-ANALYZING THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE CHARACTERS FROM “OF MICE AND MEN” IN RELATION TO MASLOW’S HIERARCH OF NEEDS-

Hello everyone!

Today I want to share my project with you, the project is about famous writer John Steinbeck’s book.Because we were given the project and we analysed the friendship from the novel character according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid. The hierarchy suggest that people are motivated to achieve basic needs before moving on to the other needs. I really enjoyed when prepared my project. I hope you enjoy reading it!

CAN WE LEARN ABOUT GOOD FRIENDSHIP FROM THE NOVEL OF MICE AND MEN ?

INTRODUCTION

Psychologist Abraham Maslow created the hierarchy pyramid that shows the five basic needs common to everyone. This arrangement in the pyramid shows the basic needs in a ranking order from the lowest needs to the highest. In this pyramid is separated into two different sections where the top three levels symbolize “growth needs” and the other levels show “deficiency needs”.[1]The other levels such as; shelter need, safety need, belonging and esteem need. Marlow explained that in order for people to confront the top levels they must first meet their needs at the lower levels. The top level “growth needs” consist of “self-actualization needs”, “aesthetic needs” and “need to know and understand”, whereas the bottom level “deficiency needs” are “psychological needs”, “safety and security needs”, “love and belongingness” and “self-esteem and self-worth needs”.[2]This paper aims to belonginess the basic need of love and belongingness in the context of the novel “Of Mice and Men”.

The need of love and belonginess comes after the psychological needs and the security and survival needs in the hierarchy according to Maslow. This basic need is said to be met through good relationships such as relationships with friends or family. This is an important need because good relationships suggest acceptance by the society and others.[3]In the novel the characters don’t have a family and end up having a close relationship with each other at a difficult period in time. It is a good example to the belonginess. Because they live together and support each other.

Of Mice and Men is a classical novel, written by John Steinbeck. Title of this novel is taken from a poem called To a Mouse by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes of mice and men / Gang aft agley.”[4]The two main characters, George and Lenny are two agricultural workers at a farm in California Valley. George and Lenny have a special relationship in which they support each other unconditionally. Also, we can think Maslow hierarchy pyramid for close friendship, this novel is a good example rely on somebody and we see about Marlow’s hierarchy even though it ends in a tragedy. 

The novel revolves around the friendship of George Milton and Lenny Small. George looks after Lenny because Lenny has a mental disability. Even though Lenny is a big and strong man his surname is in contrast to his body. George met Lenny through his aunt, and then she died, they have been close friends. George feels responsible for Lenny. George always wants to protect Lenny from some trouble because Lenny always gets in trouble and he has no control his physical power. They have a dream of buying a little farm. They are saving their money and support each other for their common dream. “Go on, George! Tell about the what we are going to have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, etc.” (Steinbeck 13). This words represents an idealized life for Lenny and George.

 In that time Great Depression affected farmers and farm workers in America. Many migrants wanted to belong somewhere, wanted to get a job, earn a good salary with the hope of one day owning their own land. They do not want to be alone even though they are poor. We can understand that all the workers share the same purpose and we see clearly good expectation from this story. (Britannica encyclopedia, economy)

The theme of loyalty and friendship is present all throughout the novel even though it has a tragic end.  George never left Lenny alone after his aunt died and Lenny always makes Georges whatever wants, such as;Their mutual understanding became deeper for their dream and they never stopped to follow their dream. We feel that, George has common sense, he will be one of the loneliest men in the world without Lenny and Lenny has the mind of a child and he is thankful to have George to go to along with him for owning their land, cows, rabbits and pigs. Although at times Lenny didn’t understand what George was talking about and didn’t understand the complexity of situations from time to time, he always trusted George. Their friendship has almost become more like family possibly because they don’t have one of their own. They have a lovely dream and they want to follow them. The farm owner’s son Curley has a cute wife however the wife is accidentally killed by Lenny (It was interesting why writer never mentioned the name of his wife), their dream appears to be destroyed. Every time trouble come because of Lennie had gone too far this time. According to George, there was only one true solution the problem. “Course you did. Well, look Lennie…if you just happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you jus’ happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an ‘hide in the brush.” (Steinbeck14) George has to make the difficult decision to shoot Lenny because George does not want Lenny to have a painful death at the hands of Curley.  It was a possibility that Curley would hang Lenny or Lenny would be lynched by a mob. Therefore, George thinks by shooting him he is preventing Lenny from suffering. 

