What are the optimistic aspects in the novel Of Mice and Men?There are both elements of optimism and pessimism in the story, but I will be arguing for the optimistic side. Please refer to the text...

What are the optimistic aspects in the novel Of Mice and Men?

There are both elements of optimism and pessimism in the story, but I will be arguing for the optimistic side. Please refer to the text and its literary elements to support the points. :) Thank you.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A firm believer in the Emersonian concept of the Oversoul, John Steinbeck projects the positivity of this eternal spirit by means of the fraternity of men, the friendships that are formed in his novella, Of Mice and Men. Of course, the obvious example of this friendship which gives men hope is that of George and Lennie, whose mantra of their dream affords them comfort and consolidation.  When they include the desolated Candy, who has lost his only friend of a dog, there is again an optimism to the old swamper's life--he now belongs to the fraternity of men. 

In both Candy and Crooks, there is evidence that the human spirit can survive.  With Crooks, who is rejected by the ranchworkers, there is, however, respect given to him by the mule skinner Slim, who recognizes Crooks' love of animals.  When he speaks to Crooks, Slim does not refer to him as n---r as do the others; instead, he calls him by his name, a sign of respect.

Even George's killing of Lennie is not pessimistic since it exhibits his sympathy for his friend.  For, in his final act of love, George makes Lennie safer than he would be in a prison.  And, after his actions, Slim puts his arm around George and comforts him, "You, hadda, George.  I swear you hadda.  Come on with me."  This overture of absolute friendship, this fraternity, is the final optimistic note of Steinbeck's narrative that encourages and underscores the importance of the Oversoul.

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