I’m on a plane to Chicago, and I just finished reading John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men. I think this is the second or third time I’ve read it. I love the plain, direct language Steinbeck uses to tell the story; there’s nothing fancy in the words, but it’s magical the way they’re put together.
Funny – I knew what was coming, but I plowed through to the end as though it was the first time. I feel admiration for George because he keeps his promise to look after Lennie; keeping him out of trouble and indulging his fantasies about livin’ off the fat a the lan’, and rabbits and alfalfa. Like Candy, I feel disgust for Curley’s wife – “you ain’t no good now, you lousy tart.”
There are several artfully-turned phrases, but the one I like best comes just after Lennie has made his final mistake:
“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 slowly on. “
There are some moments in my life that felt just like that. I remember last June that terrible moment when I realized that my father would not recover from the surgery he had to remove cancer that had returned with a vengeance. Time slowed to a crawl as my mother and siblings and I together had to acknowledge the truth, and move forward with decisions we wished we never had to make.
In the days and weeks that followed, time did awaken and move slowly on. But it was different now; and could not be changed back. It was this way for George, when he came to the horrible realization that he had to do what couldn’t be changed back.
I wonder how I might have handled George’s dilemma at the end; how could he have done anything else? Lennie was destined to die at Curly’s hand, so George gave him a better way out. Still, to take another man’s life to spare him a worse fate -I’m not sure I’d have the courage to pull the trigger.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad