How does this novella relate to high school life?John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since the public schools, especially in towns where there is only one, are a microcosm for society, and since the bunkhouse represents a male society, there can be parallels drawn between life in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and high school life.  In fact, there was a movie made years ago about an intelligent, but non-physical student who became friends with a tall, big-boned boy who could protect him from bullies.  As the film progresses, the boys get to know each other and become friends; the bigger boy's shyness leaves him around the smaller boy and their relationship deepens.

And, while there are individuals who compose every group in school and society, there are, nevertheless, those "types" who emerge from these groups.  For instance, Curley typifies the bully who purposely challenges others; Carlson is the big, athletic type who dominates the group; Candy the disabled, Lennie the special needs, and Crooks the "odd ball" whether because of race or for some other reason. Curley's wife is the dangerous flirt who goes with the bully, but loves the attention of others. And, then, there is Slim, the loner with charisma; he is the maverick that everyone secretly admires. George is the intelligent, but cautious type while Lennie is the follower, not bright, but easy to manipulate. As in Steinbeck's novella, all of these types vie for their place on the rungs of their little society, be it on a working ranch or in a school.