Do you ever have that feeling of morose despair and hopelessness when you wake up in the evening after sleeping for a while. I am sure you have. Every person I have asked feels dreadful if they slept in the day and have to wake up in the evening. I really quite can’t figure out the reason for it but its awful. Yes, I did that today. Slept in the evening for an hour and got up while it was still evening. Felt horrible!!
It feels like the world has just walked by and you are left alone. Yes, there is a loneliness all around. It feels as if life is a lost cause. As if if you will never enjoy anything. As if you will be left alone in a cold rain…It is just a very weird state of mind and always happens when you wake up in the evening. I would love to find out the science behind it!
This is a novella by the nobel prize winning author John Steinbeck. The title of the book has been taken from a poem by Robert Burns called ” To the mouse” from the lines..”The best-laid plans of mice and men aft gang agly.”
And so is the story too. About two ranch workers whose dreams of having their own land and living in prosperity ends in a disappointment. There and many themes in the novel. The major ones being loneliness/solitude, dreams, friendship, euthanasia, and also about the curse of strength. The story is touching and it moves you in the heart. Set in the times of Great Depression, it is about how two friends roam from one ranch to another looking for jobs because one of them is simple minded and can’t stay away from trouble which he never intends to create. But his innocence takes him down all the time. The other friend always protects him but not this last time when he himself ends his friends and his own dreams.
There are instances of racial and gender discrimination, of class discrimination. Author has used many characters who are physically deformed and also ends up killing many of the animals in the story. All this points to the fact that this world is not perfect. There are aberrations and your even most cherished dreams may never see the light of the day. The book also seems to profess euthanasia. When a dog of a ranch worker gets old, he is suggested by others to get rid of him by killing him as he now only causing pain to himself as well as to the others. The same happens with Lennie Small who has now become nothing but a burden and should be freed, which eventually happens by the hands of his own friend. With this , the dream that they had shared together comes to its sad demise.
Other prominent theme is solitude. Curley’s wife, Crooks, Candy, all are alone in a way and try to cling to each other. They admire that Lennie and George are together as they seldom see men who are not alone. However, finally George is left alone too. They are all in need of someone to talk too. Friendship is explored well by the author who says that it goes beyond limits. Whereon one hand, George is so protective and caring for Lennie, it is he who kills him to free him of his own pain.
There are many many more allusions and concepts which are evoked as you read this beautifully written work and which I find impossible to write here all just now. It is a wonderful little book.