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Of Mice and Men

            In the novel, Of Mice and Men, many universal themes in life and society are expressed. One aspect of life which is seen throughout the book is loneliness. The two main characters in the story are Lennie and George. Lennie is unnaturally large and mentally disabled. He needs George's constant supervision to keep him out of trouble, and even with it he still struggles to get by. George is a smaller, more intelligent man, and is the cousin of Lennie, so feels the obligation to watch over him. Candy is old, and different from the other ranch hands. His only comfort is his old dog, which keeps him company and reminds him of days when he was young and whole. He has no relatives and once his dog is killed, Candy is rendered completely alone. George is also caught in the trap of loneliness. Just as Candy has his dog for company, George has Lennie. Continuing the parallel, George is also left completely alone when Lennie is killed. This leads to the next theme, which is, does George or anyone else for that matter, have the right to take someone's life. As previously discussed Lennie is mentally disabled and does not know his own strength. One day, when a pretty woman comes to see what he is doing, she begins to scream. To quit her, Lennie grabs her by the throat accidentally killing her. George soon finds out and rushes Lennie a couple miles away to hide for a while. When the woman's husband finds out, he is very angry and threatens to shoot Lennie in the gut because it is believe to be the most painful way to die. The issue of loyalty also comes into play now and is seen through George. He is a bright man who could have possibly made a successful life for himself on his own. He chose instead to stay beside his friend Lennie. The dim-witted Lennie needs George for survival. It is this need which propels George to make the great sacrifice he does. He truly loves Lennie through thick and thin. He protects him, he guides him, and ultimately saves him from misery by killing him before the others do.

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