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How does the poem "The Bean Eaters" relate to the loneliness and companionship in the...

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mel7x | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted February 22, 2013 at 10:49 PM via web

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How does the poem "The Bean Eaters" relate to the loneliness and companionship in the book Of Mice and Men? I need one example from each of the theme with an explanation of how it relates to the theme. Help?

"The Bean Eaters" poem: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15913

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 22, 2013 at 11:41 PM (Answer #1)

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The couple, presumably and old couple, in "The Bean Eaters" are comparable to George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men. In the poem, the couple are going about their daily routine, eating beans, a very simple and cheap meal. There is nothing extravagant about it. They are casual and even their plates are flat and they eat on an old broken-down table. They have "lived their day" implying that this routine is what they have left. They accept this life but there are "twinklings and twinges" which could be memories of a once more exciting lifestyle. Or, the twinklings and twinges could be fading hopes of something more. 

Lennie and George also go about life in a similar way. They work mundane jobs and have a repetitive lifestyle. To be sure, Lennie gets them into trouble periodically and this provides, albeit unwanted, moments of excitement. But Lennie's and George's "twinklings and twinges" which interrupt their daily routine of working on ranches are the dreams of owning a farm one day. So, while the Bean Eaters might focus more on the past than the future as an escape, Lennie and George dream of a future escape. Since neither couple, within the contexts of the poem and the novel, ever grasp those twinklings, they do accept and probably appreciate what they do have: companionship and not being alone. 

George went on. "With us it ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. 

Lennie broke in. "But not us! An' why? Because . . . because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why." 

 

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