They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.
Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.
‘A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green.’
As much as studying a book to its death in school did my head in, this is one of those books that I finish wishing I had a class to analyse it with. There are plenty of symbolism’s and themes running throughout this little novella that I picked up on but I often wonder what I’ve missed.
Considering this book is a classic, which I usually have an innate fear of, I ended up really enjoying this hopeful but sad little story. I’ve never read a Steinbeck book before but I can already understand why he has such die-hard fans. His writing is simplistic but absolutely stunning – you completely lose yourself in the environment of his story.
I loved the characters in this book and the unconditional friendship shared between the unlikely duo of George and Lennie. I wish this one hadn’t had to end up like it did, but it presents a strong message about the American Dream and the harsh realities of life.