Of Mice and Men

In John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men', the character Lenny Small is a simple man whose favorite thing to do is to stroke the fur of something soft. As the story opens, we see him, and his travelling companion George running from a posse. Lenny had touched a girl's soft dress and could not stop touching it - tearing it. She screamed and he tried to silence her - and in the process Lenny's massive strength undoes the innocence of the interaction - he does not hurt her but he tears the dress as easily as if it were paper. Running from Lenny, the woman draws vigilantes down on the two - and they barely escape by hiding in an irrigation ditch, water up to their chin.

The two make their way to Tyler ranch , a Californian barley farm. As they are walking down the road, George notices Lenny putting something in his pocket. Upon being asked, Lenny replies "It's a mouse, George." .. a dead mouse. Lenny had been feeling its fur in its pocket. George throws the mouse away, and Lenny is saddened. When he had lived with his Aunt Claire, she had given him mice to touch and he had almost always crushed them as he held them.

John Steinbeck, the author of "Mice and Men" - wrote a simple story. George and Lenny are driven by a dream to have a small farm, where Lenny can raise rabbits. But that dream is interrupted by Lenny being unable to control his feelings. George lets him have a puppy but eventually Lennys yearning for the touch of soft fur, ends that pup's life. And finally, Lenny is given the chance to touch the soft dark hair of a woman and in so doing he drives himself out of control - touching her hair repeatedly until she attempts to make him stop. In his attempt to keep her from screaming, and getting him into trouble - he breaks her neck.

And so the story ends as it began - a posse hunting Lenny down for what he had done to the woman. Perhaps the mice that had died within Lenny's horrible but loving grasp are no different echo a terrible cost to the passions of man - a sense that perhaps within us all, we have a drive to do horrible things to others without really knowing what it is we've done. In some sense we are all like George, forever trying to control and direct the primitive man - keeping ourselves just ahead of the law. And finally, in the end, destroying him. And freeing ourselves from the life and culture of a world where desire rules over reason. George wonders aloud in the story why men simply don't go to a whorehouse, you can go in , get drunk and come out happy - its a clean experience.

Maybe so.


Anonymous said…
If I wanted to pay someone to do something they would otherwise do for free , I would just drop money on an AIG buy