It took me some time before getting back into reading Classics and this book reminded me why I love reading them. Classic books has this timeless feel that really arouses the imagination. This book of 120 pages is a treasure where the author dives deep into themes of loyalty and hope. This book is a gem.
The story follows the friendship of two migrant workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, around California during the Great Depression during the 1930s as they try to search for jobs along the countryside. They are directly opposite, George having a small build but smart and witty and Lennie, physically big but lacks intelligence and forgetful. We follow as the odd nomadic couple try to live with the company of each other with George always trying to protect Lennie all the time. Lennie has this penchant for touching soft things that got him into a serious trouble once when he touch a girl’s dress and didn’t let go of it because of panic which almost costs them their lives if not for George’s help who finally decided for them to leave the village and run off and that’s where this story starts. They landed to work on a farm owned by an unpleasant farmer and his stubborn son, Curley.
Lennie has this childlike innocence that anyone can easily be drawn in. George believes that Lennie is a nice person who doesn’t intend to hurt anyone the reason why he can’t leave him. It’s not hard to empathize to both of them. George always tell Lennie how to behave but when provoked or urged George can’t predict the consequences of Lennie’s obedience to whatever George tells him. when a death occurs on the farm,it became the responsibility of Lennie to protect his friend. The ending is one of the most heart wrenching ending that I’ve read.
In the farm, the two meet a lot of interesting characters like Curley’s wife, a flirtatious and ambitious woman who always appears like she has an eye on every man in the farm earning him the tag of “jailbait” among the workers; Candy, a tall old man with a stump right hand that he lost in a ranch accident, who serves as the swamper in the farm; Slim, who is the most respected and admired worker in the ranch because of his wisdom and insights and he’s also noted for his gentle movements and speech; Crooks, so named because of a crooked back, who serves as the stable boy, living separately form the other because he’s black; and Carlson, an insensitive who only thinks about himself and not of others.
Their motivation and drive to persevere comes from their dream of having their own land, raising their own livestock, planting and harvesting their own produce and keeping their own house. Lennie always likes George to repeat every detail of their plan throughout the story. I also like how their friendship was deeply rooted. And despite being just a couple of pages the book was able to convince me and help me understand how deep their friendship is.
I like how the author was able to masterfully create a plot without making the story very complex and by just using simple words he was able to create vivid descriptions of the setting and the characters. The storytelling is also captivating and the dialogues were made to be stimulating. Discrimination, abused and slavery which were all portrayed in the book were all discussed in simple but thought provoking ways.
The author was also able to portray numerous themes like the sacrifices that we do for friendship and the limitations of our dreams and hopes. The book also talks about the sturdiness and frailty of humankind in the choices that we make.
This is the second book that I read from the author, first being The Pearl, and I must say that Steinbeck is good in relaying the emotions of the book to his readers by creating a solid structure for his characters, may it be their backgrounds and physical being. I can’t wait to get my hands on his other works.
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