Of Mice and Men
George and Lennie Relationship
When George and Lennie are traveling to the ranch and Lennie stops to drink out of a pond of dirty water George screamed “Lennie! Lennie for god sakes don’t drink so much”… “Lennie, you gonna be sick like you was last night!” This quote shows thats George is concerned about Lennie’s health and well-being, and that Lennie does not now better by drinking dirty water. He plans Lennie’s life as well as his own, and tries to make him as happy as possible.
Lennie serves as a companion and potential protection for George (He says at one point, “Ain’t nobody goin’ to talk no hurt to George,” suggesting that his response to any threat against his friend.) The most telling statement from both men about their friendship is the one they repeat as part of their ritual. As Lennie and George go over the shape of their dream and plan for the future, they repeatedly define their friendship by saying that they are not like the other traveling workers. Some quotes to show evidence they they are not like the other travelers are, “George: “We ain’t like that” Lennie “Not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you’ve got me to look after you, and that’s why.” To George, this dream of having their own place means independance, security, being their own boss, and most importantly “being somebody.” To Lennie, the dream is like the soft animals he pets: It means security, the responsibility of tending the rabbits, and a sanctuary where he won’t have to be afraid.
To Candy, who sees the farm as a place where he can assert a responsibility he didn’t take when he let Carlson kill his dog, it offers security for old age and a home where he will fit in. For Crooks, the little farm will be a place where he can have self-respect, acceptance, and security. For each man George, Lennie, Candy, and Crooks human dignity is an integral part of the dream. Having and sharing the dream, however, are not enough to bring it to fruition. Each man must make a sacrifice or battle some other force that seeks, intentionally or not, to steal the dream away. Initially, the obstacles are difficult but not insurmountable: staying out of trouble, not spending money on liquor or in bordellos, and working at the ranch long enough to save the money for a down payment.
The complicating factor of this relationship comes with the fact that Lennie is not a child and is responsible for his own actions. Though George is Lennie’s “caretaker”, he can only take a moral responsibility for Lennie’s misdeeds, not a legal one. This fact leads to the book’s climax where both modes of responsibility meet in a dramatic resolution.
An Analysis of Loneliness in of Mice and Men, a Novel by John Steinbeck
Throughout John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, the author depicts many characters such as Lennie, Candy, Crooks, etc. as having physical or mental impairments. These “disadvantaged” characters quickly become to represent isolation and discrimination, as well as giving the reader an insight into why characters such as Crooks have the persona associated with them due to their impairments. Therefore, Steinbeck’s utilization of many of the character’s impairments thus help in developing the theme of loneliness and isolation that is prevalent throughout the novel.
One of the most significant impairments in the novel would be Lennie’s intellectual disability due to how it emphasizes both his and George’s isolation from society. From the start of the novel, Lennie’s disability quickly becomes the most noticeable due to his childish language and clumsiness. Along with that, Lennie’s disability prevents him from comprehending even the most basic of instructions, which therefore makes him unable to communicate and express himself effectively with others. Because of his disability, he is thus completely dependent on others such as George who especially feels conflicted about his relationship with Lennie. Throughout the novel, George makes his frustrations over having to take care of Lennie clear due to his constant need to monitored and his tendency to get in trouble. As George puts it, “I could live so easy and maybe have a girl.”(Steinbeck 7) which shows how he believes Lennie is a factor as to why he feels lonely because of his responsibility to Lennie, and how accidents such as the one at Weed force them to move out. As for Lennie, he himself does not feel lonely however, he fears being abandoned by George. Due to his disability, Lennie is unable to see that Crooks was simply being hypothetical when he told Lennie, “…S’pose George don’t come back no more.” (Steinbeck 78) which of course shocked Lennie who could not even imagine such a thing and thus confronts Crooks to demand who hurt George. Lennie’s sudden shock to the thought of George abandoning him is very significant to the development of the theme of loneliness within the novel due to the fact that it highlights a key point in Lennie’s character. The reader sees how Lennie’s confusion conveys fear and thus shows how important his relationship is with George due to his disability. By interpreting Lennie’s fear over George abandoning him, the reader can thus see that because of Lennie’s disability, his dependence on George emphasizes Lennie’s alienation from society and how truly lonely Lennie is in society.
Another significant impairment in the novel is Candy’s elderly age and his physical disability which alienates him from the ranch due to his inability to do the work of the other ranch-hands. Because of Candy’s inability to do the taxing work on the ranch, he thus has no power or say on the ranch and is considered “useless” due to the hierarchy on the ranch being mainly determined by physical ability. However, Carlson’s demands to have his old sheep-dog put down is what truly emphasizes his loneliness on the ranch. Carlson ignores Candy’s pleas and tells him that the dog “…ain’t no good to you, Candy.”(Steinbeck 49) which unintentionally reminds him of the debilitating effects of age on his body as well. Candy’s subsequent decision to remain silent after allowing his dog to be shot shows how alone he is on the ranch and the lack of support from the other ranch-hands even further support that fact. After the decision is made to have the dog shot, ranch-hands such as Slim, “… gazed at him for a moment and then looked down at his hands;”(Steinbeck 54) and George who “ …brought the cards together tightly and studied the backs of them,”(Steinbeck 54) obviously show that nobody in the ranch wants to address the “elephant in the room”. The main reason as to why Candy chooses to isolate himself from the ranch was not just because of the loss of his dog, but also because of Carlson’s demands to have the dog “put down” which represents the ranch sacking Carlson over the same reasons that the dog is shot for: old age and disability.
Finally, another character whose impairments are especially significant is Crooks who willingly and yet unwillingly chooses to isolate himself from the ranch. Described as having, “…a crooked back where a horse kicked him,”(Steinbeck 22) and “…a nigger”(Steinbeck 22) which shows how both his physical disability and race are perceived as impairments by the ranch due to their hierarchy and racism. Because of his status, he is completely isolated by the other ranch-men and is only given a small room in the stables so that he is separated from the others in the bunkhouse. Due to his treatment and acceptance that he is not wanted on the ranch, Crooks claims that he values his privacy and maintains a hostile personality towards others. However, in reality Crooks actually longs for social interaction and he tells Lennie that, “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody,” (Steinbeck 80) which brings the reader some insight as to why Crooks acts the way he does. In fact, Lennie’s encounter with him shows that he has a “soft side” and a desire to be treated as a human being, despite society abandoning people like him and Lennie who are thus bonded by their disabilities. Therefore, the reader can see the tragedy in the novel being represented by Crook’s disabilities. He understands that his “impairments” prevent him from being accepted by the ranch and society, yet he still yearns for a person to talk to. Thus, it is clear that Crook’s hopelessness and isolation in a prejudiced society emphasizes the theme of loneliness and how characters such as he and Lennie are discriminated against simply because of their disabilities and impairments.
Throughout the novel, characters such as Lennie, Candy, Crooks, etc. all displayed how their impairments were one of the major factors in their loneliness. Whether it be mental retardation, elderly age, or even race it is clear that society’s prejudice shows how detrimental it is to the characters. John Steinbeck manages to successfully enhance the theme of loneliness in the novel due to his emphasis on each character’s isolation from society because of their impairments. Therefore, Steinbeck shows the reader the consequences of a society that alienates those with any type of disability be it a physical or mental one. Overall, each character’s impairment emphasizes their low position and isolation in Steinbeck’s societal hierarchy and how those unable to speak for themselves will never be able to if society continues with that mindset.
The Importance of Place and Destination in of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Eudora Welty once said “Every story would be another story, and unrecognisable, if it took up its characters and plot happened somewhere else…fiction depends for its life on place”. This applies especially to John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice And Men’ (OMAM); set in California during the Great Depression, place is a prominent feature throughout and its presentation is used to trace the main characters’ development and highlight progression of themes throughout the book. Steinbeck utilises various aspects of language, grammar and form in order to effect his intended destination and we see a combination of these devices even from the outset.
In the opening chapter of “Of Mice and Men”, the novel offers an idyllic scene describing the local area: “A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool.” Steinbeck wrote his opening scene with many descriptive words and the use of vivid colour words to enhance the scene’s natural beauty. “Soledad” is mentioned in the first sentence of the chapter, and being Spanish for ‘lonely’ or ‘solitude’ it not only foreshadows the key theme of isolation throughout the novel, but also adds a melancholy note to the initial location. Sibilance is used here from ‘A few miles south of Soledad’ to ‘The Salinas River’ adding to the brush’s peaceful atmosphere. Steinbeck presents this place as a rural area, a green hillside bank. Green being the colour of nature enhances the scene’s natural beauty while also giving off connotations of growth and harmony. It also gives an emotional correspondence to safety which is understandable due to its rurality and this, structurally, ties in with why George tells Lennie to return to the brush if he gets into trouble. Pathetic fallacy is used in the phrase “The water is warm too” creating a positive, harmonious atmosphere. The colour yellow and the word ‘twinkling’ in this quotation give off connotations of happiness and positivity; this may suggest to the reader that the brush is safe. Nothing man-made is mentioned in the first page and we are presented with a place filled with imagery. The idyllic atmosphere allows us to understand why George insists on staying the night in this place. For him, it represents the American Dream, his hope to own such a place in the future.
