Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and MenOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Power and simple mindedness are terrible companions. No matter what aspect of life they inhabit, it is rarely with festive consequences; if they work on a smaller scale, the experience only becomes more personal and therefore tragic. This one certainly can’t get gloomier. Everyone wins the sad competition – the author, with his all encompassing vision of sadness, the readers, forced to accept his vision of human existence (worse things do happen every day in some places) and most of all, the characters. They dream of a world where everything would be different, but every time something new happens, it only increases their bitterness. I was always curious about the outcomes of Lessing’s fifth child living in a different environment and this book has provided me with an answer – distance doesn’t matter.

I assume every reader knows what this book is about right from the start, even if he is unfamiliar with the plot. One can’t escape the charged atmosphere, electrified by contrasting the indifferent, all-embracing nature to the human world, and an ominous feeling of increasingly tragic events. What’s magical about Steinbeck’s writing is that while the events keep moving faster with each page, they nonetheless remain perfectly still. This paradoxical stillness resembles a calm before an earthquake. With an alertness of an animal anticipating danger, the reader doesn’t need to change the position to see what’s on the other side; everything is already there at the beginning. Perhaps the story was almost too neat, which is why it was easy for me to get detached.

32 Comments

  1. Coyote from Orion

    January 28, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I was 11 when I read it. Also read the moon is down. To kill a mockingbird had the most impact on me about that time

  2. Classic novel here! I remember reading it in high school years ago

  3. I wrote a poem inspired by this novel. Needless to say that I loved it. šŸ™‚

  4. CB is a JS guy. He’s on the re read cycle.

  5. Interesting read. Definitely a dark tale parable of men journeying through a world of pitfalls and brutal, inhumane experiences. Their dreams seem all but doomed, obstacles block their ways, happiness appears to be an impossibility, and human handicaps affect their hopes. A classic read but….

  6. I love Steinbeck. He understands tragedy. He also knows people and how to write characters. And his dialogue! I just wrote a close reading of one of his short stories on my blog. I’d like to read Cannery Row next. Have you read it?

    • He does, although I prefer more joyful books, since this is the one area where one can escape reality:)
      Unfortunately I haven’t read it, only The grapes of wrath. Hope it will meet your expectations!

  7. Iā€™m happy you enjoyed it

  8. Try seeing it in a play format! Amazing!

  9. I’ve read Steinbeck (“Grapes of Wrath,” “Travels With Charley,” and some short stories). I would like to read this great story. Thanks for whetting my appetite, and for the blog like!

  10. Of course, maybe he MEANT for you to feel detached… detached people witness things but make no threatening moves to change things…

    • I heard he first wanted to name it “Something that happened”, which tells all about his intentions:) So I agree with you that that was his intention, but I meant to say something else.. It’s more of a personal caprice than anything else, but I normally don’t like it when the novels are too proper.. If every sentence has its specific place and intent, without any byways or trespassing, I start thinking more about the story’s structure, writing process and so on, and less about the story.. Which I don’t really enjoy.

      Thank you very much for stopping by and reading it, I hope you’ll revisit:)

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