Who doesn't love this book? If you actually got through high school without reading it, you should read it.
The American Library Association has consistently had to deal with the fact that this classic novel continues to rank among the top ten most frequently challenged books. The title, taken from Robert Burns famous line the best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley foreshadows the story of George and Lennie, two migrant workers who dream of someday owning their own little farm where they can settle down to live off the fatta the lan. Like all classic pieces of literature Of Mice and Men, which is set during the depression and deals with universal themes like friendship, isolation, cruelty, innocence, compassion, cowardliness, courage, and love reveals aspects of the human condition that are timeless. Another reason this book is a classic is that instead of simply telling a sad story about a child-like, developmentally disabled man and his friend who has taken on the responsibility of looking out for him, Steinbeck gives us a chance to get to know them. By the end of the book its hard not to feel moved and touched by what happens to characters we have come to understand and care about. On the other hand not everyone who reads the book ends up feeling that way. Apparently theres plenty there to offend all kinds of people -- animal rights people are upset because of what happens to Candys dog and Lennies puppy. Civil rights activists protest the character and treatment of Crooks, the black hired hand who sleeps in a separate bunk house from the other ranch workers. Feminists complain about the stereotypical treatment of Curlys wife and the notable absence of any strong female characters. Some people feel the portrayal of Lennie is demeaning to persons with disabilities. And of course, staunchly religious folks are outraged at the suggestion that mercy killing can be the form that love takes. Nevertheless this book remains a classic piece of American literature and having read it I have a pretty good reason why.
This classic novel tells the tragic tale of Lennie Small and George Milton. They are out of luck and out of work migrant workers roaming the highways of California during the 1920s. The depression is the backdrop for the story but that does not prevent Lennie and George from dreaming big. Steinbeck paints a masterful and brilliant portrait of a bygone era that still resonates today. Every time I read this book it reads differently. This is required reading for most high schools. Fifteen years after I originally read I still love it. However, the difference between reading it at 14 and 28 is amazing. Lennie and George are some of the best characters of 20th Century Literature. I highly reccommend picking this one up.
This is one of my favorite American classics. Sure it ends on a very sad note, but it is still a book that deserves its place in the halls of literature canon. I love sharing it with students too because their reactions are usually very strong. There are no passive readers of this story, just listeners who didn't care to listen or readers who didn't really read.
From the back cover: "Traveling across America in search of who you are - now they do it on cycles, in cars, by bus or in the time-honored tradition of foot and thumb. The wanderers of today may wear their hair long and speak a different jargon, but their trip is one that men (and women) have taken for as long as this country has been pushing at its frontiers.
John Steinbeck writes of such a trip in Of Mice and Men: the desperate longing of men for some kind of home - roots that they can believe in, land that they can care for - and the painful search for self. This beautiful, timeless novel speaks of the love that men can feel for each other - one inarticulate, dumb, sometimes violent in his need; the other clever, hopeful, and tied to a responsibility he thinks he doesn't want."
Warning: This book includes violence, obsenities and profanity. Not recommended for children. At 118 pages and large print, it's a quick read.