Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Of Mice And Men

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The death of Curley’s wife and Lennie are shocking events. How convincing and predictable do you find the last two sections of the novel?


The last two sections of the novel are what the whole story is leading up to � the death of a fellow human being (Curley’s wife) caused by Lennie and then finally, the death of Lennie himself.


These two events are both tragic but the killing of Lennie most probably would have been impossible to avoid, and therefore the reader believes it to be realistic.


Quite soon into reading the book you could take an educated guess that Lennie would die at the end of the story. Lennie is childlike in some ways in his personality, for example, at the start of the story when he is madly drinking from the pool like an animal. He is unknowingly powerful and has a very short memory.


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When Curley’s wife comes into the story it is also rather predictable and inevitable that Lennie would either scare, harm or kill her, by accident. We know this because you find out early on in the story that that an incident similar to this had already happened. George and Lennie are running away from Weed because Lennie had frightened a girl by touching her dress. There are other clues that are preparing us for the event of Curley’s wife’s death.


We know that Lennie cannot control his own strength. We learn this at the very beginning of the book when Lennie killed a mouse by playing with it and stroking it, just because he liked the soft feel of it’s fur coat. Later in the novel he kills a puppy in the same way. So these events tell us that Lennie doesn’t know his own physical power and also that he loves to stroke and touch things that he likes.


Therefore, all these events are making you expect this to happen to Curley’s’ wife because a) a similar thing happened to a girl by Lennie,


b) she’s always trying to attract Lennie’s attention.


The possibility of how George will kill Lennie comes about on the first night at the ranch. Candy has an old dog that the other men, Carlson in particular, say smells. Carlson offers to shoot the dog in the back of its head to put it out of its misery. Candy is weary but finally agrees. Carlson explains that the dog won’t feel a thing and will be over in a split second.


Carlson explains (part three) “If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head, right there, why he’d never know what hit him.”


This is a major clue to the killing of Lennie.


The fact that the gun is so easily available helps towards the shooting of Lennie. Carlson’s gun is brought to the reader’s attention when Carlson uses it to kill Candy’s dog. So throughout this section George learns that there is an available gun and also a detailed technique of shooting an animal painlessly.


George and Lennie have a dream of buying a farm together so they can be independent.


It could be argued that the ending is too artificial and is just designed for the effect rather than being true to life. I do not agree with this due to all these leading up points in the first four sections of the novel. Steinbeck must have planned from the start that Lennie would die, otherwise he wouldn’t have added in the clues such as the killing of Candy’s dog. So, there is a purpose for the dog in the first place, as there is a purpose for George and Lennie running away from Weed.


When Curley’s wife has been found dead George is desperate to find Lennie so he can kill him himself. George acknowledged what Candy had said about regretting not killing his dog himself. George doesn’t want Curley to find him first because he will shoot him in the guts where it will hurt Lennie. He wants Lennie to die as happy and as calm as possible. This shows that Candy’s regrets are also vital and have an impact on the final scene in the book.


In conclusion I do find that the way the story is developed, although predictable, is an effective way of convincing the reader that the shocking events that take place are realistic in the context of the situation.








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