I thought that there were other endings that could have been. After reading “Of Mice & Men” in an afternoon, I had to pause when I turned the final page and ask, “What? He did what?” The ending left me short-sheeted. Some of my short-sheetedness can probably be chalked up to wanting happy endings, resolutions that end predictably. Neither Steinbeck book that I have read have ended with a period, or at least a period where I thought a period should be.
Lennie’s character seemed familiar. I remember a Warner Bros’ cartoon character, The Abominable Snow Rabbit, usually with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck that reminded me of Lennie. His famous line was, “I will hug him and squeeze him and name him George.” I believe that he also said, “Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?”
In the end, the book is worth reading but there are many other books that should be read first. There were a few images that were telling, however:
P. 2- On the sand banks the rabbits sat as quietly as little gray, sculptured stones.
P. 19- At about ten o’clock in the morning the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows, and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars.
P. 37- He (Slim) was a jerkline skinner, the prince of the ranch, capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line to the leaders. He was capable of killing a fly on the wheeler’s butt with a bull whip without touching the mule. There was gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke… His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought. His hands, large and lean, we as delicate in their action as those of a temple dancer.
P. 88-89- An exchange between a black worker, Crooks, and the wife of the head rancher’s son: “Listen, n—–,” she said. “You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?” Crooks stared hopelessly at her, and then he sat down on his bunk and drew into himself. She closed on him. “You know what i could do?” Crooks seemed to grow smaller, and he pressed himself against the wall. “Yes, ma’am.” “Well, you keep your place then, n—–. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny. Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego- nothing to arouse either like or dislike. He said, “Yes, ma’am, ” and his voice was toneless.
P. 101- 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. Then gradually time awakened again and moved sluggishly on. The horses stamped on the other side of the feeding racks and the halter chains clinked. Outside, the men’s voices became louder and clearer.