On the other hand, it can be seen at that time that George lost his maturity and we see his self-centered side, because we see that “ George shook himself. He said woodenly, If I was alone I could live so easy. His voice was monotonous, had no emphasis. I could get a job and have no mess.” (Steinbeck,102 ) Another argument could be that George wanted to rid himself of a big burden because he can’t bear the stress anymore that. It can be said,George felt pity and sorrow but felt relieved when Lenny died. But interestingly, George didn’t feel regret to shoot Lenny. Throughout the book we can see that George often abuses Lenny orally and so it can be said that he would enjoy life only he was free of Lenny. Truly, George is faced dilemma because they have good relationship but on the other hand George complains about Lenny. He may be thinking that Lenny is a burden because Lenny always gets in trouble because Lenny is obsessive about soft furry something such as; mouse, rabbit etc. but he does not control his power when he strokes the furry animal. On the other side, George has to take care of him all the time. We understand in the book that. In actual fact, they need each other because Lenny needs an intelligent, George needs a body power for work in the farm. But even thought that circumstance, at times, George is seen to be fed up with his companion.

There can be another option to the story ends. There is no indication for helping Lenny. If I were the writer, I would change the ending. Because, we understand Lenny had no real intention on killing Curley’s wife, of course Lenny is not innocent for this case, but he needs a chance for living and pays the penalty for killing Curley’s wife. Also he needs second chance for his dreams come true. If we look trust side in this story, Lenny always trusts George but George betrayed his trust because George has some reasons. Lenny has a hiding place and he thinks that, he is in security place because George recommended it. In that time Lenny know that , he made the worst thing. After Lenny killed Curley’s wife, he repeats that,” I done a bad thing”, “when he is sitting in the brush”. At that time Lenny is aware that he has made a wrong decision. George should advice Lenny to run away because he no longer will protect Lenny. If the story ending is not tragic, George would not have the pressure of conscience. But Steinbeck uses basic technique for this story that is pathetic endings. 

In conclusion, in this story, Steinbeck tells us how important it is to have a friend to share your life with somebody and you can have the same life view, such as; belonging somewhere, dreaming the same thin. Therefore the writer focuses on loneliness living and friendship in a farm. Regardless of the novel’s ending, everybody agrees that, the two characters were good examples to a strong, unbreakable friendship in the years of the Great Depression as their friendship stood in the middle of economic poverty, cruelty and mental weakness. Of Mice and Man provides an example how true friendships can withstand anything but on the other side it shows that friendships can be difficult even if there is mutual love and support. Thinking about Maslow’s theory of belongingness and love this novel is the perfect example of a great relationship.

In addition, in of mice and men novel, George and Lenny good example to Maslow’s theory of belonginess and love. Because we learn in the novel that, they bear life difficulties with together also they support each other in daily life, they share the same dream on the other word they look the world from the same window and they feel like a family. Such as;”O.K. Someday-we are gonna get the jack together and we are gonna have a little house and some pigs and”-(Steinbeck, 16)

Thank you very much for stopping by! 🙂


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6 thoughts on “-ANALYZING THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE CHARACTERS FROM “OF MICE AND MEN” IN RELATION TO MASLOW’S HIERARCH OF NEEDS-

  1. Please follow me on Pinterest. I have followed you! Thanks

  2. Excellent analysis. You looked at George’s dilemma from several different angles, and it’s hard to know: did he kill Lenny to free himself from being burdened with Lenny’s care? to “save” Lenny from being hanged? to prevent Lenny from killing someone else? All three perhaps? Painful to think about, impossible to know. I, too, would like to change the ending; it all seems so unfair. You made me smile when you said that Steinbeck “uses basic technique for this story that is pathetic endings.” Yes, it does seem like an old writer’s trick or technique sometimes– they seem to enjoy tragic (pathetic) endings, and making readers squirm… 😊 Well done, and thank you for sharing your analysis with us! 👍

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