Of mice and men is one of my favourite novels, especially to teach. I love it for its shock ending, but more than that I love it for its reminder of how far we have come over the past 80 Years.
There are many things wrong with society at the moment, and in some ways it feels like we’re devolving, but on the whole we are still moving in the right direction and this text and its context really emphasises this.
I am currently teaching this for the seventh time (despite Gove’s attempts to cull it from the syllabus) and am looking at it through fresh eyes.
‘Well,’ said George, ‘we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we’ll just say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof…’
The American Dream certainly isn’t limited to America; in fact America is probably one of the places you’re least likely to be able to achieve this these days.
However, I have established that this, ultimately is what I want: the freedom to work if and when we need to- ideally from a home on the beach; our own place that is entirely ours, not 25% ours and 75% the bank’s; and enough money to sustain us and our travel desires.
“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.”
Crooks, understandably, is cynical, but hopefully it isn’t a far flung idea. Hopeful we’ll ‘Del Boy’ our way there some day: