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Of Mice and Men- Emotion not reason motivates Leni and George - Essay Example

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Literary critics suppose that it is emotion, not reason that motivates characters in literature. The novella ‘Of Mice and Men’ by J. Steinbeck vividly portrays that…
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Of Mice and Men- Emotion not reason motivates Leni and George
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Of Mice and Men In literature, emotions play a crucial role in story conflict creating emotional and psychological tension. Literary critics suppose that it is emotion, not reason that motivates characters in literature. The novella ‘Of Mice and Men’ by J. Steinbeck vividly portrays that the actions of main characters, Lennie and George, are influenced by emotions and deep feelings rather than a rational choice.
Sense of loneliness and isolation are the main feelings experienced by the main characters. Steinbeck includes detailed accounts of the emotional life, but little factual description of events. For instance, Lennie and George are emotionally bound in spite of the fact that they are opposites. The emotional sufferings and feeling of isolation binds both men more than a rational decision to buy a farm: “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. . . . With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us” (Steinbeck 1993, 23). The varieties of this emotional impact are extensive: they may be a record of emotional struggles and experiences of both men. Steinbeck seeks consciously or unconsciously to give their readers the sort of emotional "en­joyment; he flatters his readers that the possession of feelings of whatever kind is in itself a good thing, and they account it laudable to be able to move readers.
The dream to own piece of land is influenced by emotions rather than a rational choice. George idealizes farming and its benefits which represents the American dream. “I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads . . . every damn one of ’em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land” (Steinbeck 1993, 34). The American dream means opportunities for everyone to become rich and prosperous in spite of his background and origin. Lennie and George are motivated by desire to earn enough for living. They see the road as the only possible place to realize their dreams. The farm and land symbolize life experience of a particular person, and it brings message to everyone to think over next step in his life. It implies not only wisdom, but also the whole life of Lennie and George.
The killing of Lennie is caused by emotions, not reason that motivates George. From the very beginning, Steinbeck gives some hints to readers showing that Lennie is a burden for George he cannot ignore. He shoots Lennie because of anger and desperation cause by future loneliness and isolations he will face with. There is no reason to kill Lennie because a lynch party would certainly kill him because of Curley’s wife death. Also, it is possible to assume that George feels frustration and irritation because all of him dreams and hopes are ruined by his best friend. It is a true emotional climax: George conveys his feelings, not by telling readers how fine or strong or deep or everlasting they are, but by the vivid and vigorous presentation of a situation through which the feelings emerge. Nor are such people ever aware that the position they have taken up with such simplicity may ultimately do their cause harm, or that their fervor and their bitterness may in reality be due to factors that have nothing to do with emotions; they may be allow­ing, perhaps unconsciously, some sense of personal failure to affect and color excessively their views and their rela­tions with other people.
In sum, the novella by Steinbeck shows that most characters are motivated by emotions and deep personal feelings paying less attention to reason and rational choice. Emotions have a profound impact on actions and behavior of the characters, their life choice and struggle with an outside world.
Works Cited Page
1. Steinbeck, J. Of Mice and Men. Penguin; Reissue edition, 1993. Read More
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