Andrew Kubasek's Reviews > Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
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Oct 03, 07

bookshelves: completed
Read in October, 2007

There are few books which reduce me to emotional breakdown, but this is one of them. Revealing the darker side of compassion, Steinbeck tells the story of two friends and what happens when one of them "does a bad thing."

Has this novel become over-taught in high schools? Definitely - and people's perception of the novel suffers because of it. People have to want to read this book because nobody wants such a harsh, violent story placed upon them as an obligation to read.

This is a very different "American Dream" story than what most people think of (which is usually "The Great Gatsby"). It is about turn-of-the-century working men, who live week-to-week and month-to-month, always building better lives in their heads than can ever be built by their work. It about trying to get ahead, but always having a handicap - brutality (Lennie), being crippled (Candy), being unwanted (Crooks), or having to take care of someone else (George). It is about young men and their dreams, and old men and their dogs, and the dream that all Americans carry of running away and living off the fat of the land.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Elissa Bratcher I love your review excellent!!!


David Sarkies Sometimes I wonder that the only reason we read this 'harsh' books is because they are thrust upon us at school. Many of us would rather read a nice fuzzy book with a happy ending.


Petergiaquinta There's not much to say about a nice fuzzy book with a happy ending. You read it and it's done, and you think, my that was nice. But OMM (and books with similar bleak endings, like TGG mentioned above) leave us with a lot to ponder, both about the world around us and the world within us. I'd like a nice fuzzy life with a happy ending, too, but Steinbeck helps us navigate the one we're stuck with here.

I just wrapped up King Lear with my students. Talk about bleak...no happy endings there!


David Sarkies I agree. I do enjoy reading my fuzzy books, but the tragic ones tend to be so much more powerful. I love King Lear - it is one of the very few plays that make me cry (Les Miserable is another) and it is by far my favourite Shakespearian play.


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