Of Mice and Men

Camaraderie: Deciding an Individual's Fate

Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, two novels published concurrently by John Steinbeck, both depict camaraderie between dust bowl migrants. The main characters in Of Mice and Men, George and Lennie, form a bond, while struggling to reach their goal, a small farm. Similarly, Jim Casy of The Grapes of Wrath befriends Tom Joad, a friendship eventually uplifting the whole migrant community. Outwardly, the two relationships may seem to parallel each other. In reality, these alliances differ greatly. Consequently, in Of Mice and Men, friendship leads to destruction, in The Grapes of Wrath, salvation. Starkly contrasting George and Lennie's relationship in Of Mice and Men to Tom and Jim Casy's in The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck unquestionably shows that camaraderie decides an individual's fate.

To begin, George and Lennie interact quite differently from Tom and Casy; the former share a master-slave relationship, while the latter, a more equal relationship. For instance, George orders Lennie to ìsay nothingî(6), upon reaching the ranch where they will work, fearing that if "[the boss] finds out what a crazy bastard [Lennie is], [they] won't get no job" (6). Lennie obeys. Later on, when Lennie innocently...

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