Steinbeck comments upon the opening scene so that when we reach the end of the novel, we can see the novel is cyclical. Nature is described excessively in the first paragraph of the first chapter and the first paragraph of the last chapter and although both are describing the same place, we can see the contrast between the two paragraphs as it shows how George and Lennie’s relationship has progressed through the story and where it is heading. Steinbeck specifically mentions the ‘Salinas River’ and the ‘Gabilan Mountains’ in the two chapters, to take this into account. In the opening, we note that the first page is in present tense, ‘drops … runs’ etc, reminding us that this is a real location that it will prevail even when the tales of the men who visit it have run their course and are ended. It relates to the theme of broken dreams but also another example of why the novel is cyclical; the mention of these places in the first chapter and then Steinbeck mentioning them again in the last chapter is foreshadowing that the continuous cycle that George and Lennie would go through is inevitable. Whilst this signals the tragic form and outcome, it also reveals the harsh world and lack of hope present in the lives of the migrant workers.
A major location in ‘Of Mice And Men’ is the accommodation where the ranch workers stay, including the two protagonists George and Lennie. In the opening sentence of Section Two Steinbeck describes the bunkhouse as “…a long, rectangular building. Inside, the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted” and instantly we can see that the description of the bunkhouse is incredibly simplistic, by telling us that the walls were whitewashed, the floor unpainted, the building having no effort to make the interior look anything more than basic shows us that it lacks character relating to life on the ranch, plain, simple and potentially boring. Adjectives such as ‘long’ and ‘rectangular’ lack ostentation, whilst ‘whitewash’ is the usual finish for utilitarian, machine outbuildings or animal shelters. The lexis essentially connotes functionality; there is no sense of home or comfort yet this is where migrant workers must live for the majority of their lives. The bunkhouse is symbolic of how the ranch workers are treated like tools, in an utilising sense. Steinbeck highlights the contrast between the ranch/bunkhouse in the second chapter with the freedom of nature in the first. Their lives are a virtual prison, their ‘home’ presented as such, lacking in any sense of family or home.
Another important location in ‘Of Mice And Men’ is Crooks’ room, first mentioned at the beginning of Chapter Four. The description of Crooks’ room and belongings greatly illuminates the injustice and equality faced at this time. “…the negro stable buck, had his bunk in the harness room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn.” This instantly points out a major injustice towards Crooks. Crooks being the only black male on the ranch signals him to be treated as an outcast. Crooks’ bunk is squashed into a ‘little shed’, the adjective ‘little’ emphasises that it is significantly smaller than expected and the ‘little shed’ being the harness room means that Crooks stays with the equipment. Steinbeck also mentions that the harness room leans off the barn showing that even the horses and other animals that stay in the barn are treated with more importance than Crooks, leaning connoting the state of the building as an afterthought. Crooks’ bunk is described as “a long box filled with straw, on which his blankets were flung” and in this presentation Steinbeck continues to highlight the social discrimination. The ‘long box’ suggests again that he is seen as not equal to man, a ‘box’ often a disposable container, intended to store objects. Straw is also used for animals, showing that he essentially sleeps in a manger, not on a mattress. The verb ‘flung’ could possibly suggest Crooks’ sense of hopelessness or ultimately his anger and frustration over the bigotry he is constantly faced with throughout his life on the ranch.
To conclude, referring back to Eudora Welty saying “…fiction depends for its life on place” we can clearly see that place and setting throughout ‘Of Mice And Men’ is a fundamental feature to the novel and the story would be ‘unrecognisable’ without these significant places. Steinbeck’s use of these places set an atmosphere and tone, while also reinforcing key messages such as the books major themes; broken dreams etc. All the settings show the poverty of the workers and the social marginalisation that they face. This is emphasised by the fulsome language used by Steinbeck to describe the fertility and abundance of the natural world that surrounds them, a point that drives home the tragedy of the book is that the ranch workers never benefit from the possibilities that the world has to offer them.
