A Quest for Identity – Of Mice and Men

A Mission for Identity– Of Mice and Male

In both John Steinbeck’s unique and the Gary Sinise movie, Of Mice and Men, the style of an individual’s quest for recognition is present. The two main characters build a strong friendship in search of work so they might acquire some land of their own.

There are lots of signs in the story that the characters connect themselves to, inexplicably, that work as a talisman to please the needs of fulfillment and assistance define their sense of ownership or identification. In a short article written by Todd M. Lieber entitled, “Talismanic Patterns in the Novels of John Steinbeck”, Lieber explains “this idea exists as a reoccurring structural pattern in practically all of Steinbeck’s books, and it contributes significantly to the main styles of his work, helping to communicate much that is “mysterious” in his vision of guy” (262 ).

Leiber goes on and writes “Talismanic signs take numerous and numerous forms in Steinbeck’s novels” (263 ). Land is one of the many talismanic symbols in Of Mice and Males that drive the ambition of our main characters to set out on a quest looking for a location to call their own.

In the beginning of the story, the setting is explained to the readers. It foretells the more powerful symbols of the book. The primary characters George and Lennie settle upon an area between a river and the hills, beyond that are mountains that surround the valley. They decide not to go on to their job destination up until morning.

As they established there area for the night, George asks Lennie to go round up some wood for a fire. Lennie gathers wood and George develops a fire with it to prepare their bean dinner. Lennie, who experiences a psychological handicap, tends to be absent-minded to the fact that George needs to look after him, which fuels George’s anger into a long speech.

George informs Lennie, “God you’re a lot of difficulty, I might get along so easy therefore nice if I didn’t have you on my tail” (Steinbeck 6). Lennie starts to think George does not want him and uses to go off into the land. “If you don’t want me I can go off in the hills an’ find a cavern. I can disappear anytime” (Steinbeck 12). Lennie keeps speaking about this “cave” that he will go live in.

In both the unique and movie, George does not let Lennie leave. He informs Lennie “No-look! I was jus foolin’, Lennie. ‘Cause I desire you to stay with me” (Steinbeck 12). The next morning they direct to the cattle ranch they are expected to operate at. After arriving on the ranch, George and Lennie satisfy the boss and are revealed the bunk house where they will be sleeping during their stay.

Lennie asks George to describe as soon as again a piece of land they prepare to acquire. Lennie loves hearing these stories time and time again. It appears to be reassuring to him. George begins to explain a 10 acre piece of home as Lennie keeps tingling and discussing “living off the fatta the lan” (Sinise). The land they speak about is the main focus throughout the story that keeps them going.

Leiber writes, “One common of the talismanic pattern is the relationship in between males and particular “places” (263 ). While talking in the bunk home one night, Candy over hears them and offers his cost savings and support to buy this piece of land. In Burt Cardullo’s short article, “On the Roadway to Disaster: Mice, Sweet, and Land in Of Mice and Men.”

He asserts, “Like Lennie, Sweet requires someone to run his affairs, to make the rest of his life simpler and more congenial. He requires George” (20 ). George, Lennie, and now Sweet eagerly anticipate owning this home as means of satisfaction in their lives.

Steinbeck was born in a fertile farming valley in Salinas, California. A lot of his best novels were written about both the valley and coast settings where he lived. Of Mice and Guy was composed in the late 1930s and was concentrated on the California laboring class. Steinbeck’s novels appear to share comparable themes. Leiber describes a continuous idea that is apparent in most of Steinbeck’s books:

Without a doubt the greatest and most long-lasting of the talismanic recognitions in Steinbeck’s fiction is that of men with the land. As a talismanic symbol, land merges the three main elements of the pattern of recognition that I have actually mentioned: guy attaching spiritual worth to an item as a means of pleasing some deep and unidentifiable requirement; guy instilling his spirit into his ownerships or the things of his work; and male using the talisman as an automobile for perceiving and affirming his relatedness to a larger whole … To George and Lennie in Of Mice and Male, for instance, land represents satisfaction; out of their deprivation they imagine having land, and their dream is a need for identification. (267 )

Leiber’s breakdown of Steinbeck’s writing style verifies the idea of talismanic patterns in Of Mice and Male. George, Lennie, and Candy intended on living together up until the awful death of Curley’s wife.

Cardullo composes, “George loved Lennie a lot that he ended up needing to eliminate him. He wished to remain with Lennie and live a regular life. Just when they have the ability to get the farm with the assistance of Candy’s cash, the inevitable occurs and Lennie eliminates Curley’s other half” (24 ). Lennie’s actions leave Sweet questioning whether or not their dream will ever end up being reality.


Bert Cardullo. “On the Road to Catastrophe: Mice, Sweet, and Land in Of Mice and Male.” American Drama. 16.1 (2007 ): 19-29. Literature Resource Center. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.

Lieber, Todd M. “Talismanic Patterns In The Books Of John Steinbeck.” American Literature 44.2 (1972 ): 262-75. Academic Browse Premier. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.

Of Mice and Men. Dir. Gary Sinese. Perf. Gary Sinese, John Malkovich. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1992.

DVD Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Guy. New York City: Penguin Group, 1993. Print.

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