Examples of Friendship in 'Of Mice and Men': Critical Essay

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Having a sense of safety allows a physical, mental, and emotional shield that protects us from the harshness constantly surrounding us. Safety is reflected in the environment and its inhabitants. People often play a role in the feeling and comfort of a place. Some create peace and harmony, others chaos. A lack of people and closeness in one’s life can manifest uneasiness and uncertainty. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men follows two ranch hands during the Great Depression, a time of unsettled futures. Lennie Small and George Milton have been lifelong buddies and travel side-by-side in search of sources of income.

Together, they experiment with feelings of safety as a result of brotherhood. They share a story-like dream together: to own their own land. Lennie and George describe the men they are afraid to become, ones who are lonely without a sense of belonging. Lennie cries excitedly, “‘But not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why’” (Steinbeck 14). George and Lennie pride themselves on the fact they travel together and care for one another. They share a very close friendship and share a close connection that keeps them both safe. While they are apart, George and Lennie worry about one another and long to be together. Steinbeck demonstrates that friendship and emotional connections can generate a safe atmosphere and ambiance. However, at the same time, the absence of friendship and the presence of loneliness and isolation can prompt a dearth of protection. On their quest for affluence, George and Lennie meet a swamper by the name of Candy. He had spent the last few years of his life working on a ranch only to lose one of his hands.

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Candy’s best friend is the old sheepherding dog that he has had since a pup. The dog got eventually became too old and was no longer useful, so he was pulled off the pasture. Candy realizes that the ranch owner would treat him as he did his dog, and would “can” as soon as he was no longer convenient. Candy feels no atmosphere protection due to his old age often leaving him out and the meagerness of close friends. George and Lennie share their dream with the outcast, and he immediately wants to be a part of it and even offers to help pay for the land using the little income he had made. George tells Candy he needs to think about his proposition because he and Lennie had always planned on doing this themselves. Candy implores eagerly, “‘I’d make a will and leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, ‘cause I ain’t got no relatives nor nothing’” (Steinbeck 59). Candy is so incredibly isolated that he has no family or friends to leave his money to. He desires to have his own land and live with those who care about him and have a sense of belonging.

Candy is willing to give his money to two men he hardly knows, which seems to be the strongest connection he has had with anyone in a long time. Steinbeck proposes that safety can be attained in strenuous situations through a shared dream of outlying strangers. Furthermore, a lack of safety can be the result of racism and discrimination. Along the way, they meet an African American man nicknamed Crooks due to his twisted spine from a kick by a horse. Crooks is a stable hand who lives by himself amongst the animals in the barn because he isn’t allowed to sleep with the white ranch hands in the bunkhouse.

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Examples of Friendship in ‘Of Mice and Men’: Critical Essay. (2023, August 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/examples-of-friendship-in-of-mice-and-men-critical-essay/
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