Dream of Two Men
Throughout history, there has always been an American dream. This dream is different for every person that has it, but has a simple similarity. The American dream, whether you are white, black orange, or even purple, is the pursuit of happiness. The book I feel shows the American dream image the best is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Throughout their entire journey, they keep their American dream going. You can tell the difference in how they talk about the dream in the past farm, the present farm, and right before the end.
In the town of Weed located in Siskiyou County, the journey of George Milton and Lennie Small begins. George is a average sized, well looked man with a good head on his shoulders. Lennie is a mentally disabled big guy who has the mind of a child. George promised before his Aunt died that he would take care of Lennie. Ever since he has, they’ve had a dream in between them. Every time they seem to edge closer to this dream, Lennie does something to mess it up.
While in the town of weed, they became stable and were getting regular money every week. One day, while at a town get together, Lennie saw this woman. She was pretty, and has a nice red dress on. Lennie, having the mind of a child, wanted to feel her dress to see if it was soft. When Lennie grabbed her dress, she thought he was trying to rape her. This made George and Lennie have to run away before they caught them. Once they got away, Lennie began crying and telling George sorry. George said it was ok, and to make him feel better, he told him the dream again. In the first chapter of the book, he said “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no fambly. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go into town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got nothing to look ahead to.”(Steinbeck 23) This is where they talk about how they are different. George continued, “Someday-we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres and cows and some pigs-“. This is where Lennie interrupts him by saying how he is going to take care of the rabbits. As part of Lennie’s disorder, he also has short-term memory loss. The only thing he remembers about the dream is that he is going to take car of the rabbits. As they move from farm to farm for the same reason they left Weed, George becomes more and more aggravated with Lennie. Soon after getting of the bus after leaving Weed, he yells at Lennie, telling him how he could live easy without Lennie and that George could keep a job. Since Lennie is a man-child, he takes it personal and says he doesn’t want the dream anymore.
After their long walk after the long bus ride, they finally come across their new ranch. When they finally showed, the ranch owner yelled at them for being late. George told Lennie not to talk since he isn’t able to talk very well. Once they made it back to the bunkhouse, they met many interesting people. These people, just like them, have dreams of their own. Although most of the time everyone has different dreams, they usually have a common denominator. George and Lennie want their own farm where they can live peacefully, and Lennie can tend to the rabbits. They talk about how they’re going to make it out of the farms, like many others. When Candy found out, he became extremely excited and eager to join them in their dream. He offered to give all of his savings, as well as cook, tend to the chickens, and garden some. Although he wouldn’t be able to contribute a lot, it was the fact of how he would give everything he had for an American dream. In these times, working hard on a farm, everyone wants a dream they can escape to get away from reality. When Crooks heard of the dream, he thought Lennie was crazy. He thought Lennie was just being crazy, since his mind wasn’t “all the way there”. Saying “it’s jus’ in their head.”(Westwood 1) He kept teasing Lennie about his idea, until Candy came into the room. Candy then told Crooks that he already has the money, and that there’s nothing standing in their way. Once Crooks heard they already had the money, he began to realize that they were telling the truth. He then asked Candy if there were any chance they would use him on the farm. He said that he would work for nothing, just his stay. This soon to be true dream was soon destroyed, like so many others.
Soon after the talk of being so close to the dream, one event destroyed the entire thought. While Lennie was in the bunkhouse, and everyone else was outside, Curley’s wife (Curley is the son of the ranch owner) came in. Ever since Lennie has came, she has been looking at him, telling him he looks handsome, and obviously has tried taking advantage of him. When she came in, he was sitting on his bed. They started talking, he began feeling her hair, then his hand got tangled up. She then began freaking out, screaming, and telling Lennie to stop. Lennie didn’t know what to do, so he started shaking her. This made a sudden silence, due to him breaking her neck. Once Lennie realized what he did, he ran away. Soon after, the people of the ranch found out. Curley then said he was going to kill Lennie, and began running after him. George knew where Lennie was, so he sent Curley the other way, and went to Lennie. Once he found him, they sat down, once again repeating the dream. They were going to own 10 acres of land. They were going to have all the animals as a usual farm, and Lennie was going to tend to the rabbits. He told Lennie to visualize the farm, and then shot Lennie in the back of the head. With Lennie’s death, it ended the idea of their American Dream.
