The Turning Point In Novel “Of Mice and Men”
A clear turning point is shown in the novel, “Of Mice And Men” by John Steinbeck. Set in Soledad California in the 1930’s, when America was struggling with the problems of the Great Depression. Unemployment in America rose to 25%, jobs were extremely limited and hard to come by. The story follows two migrant workers, Lennie and George, who are trying to reach their “American Dream”. The story is based around the themes of friendship and loyalty, and helped me understand how strong friends can be.
The turning point of the novel is when Lennie unintentionally murders Curly’s wife. This event changes the direction of the novel as it forces George to make an important decision. Throughout the story, Lennie’s mental incapability’s hinder George and himself, none more than when he kills Curly’s wife. Lennie’s strength is one of his major positive attributes for his work ethic and workload around the ranch, but also a negative trait due to his mental handicap, which renders him unable to control his strength.
This is portrayed through the mice and the small pup he kills. Curly’s wife enters the barn quietly and tries to console Lennie after he has killed his puppy. She tries to overcome her personal loneliness of her loveless marriage by talking to the other ranch hands. But Lennie is cautious because he has a slight understanding that she is dangerous and not to be messed around with. But she outwits him and he begins to talk to her. He slowly starts to stroke her hair, harder and harder until she starts to scream.
In terror of being caught by George, Lennie shakes Curly’s wife and breaks her neck. He realizes what he has done, and shows his loyalty and trust in George by running to the spot George asked of him. Lennie wants more than anything to please George but he has insipid, and has terrible decision-making. This reveals Lennie’s lack of intelligence, his vulnerability and his dependence on George. He provides Lennie with everything he lacks.
He is a natural born leader, intelligent, worldly, and he shows his resilience by sticking with Lennie throughout the novel, and also showing his common sense, by adapting to make the right decisions for Lennie and himself when Lennie gets them into trouble. However George also needs Lennie’s physical strength, and work ethic at the ranch so they can maintain their jobs and work towards their shared “American Dream”. The strength of their relationship helps them to overcome the tough environment they are in and furthermore, helps them to overcome the loneliness of the time through companionship.
Their trust, reliance and loyalty in each other give’s them hope in achieving their goal. But after this particular incident, the dream is finally shattered. George has to decide what is best for Lennie that shows his love for him. As a result of Lennie killing Curly’s wife, George kills Lennie. George realizes that Lennie will be killed by Curly, so he takes it upon himself in caring for Lennie. He steals a gun from the ranch, finds Lennie and kills him peacefully.
George shows his love for Lennie by killing him, which was the ultimate act of kindness. Lennie had a substantial incapability’s that prevented him from reaching his dream, but he did have some admirable traits. His loyalty to George was paramount, shown through his work ethic on the ranch. The story has many themes such as having to make important decisions even if they are extremely difficult, but most importantly the relationship and the companionship between Lennie and George.