As humans, our instincts control our actions and how we act. With this, we have a sense of survival and we put ourselves before others. However, if we fail to control our animal instincts, we lose the ability to use rational, careful thought to guide our actions and consequences. This is portrayed in the short novella Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. He shows us the way that people’s dreams are held back because of their inability to control their instincts People put their basic needs for survival first, and it will surpass their needs of relational and emotional well-being. Slim, a person who people look up to and is admired by others, says this to George.
“You know how the hands are, they just come in and get their buck and work a month, and quit and go alone” (39). People’s lives on the ranch bring them to think for themselves. They rather go job hopping instead of getting a suitable lifestyle.
They give up on having relationships with others, like friends and family, to put their own survival first. This also relates to when Crooks was talking to Lennie and Candy about their dream. This leads them to Crooks saying that they are inan for having a dream like that.
“You’re nuts… I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads”(74 ). As they drift to place to place, they only have one thing in mind. They believe that living life with only themselves to think about is the only way they can survive. With this, they sacrifice their sensibility for others to benefit from it.
In the novella, this showed in many other incidents, where it brings the characters to put their survival over others. Acting on our own instinct or impulse needs neglects the needs of others and in our selfish pursuit often hurt others. When George was talking to Lennie about what their dream, and how they’re different, and he says. “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch” (13). Their life usually consists of traveling place to place by themselves, to pursue their own desires.
This also correlates to when Carlson was talking to Candy about getting rid of his old sheepdog, he offers to put him down. “I don’t see no reason for it… Let’s get it over with… We can’t sleep with him stinkin around in here” (47). With Carlson selfish desires, he didn’t have any concern for Candy’s feelings. He compels his selfish intent where it forced Candy to follow his desires. While their action aren’t the same, they end up having the same meaning behind it. While there is sometimes safety in numbers or through relationship, our instincts are provided and secure the safety or to put ourselves before others.
While Lennie and Candy were with Crooks discussing their dream of having a ranch of their own ranch. After Curley’s wife downgrade Crooks. “Maybe you guys better go…I ain’t sure I want you here no more” (82). Crooks was intimidated, and his instinct told him to run into isolation. By this, he wanted to ensure his safety before he goes off to chase his dream. While this it also embellishes when George said that he could live so easily without Lennie. “God you’re a lot of trouble… I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail.
I could live so easy and maybe have a girl”(7). George wanted to ensure his safety, so he knows if it’s safe to pursue his dream. This also accompanies the idea of people putting their survival first.