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Tradgedy In "Of Mice And Men"

2101 words - 8 pages

Tragedy is a theme rarely dealt with by current writers. The main contributor to such a factor in today's writing may be clarified by considering the society in which we live in and the pressures that it applies on us. In such a society as today's, it is understandable that the general public prefers to read stories that are of a fantasy nature rather than narratives that deal with the genuine, and sometimes tragic, events of reality. However, despite the common belief, tragedy is and will always be a part of our lives and only if we start to accept and learn from them will we begin to be able to advance, both mentally and psychologically, to a higher level.The novel, Of Mice and Men, deals with the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small. George is a small, intelligent man while Lennie, on the other hand, is a giant and a lesser intellect. These two main characters are ranch workers who wander from town to town in search of work. They survive and nurture from the fantasy of their dream to own a piece of land on which they can build their farm. However, as the establishment of their dream approaches reality, Lennie, similar to his behaviour of the past, makes an unintended mistake - that is, he kills the ranch owner's son's wife and gets into trouble. Consequently, as the other ranch workers seeks to slaughter Lennie, George has no other choice but to mercifully to kill his only friend. As a result, George not only looses his friend but also his dream.The poem, "The best-laid schemes o' mice and' men aft agley," not only provided Steinbeck with a title but also summarised the story. It states that men is at the mercy of forces he cannot control which ruthlessly but indifferently destroys the illusions he has manufactured. However, despite the grim events in the book Of Mice and Men, it is not, however, exactly a tragedy but more of a dark comedy. It is about the triumph of the indomitable will to survive. It is a story not of man's defeat at the hands of an implacable nature but of man's painful conquest of this nature. It illustrates the inferiority man feels through the rejection of his dreams of greatness and the acceptance of his mediocrity.Furthermore, in a way, the story mocks the stupidity of men's well-meaning but careless actions that constrains them to a path which leads in circles. This imagery can be seen by the technique of ending the story where it started. It symbolises the ineffectiveness of the journey made by George and Lennie against the dominate fate to establish their dream. The story portrays the stereotypical picture of men who are unable to, in spite of their efforts, to achieve their dreams through integrity and hard-work. To the contrary, like puppets, they are grasped by the hand of fate and are guided onto roads of destiny not of their wanting. And that in itself is an evident tragedy.The theme of calamity exists on several levels in this book, and albeit the obvious, George and Lennie are not the only ones who...

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