“Both end’s the same” in Of Mice and Men

For some reason, the quote where George answers Lennie’s question about the cards stuck out to me: 

“‘Both ends the same,’ he said. ‘George, why is it both end’s the same?’ ‘I don’t know,’ said George. ‘That’s jus’ the way they make ‘em,’” (52).

I saw connections to “both end’s the same” throughout the rest of the novel. It seems as if Steinbeck wants us to consider whether the continuation of Lennie’s life, following George from ranch to ranch, is really any different than the ending of the novel. Would Lennie’s life have ever been better had he lived? I also saw this “both end’s the same” mentality in the conversation Crooks has with Lennie when he stops by his room: 

“‘They come , an’ they quit an’ go on; an’ every damn one of ‘em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ‘em ever gets it. Just like heaven… Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land,’” (70). 

Here, Crooks reaches even beyond physical disability to a state of social debility like Puar explains in “Preface: Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!”. No one in this story is able to make something different, something better, out of their lives. It all just ends the same. Even with the “far rush of wind” in the opening of the final chapter, “As quickly as it had come, the wind died, and the clearing was quiet again” (95). 

Just something I found interesting. 

One thought on ““Both end’s the same” in Of Mice and Men”

  1. That’s an interesting thought, Hannah. It certainly adds to the feeling of how in the end, nothing really matters. Parts of this story certainly feel nihilistic. Like your quote from Crooks, talking about how everybody’s goal is to get to heaven but it’s such an unattainable goal that he says it’s impossible. Similarly, the dreams shared by George and Lennie (and the other men who came before them) are merely dreams. Both ends are the same…it starts and ends on the banks of the river, and life drags on in much the same way.

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