In conclusion, this book represents the idea of the American dream.
Although some of the American dreams become true, most don’t. George and Lennie always looked forward to their farm, keeping their head up through all the pain they were going through. In the end, similar to most others, their dream ended in a sad tragedy therefor killing their American dream. The American dream is a dream everyone has, and so many fail to achieve.
The Concept of Friendship During the Great Depression in Of Mice and Men, a Novel by John Steinbeck
The ending of the novella is seen as a tragedy to the readers following the death of Lennie, nevertheless is holds the key ideas that Steinbeck wanted to present to the reader concerning society during the Great Depression such as how they were unable to understand the concept of friendship. It also shows to the reader the death or beginning of themes that ran throughout the novella.
The opening of Chapter Six is seen as a mirror to the beginning of the book and description of the setting in Chapter One. This cycle created by Steinbeck may be used to hint at the cyclical nature of the ranch workers and how they will keep moving onto new ranches and jobs. This cycle is shown by referencing the “pile of ashes” in Chapter One and then again in Chapter Six by saying “near the pile of old ashes”. This theme is further referenced in the description nature when it says “As quickly as it had come, the wind died” which can be seen as referencing the time spent on the ranch by George and Lennie, a fleeting moment in time. Nevertheless, an alternative interpretation for mirroring the two descriptions is in order to reference the idea of the Garden of Eden. In chapter one nature is described using adjectives which hold majestic and fairy-tale connotations and through this strong imagery a picture of the Garden of Eden is created in the reader’s mind where “two men” enter. In chapter six the imagery used is similar but nevertheless Lennie is killed in this setting so it may be him leaving the Garden of Eden. This would also suggest that Curley’s Wife was the temptations and symbolised the forbidden fruit to Lennie which ultimately would cause him to be forced to leave the ranch. Therefore, this mirroring of description could hint at the religious aspect in ‘Of Mice and Men’ created through the description or could hint at the monotone and cyclical life of a Ranch Worker during the Great Depression.
Additionally, Chapter Six has a semantic field of death infused within the description. The overall description used in this chapter and the actions of the heron described as ”swallowing the small snake” all hints at the theme of death which runs throughout the novella. Furthermore, the phrase “The mountains seemed to blaze with increasing brightness” could be seen as representing heaven and a spotlight over Lennie as he lives his final moments. A different way of interpreting this phrase is that there is hope for George because now he has a fresh start. Furthermore, it may be seen that for George the depression is over suggesting that Lennie was the one standing between him and the ‘American Dream’’. Nevertheless, it may also be suggested that when Lennie dies the dream dies with him shown through the phrase the “sun left the valley”. This loss of dreams is a consequence of the actions of humans. Therefore, Steinbeck may be attempting to show how the lack of hope that society held and the loss of dreams and ambitions were ultimately due to humans and that we are an obstacle to our own future. Thus, Chapter Six is used to reference the theme of death but then also show the death of one of the key themes – dreams.
Chapter Six also helps to reference the concept of friendship which is seen as strange and foreign to other ranch workers. When Lennie and George first arrive at the ranch the boss doesn’t understand the connection between them and thinks that George is trying to “pull one over” Lennie and take advantage of him. Furthermore the final sentence of the book is “Carlson said ‘Now what the hell ya’ suppose is eatin’ them two guys?’” when describing the pain that George felt after shooting Lennie. This shows that the rest of the ranch workers don’t understand the concept of friendship and couldn’t understand what George had been through losing someone close to him. The idea of friendship is also explored when Lennie is hallucinating and the rabbit says to him “He gonna leave you” but Lennie refusing to listen because he understands that him and George are friends and that they “travels together”. Furthermore, this shows that even Lennie, who is mentally challenged, has a grasp on the concept of caring for other people but its harder for the rest of the ranch workers because they are lonely and travel alone when changing jobs. Therefore Chapter six helps to present to the reader the isolation the ranch workers felt during the 1920’s.
Furthermore, the death of Lennie can be seen as significant because it shows how nothing innocent can survive on the ranch. Lennie, due to his mental disability, is seen as innocent and naïve to the horrors of the world. Nevertheless, the ranch results in Lennie killing puppy and Curley’s wife showing that how the ranch life can corrupt even the purest of minds. Furthermore, it is the ideas and actions of fellow ranch workers which lead to the hunt for Lennie and ultimately his death. This may show that they don’t understand him or his innocence but just label him as belonging in a hospital and “looked up”, as Crooks described. It also shows to the audience how due to humans nothing innocent can survive or that we are afraid of concepts we don’t understand like how the brain of Lennie worked.
