May 11, 2015
John Steinbeck's The Pearl and Of Mice and Men are similar in many ways. These novels were suspenseful, heartfelt stories, depicting protagonists that are forced to make very shocking, life changing decisions. In both books, greed and envy became addictive and unfortunately, led to tragedy which occurs in the end of both novels. In The Pearl, Kino finds "The Pearl of the World" deep down at the bottom sea and risks everything and affects everyone he loves to become rich. Of Mice and Men is based on two unlikely friends named George and Lennie that are trying to get enough "stake" to own their own ranch and "live off the fatta the land." Greed and envy to achieve "The American Dream" could mean that someone might get hurt or worse, loose someone or something you love. In these novels, tragedy unfortunately occurs because of this pursuit to achieve their dream. This obsession to become rich lead to not only the loss of loved ones but their self identity.
Kino in The Pearl and George in Of Mice and Men are forced to make similar decisions based on the situation they are involved in. Kino sadly had to throw the pearl into the water because it was overtaking him and his family's lives in a negative way. On the other hand, George had to make a very difficult decision to kill his best friend, Lennie. George made the decision to kill him so that he could die with dignity and without suffering. Even though George felt terrible about shooting Lennie, Slim, who was the leader of all the workers at the ranch, was the only one who understood George and tried to make him feel better by saying, "You hadda, George. I swear you hadda" (pg 107). Kino and George both dreamt big but then realized in the end that things do not always work out as planned. They fell short on these ambitions because they both felt a tremendous amount of responsibility to care for their family. George was Lennie's caregiver and Kino was the provider for his wife, Juana and baby son, Coyotito. Everyone got caught up in greed and envy to become rich. Distractions were prominent in both books; Kino was constantly being sidetracked by his neighbors, the doctor, and the pearl buyers, whereas, George and Lennie dealt with Curly, Curley's wife, and daydreaming constantly about what they should have instead of focusing on their current job. Lennie's extreme love to pet animals also distracted him from what he should be doing and it got him into trouble with his coworkers. These main characters continued to let outside forces steer them away from their daily lives and responsibilities.
"The failure to achieve the American Dream" was the underlying theme in both novels. John Steinbeck shows joy and extreme sadness through these characters. For example, Kino had three goals he wanted to achieve once he received the the pearl. First, he wanted Coyotito to get educated and learn how to read in school. With the money, he also wanted to buy his very own gun to have for emergencies. Lastly, he always dreamt that he and Juana would officially get married in a church wearing nice clothing. Kino was obsessed with trying to make this happen with the money from the pearl. Similarly, George and Lennie had an ambitious dream to own their own ranch and live off the "fatta the land." George, Lennie and Candy had a "secret" plan to leave the day job and go and get their own the ranch. To show this George said, "Don't tell nobody about it. Jus' us three an' nobody else." There, they would have animals that Lennie would care for. "The American Dream" played a large role in both novels. Sometimes dreams do not come true and in this instance, it ended horribly. In these two stories, the evil characters attempted and succeeded in stopping the protagonists in achieving their dreams. In The Pearl, Kino lost his baby due to a deadly scorpion bite and in Of Mice and Men, George lost his best friend due to one mistake leading to another.
The evil characters that hindered these dreams were the medical doctor in The Pearl and Curley in Of Mice and Men. In fact both men were similar to poison. Curley was an insecure man that never trusted his wife, had an altercation with Lennie over her, and eventually wanted him dead. The doctor was a despiteful, untrustworthy, person that deliberately poisoned Coyotito and then claimed to heal him all for the intention to steal the pearl from Kino. In short, both characters were after power and money and would risk anything to achieve it. Being tricky and untrustworthy never ends well and rarely gets you ahead in any way, shape, or form.
John Steinbeck's theme in both novels was not only about "The American Dream" but that greed and envy are a recipe for disaster. Lennie was killed, Coyotito was killed, and the Pearl was thrown in the ocean. In the real world, hard work, trust, and honesty are "The American Dream."It is not solely based on money as both of these books focused on. Life has road blocks along the way. However, you must be true to yourself and set goals that are achievable while always remaining true to values.