to think properly and didn’t have the mind of a mannerly man. However, his own self ruined him because he always desired to touch “soft” things and play with animals. At the ranch, Lennie played with puppies and mice all the time but ended up killing them. He was always scared that he wouldn’t get to tend the rabbits, which was his only desire. Lennie wanted to do anything to get it. Similar to how students cheat to get good grades, Lennie didn’t try his best to not kill anything but still decided to play with the animals. He didn’t use the time he had to work but instead tried to control his fate by hiding animals he had killed. The major event that related to Lennie that conveys this topic is the death of Curley’s wife. Curley’s wife had decided to walk up to Lennie and try to be friends with him. She started talking about her dreams and her past life and allowed him to touch her hair. After asking Lennie to let go, his schizophrenia scared him. He hesitated and started panicking, and kept holding on. She started screaming, but he covered her mouth. Why didn’t he let go of her hair and stop covering her mouth? Lennie self-sabotaged himself by doing whatever he could to tend the rabbits. “‘I don’t want ta hurt you,’ he said, ‘but George’ll be mad if you yell.’” (Page 91 in Of Mice and Men) He didn’t want her to snitch on him and start saying that he held on to her hair, which could lead to George not letting Lennie tend the rabbits. According to “Of Mice and Men” by Angela Hickey, he was afraid that she was going to yell for helpAll he cared about was rabbits. He did not care about anyone else’s death. This reminds me of a part of the Lord Of the Flies, where a character named Jack was obsessed with killing a pig. In the story, his action caused the group not to be able to escape the island they were stranded on. Trying to control his future of tending the rabbits, led to his downfall since all the other characters found out. It caused anger from Curley and Carlson, and he was soon killed by George.

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Marriage is a recognized union between 2 people that have a personal romantic relationship. When someone brings up the word “marriage,” people often think about love and vows between the couple. However, bringing up Curley’s wife, there are exceptions. In the real world, a person only marries another just for the benefit. Some get financial benefits or fame, while others get opportunities. In this case, the only reason why Curley’s wife married Curley was to be able to escape her mother and pursue her dream of becoming an actress.”He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural.” (Page 88 in Of Mice and Men) Curley’s wife tried to control her fate by marrying Curley. She wanted her future to be amazing and become an actress. She didn’t work for it but instead tried to control it by using Curley. “I don’ like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella.” (Page 89 in Of Mice and Men) However, it soon stabs her in the back later in the book. She didn’t even love him. The only reason why she married him was to become an actress, but Curley did not treat her well. According to Steph Harrison’s Prezi, he stated that Curley intimidated his wife and that his aggressive attitude made her really uncomfortable. Regretting that she married him, she tried to go around and make friends with the people who worked on the ranch. Her downfall came when she tried to become friends with Lennie, who then killed her. “She struggled violently under his hands. Her feet battered on the hay and she writhed to be free, and from under Lennie’s hand came a muffled scream. If she hadn’t tried to control her future by marrying Curley to be an actress, she wouldn’t have died or be killed by Lennie. It was pure coincidence that Lennie was on the farm, but she self-sabotaged herself, causing her to walk in and meet Lennie. Another reason is that if she hadn’t screamed and calmed down after he kept covering her mouth, she might have had another chance to live.

“Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta.” (Page 106 of Of Mice and Men) George states this right before he shoots Lennie. Many readers think that it was deserved since he killed Lennie. And George felt the same way. He felt that he had to kill Lennie because Lennie already caused a lot of harm in the ranch, including killing many animals and Curley’s wife, and he didn’t want anyone to get hurt. George thought that it would be a painless death, and Lennie wouldn’t have to suffer, but soon found out that he was the one who was going to suffer. Lennie and George’s dreams were to buy land to create a farm. Lennie’s most desirable wish was to be able to tend the rabbits, while George’s wish was to be able to have a better life than living on the ranch. He also thought that if he killed Lennie, Lennie would not suffer anymore. “By the time George makes his decision to kill Lennie, it seems to be a matter of “taking him out of his misery.” This is a quote from Tom Barden’s Of Mice and Meaning in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.” George’s action to kill Lennie to be out of misery affected him instead since now his friend is gone. “And when it rains in the winter, we’ll just say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof.” (Page 14-15 in Of Mice and Men) George describes at the beginning of the book how the farm would be much warmer and more comfortable. However, George sabotages himself after killing Lennie. He always thought that Lennie was a useless and dumb man, who always wanted to play with mice and rabbits. However, he didn’t know that he wouldn’t be able to reach his goal without Lennie. According to “Of Mice and Men ‘Lennie Needs George More Than George Needs Lennie’.” by Bartleby, Lennie allows George to have a purpose in life which is to be able to take care of Lennie whenever Lennie is not able to get out of trouble. This connects to a major theme: friends. Friends always help each other out and support each other. Without George, Lennie wouldn’t be able know how to survive and would die off soon. Without Lennie, George wouldn’t have a purpose and would be a useless person.

Steinbeck conveys the message: “People self sabotage themselves by trying to control their fate” through the characters Lennie, George, and Curley’s wife in the book Of Mice and Men. Many people do whatever they can to get what they want, and they try to control the way things turn out. For example, Lennie thought that he could tend the rabbits in the future, so he decided to stop Curley’s wife from screaming and killed her. However, he ended up being killed and never reaching his goal. George thought that his life would be peaceful at the ranch if he killed Lennie, but was wrong since Lennie was his only friend and allowed him to have a purpose in life. Curley’s wife married Curley just to escape her mother and pursue her dream of being an actress. However, Curley was very aggressive and mean, so she tried to make friends. However, meeting Lennie because of her loneliness killed her. Don’t try to control fate. It will backfire and soon stab you in the back. For example, if you cheat at school, you will get caught and you won’t be able to use that knowledge in the future. Those who try to change the way fate turns out or do whatever it takes to create the future end up destroying their own lives. 


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