The opening sequence of events, which introduces us to George and Lennie indeed gives the impression that the larger Lennie, suffers from some form mental disability. He is the exact antithesis is the character of George, a small man, with sharp features, who seems to be close friend and confidant to Lennie. In addition to this, George also seems to be greatly concerned with Lennies safety and well-being. Furthermore, it seemed to me that the two have had a long-time close companionship, or, that George owes Lennie some type of allegiance, as George seems to have suffered at the expense of Lennie as is evident from the previous job.
In this chapter, it became clear to me how difficult the work at the ranch was as previously alluded to by George. The harsh realities that occur at the ranch such as Slim s drowning of the puppies, and the suggestion that Candy should replace his old dog, with a younger one which will be of more use.
The character of Slim is also interesting, as he seems to be quite an authoratative figure, despite not being the boss. It is still unclear to me as to where he derives his respect from. In addition to this, the bond between Lennie and George seems to have become closer as a result of Curley. This close relationship between men seems-at least so far- to be a recurring subject. There is no strong female prescence at the ranch, and it seems to be running in fine condition due to the work of all the men.
This chapter cleared up my earlier questions as to the nature of the friendship of George and Lennie. Their relationship is a result of a long-time friendship, in which George initially teased and bothered Lennie. Georges epiphany however, that ridiculing someone who is weaker is wrong is indeed in conflict with the mentality on the ranch. In where Cndys old dog, although no longer of use in herding sheep, provided a sentimental attachment to the old man, was killed because it was weak.
The emerging character of Crooks is quite significant in this Chapter. Much like many of the other characters, Crooks suffers from a deep sense of isolation. This is due however, mostly to the fact that Crooks is an African-American. This was most evident in the scene in which Curleys wife threatens to lynch him. Crooks seems to accept his inferiority, to whites, when he refuses to take part in the George, Lennie, and Candys plans to buy the farm.
The most striking thing in this chapter was the development of Curleys wife. It is interesting to note that she is Steinbecks only female character in the novel, and prior to this chapter, she seemed to me to be rather one-dimensional. She was consistently portrayed as merely a sensuous flirt. Her confessions to Lennie, that she in actuality disliked Curley, and once aspired to be a movie star adds a complexity to her character.
The death of Curleys wife at the hands of Lennie was to me, quite predictable. George shared this sense of mine, when he initially heard of the murder. Slim, the voice of reason, advises him and George now realizes that he has only 2 options. The most painless would be to do the deed himself.
The final chapter again brings an imagery familiar from earlier chapters. My earlier predictions of Lennies impending death were realized. Georges intense feelings or grief I believe are not only a result of the loss of his close friend, but also by the fact that he will never reach his goals and realize his dreams without Lennie. When Lennie was with him , he had a sense of purpose and something that distinguished him from the other workers. However, with Lennie gone, he must now abandon his dreams.
I truly enjoyed this novel. Although the characters may have been quite one-dimensional, I believe this was necessary for Steinbeck to characterize the various dangers of the world. Furthermore, the idea of survival of the fittest is indeed quite evident, as the weak prey on the weaker. One instance of this is when Crooks, a man handicapped by his race, reduces Lennie to tears, after preying on his mental handicap. This was the first work of Steinbeck that I have read, and I enjoyed his style. Despite its seeming predictability, I felt that the message it attempted to convey was important, that the world preys on the weak, and that oppression and suffering are directly related to some of our innate human weaknesses.
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