John Steinbeck's timeless novel, Of Mice and Men, is a piece of literature that many teens encounter in high school. It explores the story of two migrant workers during the Great Depression. What are the central themes of the novel?
Of Mice and Men is about the loss of innocenceShow moreShow less
One of the protagonists of the story, Lennie, views the world in a childlike way, due to a mental disability. His inability to understand his strength often leads to him accidentally hurting others.
Lennie has trouble understanding his strength. Throughout the novel, the reader sees him accidentally kill animals, most notably, a puppy. Due to Lennie's disability, he views the world in a very child-like manner. He is not able to fully understand nor acknowledge why these animals died and that he was being too rough with them.
His child-like manner of speech and behavior contrasts strongly with the violent actions that he takes. In a way, this shows that much of his characterization involves a gradual loss of innocence, ultimately coming to a head when he kills the puppy and hides it. This ultimately leads him to unintentionally killing Curley's wife.
[P1] Lennie can't comprehend his strength.
[P2] Lennie's inability to comprehend his strength leads him to accidentally killing animals.
[P3] Lennie's actions with the animals represent a loss of innocence that progresses throughout the novel.
[P4] Lennie's last accident (with the puppy) leads him to the situation that ultimately causes his death.