I’ve long ago read and cherished Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden, but Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men never made its way to my hands until recently. I’ll say little because it is a brief and beautiful story that filled me with sorrow in a way that no book has filled me for a long time. All of the foreshadowing is there to lead up to the ending: Lennie’s “attack” of the woman in Weed, Lennie’s oafish smothering of the mice and the puppy, the mercy killing of the aged and crippled dog, and the disappearance of the Luger pistol all directed me to predict what would happen next. However despite all that foreshadowing as I reached the end I was still filled with sad acceptance, knowing that George’s final act was an act of love for friendship and had to be carried through.
On the surface this novella is brief and a simple story, but Steinbeck has packed this short novella with depth and intent that lingers like a lost friendship.
“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.” (93)