“Of Mice and Men” is one of my favorite movies, the original 1939 version not the remakes.
Both “Of Mice and Men” and “The Grapes of Wrath” are in my top ten list of movies. I have watched both of these movies numerous times but oddly enough I never read the books. So over this past summer while I was on a long weekend vacation at the beach I finally sat down and read “Of Mice and Men”.
There is one part in this story where I thought John Steinbeck had captured the dreams of every common working man.
Candy the worn out old ranch hand is in Crooks, the black stable buck’s room along with the simple minded Lennie Small. In one scene Steinbeck placed together the misfits of the story.
As different as all three characters are, all their animosities and differences disappear as they share in the common, working man’s dream.
Crooks, has just learned of Lennie and Candy’s dream of getting a piece of land of their own, a place they can call home. And to me this passage from the story sums up every man’s dream.
Candy cried, “Sure they all want it. Everybody wants a little bit of land, not
much. Jus’ som’thin’ that was his. Som’thin’ he could live on and there
couldn’t nobody throw him off of it. I never had none. I planted crops for damn
near ever’body in this state, but they wasn’t my crops, and when I harvested
‘em, it wasn’t none of my harvest. But we gonna do it now, and don’t you make
no mistake about that. George ain’t got the money in town. That money’s in the
bank. Me an’ Lennie an’ George. We gonna have a room to ourself. We’re
gonna have a dog an’ rabbits an’ chickens. We’re gonna have green corn an’
maybe a cow or a goat.” He stopped, overwhelmed with his picture.
A lot of us go through life share cropping.
We plant for the company and government. We harvest for the company and government. But all we really want is a little piece that is ours.
We don’t want the whole ranch. We don’t want all the acres, the cattle, and the equipment that goes with it.
We just want our little piece of land and to be left alone.
Steinbeck sums it up in those few lines, so simple and yet so true.
I’ve got to make time to read through all his other works that I have not touched.
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