Two Itinerant migrant workers, George Milton and Lennie Smalls, are best friends, they have a unique relationship, almost one of father and son opposed to two adults, George looks after and cares for Lennie due to his limited metal abilities, which is often getting them into trouble, hence the reason they were chased out of town from their previous employment, They find work in a ranch in Northern California where they hope to save enough money to settle down and own a piece of land to attain the ‘American Dream’, which suggests that America is the land of prosperity and opportunity but as easy as dreams are made these dreams can also be easily shattered. At the ranch the atmosphere appears to be dangerous, when they are confronted with the bosses’ son Curley whom takes an instant disliking to Lennie, as he feels inferior to larger men, Curley’s Wife also opposes a problem, as she is very flirtatious.
As they begin to settle in the ranch, their dream begin to take shape, when two other ranch hands are enticed and would like to be a part of it, the pair are overwhelmed that their dream is slowly turning into a reality. But the story turns when Lennie is left alone, and his love to stroke things ends up with him killing Curley’s Wife, the story then takes an emotional twist, when George is then faced with the dilemma to take his friends life, to save him from the lynch mob sent by Curley. Setting In the opening of the book during the first two pages it describes the tranquil peaceful surrounding of Northern California, “hillside bank runs deep and green” (pg18) this portrays the beautiful surrounding which is the disturbed by the arrival of two characters.
The writer, John Steinbeck shows this by “rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover” (pg19) suggests the arrival of these two characters has disturbed the tranquil setting; this gives the reader the message that these characters bring trouble. At the end of the book, when both characters George and Lennie are sitting by the river bank, Steinbeck gives the reader the sense of panic by the quotations he uses, as Curley’s mob draw nearer, the writer first describes the atmosphere as “Shadow in the valley, blue and soft”(pg 144), this suggests that there is a calm before the storm. As more time passes the atmosphere around these two characters gets intense, “evening breeze blew over the clearing”, (pg 145), the atmosphere is changing around them, Steinbeck is creating a build up, causing a suspense that something is going to happen.
When George shoots Lennie the atmosphere then is described as “the brush seemed filled with cries”, (pg 148) which symbolizes the loss of George, As this is such a great loss for him, losing his best friend, shows the love of their friendship was so strong that George could not let Lennie, die at the hands of Curley’s mob, You get the feel of their friendship, when both men are having a conversation about the dream, before Lennie is shot, “For the rabbit George”,(pg146), this suggests that George put Lennie is a false sense of security, so that he was in a happy place before he died, this shows how strong their friendship is. Characters George and Lennie George and Lennie are the two main characters, George is described as a small intelligent but uneducated man, George is ambitious who has big dreams in life. Lennie is a large man of statue with great strength and a big heart but his limited mental abilities, means he relies on George for his survival, he is a calm character and like a child he likes to hear stories from George, he doesn’t understand the consequences of his strength, resulting with him often getting the pair in serious trouble.
George and Lennie have a unique relationship, you get a contrast of the love hate relationship between the two, There are quotes in the book where George suggests that he could get along better without Lennie, “I could get along easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail”(pg24), this suggests that George feels that Lennie holds him back in life, but then in another quote when George is speaking to another character, he becomes defensive this shows that he cares about what people think of Lennie ”what’s funny about it” and “He ain’t no cuckoo”(pg67) , this shows the contrast that on the one hand George believes Lennie slows him down in life, but then he feels that he has to care and protect Lennie.
Narrative There is the use of slang and non Standard English throughout the book, the dialect used, is that of the slang used by an Itinerant workers at that time, this is effective because it helps to add to the realism of the story and creates a strong impact upon the readers. In book the narrative changes from third person to first person requently this is effective because you get both views and makes the story seem more believable and for the reader to sympathize with the characters. The use of figurative language in ‘Of Mice and Men’ creates the atmosphere of reality.
In the beginning of the book the Narrative is in third person style, Lennie is described as “Sloping shoulders”(pg19) And George is described as “Strong features”,(pg19) this is effective because, it makes the reader visualize what these characters look like, instead of having a bias view from a first person account. The first person accounts are effective because, In a first person account you can believe the passion of that person for example” He’s dumb as hell”, (pg 65) this is more genuine as it makes the reader believe what the characters views are.