Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a story of two workers who travel together in search of work, mostly farming, in the hinterlands of America. This is however not a story about their times or their hardships or the lives that they and millions of other lowly paid workers like them led. It is rather a touching story of brotherhood and broken dreams.
The title tells you nothing about what the book entails, yet when you finish it, you realise that there couldn’t have been a more apt name.
A novella that has just a few sequences in it spread across just a couple of days, the arrival of the two workers – George and Lennie – at the farm, them working, them talking of their dreams, a series of unfortunate events and finally the end. That’s it. A book that doesn’t take you too long to finish but stays with you long after.
“As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.”John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men
Because you feel bad for them. You feel sad. Sad when you think of how much the lives of such ‘transient’ people, people who had no permanent homes and therefore permanent social connections, go completely unnoticed. Unrecorded even. They are human too, yet they live their entire lives being invisible. They too have dreams, but it doesn’t matter to anyone because in their world surviving itself takes up all their time. Even thinking about the future is futile.
And in such times, you have two people, two unrelated young men, stand by each other in spite of their differences or the trouble they get into because they are together, support each other, have each other’s back. Like brothers. A rarity in a dog-eat-dog world.
When you care for someone so much, when you have a bond that has been forged by the difficulties that you have lived through rather than just blood, how far will you go to protect them?
That is what this story makes you ask yourself at the end.
How far would you go?
An easy breeze of a read. Don’t miss it.
Pics: Remya Nair