Masterpiece Monday: Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rating: 4 out of 5


Hope everybody had a happy Easter yesterday! Because I’m more interested in the time spent with family than the spiritual aspects of the holiday, I usually associate Easter with egg hunts, chocolate, and–of course–bunnies. As I was brainstorming what to discuss for Masterpiece Monday, my morbid sense of humor immediately thought of John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella Of Mice and Men. If you don’t understand the sick joke yet, stay with me.

Of Mice and Men is about two migrant workers, Lennie and George, living in California during the Great Depression. Because Lennie is mentally challenged, it is difficult for them to find work. Lennie’s dream is to own land and raise a bunch of rabbits. Unfortunately, his love for soft things often results in killing them because he is not aware of his own strength.

This serious issue escalates from mice, to puppies, to finally, the wife of their boss’ son. George, aware that Lennie will continue to be a danger to himself and others, chooses to end their friendship in the most tragic way. After meeting one another and reminiscing over Lennie’s dream bunny farm, George shoots his companion in the back of the head.

I would hate to label this novel a “bromance,” but it does exhibit one of the most famous male friendships in literature. What makes it special is that the ending forces the reader to determine just how loyal of a friend George was. Was murder the only option? Was it malicious or merciful?

Other than Steinbeck’s excessive descriptions of scenery (I mean, I live in the Central Valley of California, but how long can a man talk about landscape? Geez!), this is a great novella with many timeless themes. I recommend this book, not only to anyone living in this state, but to all those who want more classic American literature in their lives.

And for those of you who are familiar with the story, go watch Looney Tunes again, because you’ll see the Abominable Snowman in a whole new way!

See what I mean? Nothing’s better than finding out your favorite cartoons are smarter than you thought they were!

Favorite Quote: “I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads . . . every damn one of ’em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.”