Life is full of adventure and triumph, but sometimes the grass is not greener on the other side. Sometimes many sacrifices must be made in order to accomplish our own goals. We may all have duties that we have to deal with just to make it by, but we can acknowledge them through our personal experiences. In, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck creates symbolism through George's journey leading him to the eventual realization that everyone has responsibilities. Many themes occur throughout the novel, but one can apply to everyone: we all have tasks we must perform in order to achieve a better life. Initially, this theme becomes apparent through Candy and his dog, '' That dog ain't no good to himself.
I wish somebody'd shoot me if I got old an' a cripple'' (Steinbeck 45). The theme is you gotta do what you gotta do. Candy recognizes that it is his responsibility to put down his dog. It is the same with George when he has to kill Lennie: he knows that he will miss him, but he also knows that it must be done. Similarly, one critic agrees that actions such as, the dog being shot out of Candy's compulsion, predict the future demise of Lennie (Lisa). Lennie does not understand why certain things cannot be done and it only causes trouble for him.
George comprehends his duty towards society, and the sacrifice that must be made in order to achieve his own utopia. Our own duties can become clear when we relate to this conceptual theme. The novel creates many symbols that represent life, and the commitments we must go through with. Eventually, Candy realizes the importance of taking care of his responsibility, '' I ought to have shot that dog myself George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog'' (Steinbeck 61). Candy's dog is a symbol of Social Darwinism: when the weak become a burden or disabled, it is the duty of the strong to take the responsibility of putting them down.
George understands this concept in the end and fulfills his obligation to society by killing Lennie. Comparably, one critic concurs that Candy's dog is suffering from age and handicaps, and others realize that the dog has become a burden. (Scarseth). Symbolism is displayed through the actions taken in order to rid the burden of Candy's dog. Lennie can be compared to the dog in the sense that they are both creating problems in society. Several things and actions represent so much more than what is on the surface, and Steinbeck's message of responsibility can clearly be seen through George's struggle with Lennie.
We are faced with many tasks each day, and can only hope for the best. While no one wants to make sacrifices in order to make things better, we do some of the simplest things just to succeed. Doing the right thing in order to benefit everyone is not always easy. But whether it is taking time out of your week to write an English paper, or letting go of your own selfishness to do the right thing, we all have responsibilities. Works CitedLisca, Peter. 'Motif and Pattern in Of Mice and Men.' Modern Fiction Studies winter, 1956-1957.
228-234. Gale Group. Kingwood HS Lib. , Kingwood.
5 April 2005. Scarseth, Thomas. 'A Teachable Good Book: Of Mice and Men,' Censored Books 1993. 388-39 Critical Viewpoints. Gale Group.
Kingwood HS Lib. , Kingwood. 5 April 2005. Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin Books, 1937..