The significance of Chapter Six is to show to the audience how humans are responsible for the death of dreams, being forced to abandon the Garden of Eden but it also shows the constant idea of humans destroying nature even though we are a part of it due to the disturbance in the environment when Lennie enters, similar to Chapter One. It also shows how the ranch workers don’t understand the idea of friendship or innocence and are afraid of concepts they don’t understand to react using violence as the solution. Therefore, Chapter Six is arguably one of the most significant chapters as it referenced all of the key ideas and themes that ran through out the novella and delivers the final message which Steinbeck wished to present to the reader.
A Topic of Loneliness in the Novel of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Loneliness is an inevitable part of lifestyles, which many people war with. It is an emotional response to a lack of companionship and verbal exchange with others, which has a huge effect in a single’s normal conduct. Some impacted individuals can also try to stop their loneliness; others come to be hopeless and bitter. The topic of loneliness is supplied in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The novel Of Mice and Men portrays loneliness as a complicated emotion that frequently drives people to behavioral extremes. Steinbeck uses characters, the most essential are Curley’s wife, Candy and Crooks, to mirror on the discriminative term that in the long run result in the characters’ loneliness and particular behaviors. Diving into a few examples we can look at Curley’s wife.
Curley’s spouse is a major individual in Of Mice and Men and is married to Curley, a very competitive ranch employee that proves his masculinity by using fighting different workers and marrying a bodily attractive lady; moreover, he turned into the boss’ son. Curley had a massive control over his spouse which became very not unusual in the course of the Great Depression, and the other ranchers. He had forbidden all the people from talking to his spouse. Desperate for attention and respect, Curley’s wife uses her splendor and standing with Curley to her gain. In chapter 4, she intimidated the people in Crooks’ room as of way for getting attention and threatened Crooks when he advised her to leave his room, saying that he could get “sprung up on a tree so easy, it ain’t even funny”. Her new behavior resulted in discrimination and harassment. She became labelled as a “tramp”, and other derogatory names. She felt powerless and lonely. The theme of loneliness cannot be easily argued in this novel. It is very focused on depicting the Great Depression and the effects.
After reading different reviews I came up with Disenfranchisement ends in loneliness In contrast to the other bindlestiff, George and Lennie travel together, especially because George has promised Lennie’s Aunt Clara that he’s going to care for the mentally challenged man. Theirs is not so much a friendship as a symbiotic relationship: George is the brains and Lennie the brawn. The other ranch workers have no pals as their strangers to one another. Curley is separated from the others by virtue of being the boss’s son, and Slim have to remain relatively aloof as the mule skinner. Crooks, the black solid mate is marginalized with the aid of his color. It is hard to create a very argumentative essay when there are many examples of loneliness.
There are different motives why people have been discriminated and isolated, some of which incorporates ageism and ableism. Candy became the oldest ranch employee and misplaced his right arm in an accident. He became discriminated due to his age and disability, and became an outcast. He had no family, except for the canine he raised. His dog was of exceptional usefulness, however because the canine have become older, he has become much less useful and helpless. This resulted in him being shot via Carlson which intensified Candy’s loneliness. Candy’s canine is a top example of the social problem of ageism and ableism in society at that point. Workers have been expected to be productive on the ranch, and if one now not met that call for, due to age or ability to carry out sure obligations, they might be disregarded and left to suffer. Candy recognizes that the equal component will happen to him, and he tells George that “Jus’ as quickly as I can’t swamp out no bunkhouses they’ll position me at the county”. To escape his loneliness and eventual destiny of having kicked, Candy became quick invested in George and Lennie’s dream, providing a total of $350 closer to the dream farm. “S’pose I went in with you men. Tha’s 3 hundred an’ fifty dollars I’d put in. I ain’t a good deal precise, however I ought to prepare dinner and have a tendency the chickens and hoe the garden some. How’d that be?”. He became very connected and hooked onto the dream of the farm, and endured to have the farm in spite of what took place with Lennie later within the novel. The farm could have removed his worry of being by myself, and broaden some other relationship worth cherishing. His cutting-edge function in society pressured him to broaden a selected mind-set to break out his vacation spot. Coming to an end in the novel it is very clear the message Steinbeck is portraying.
The Great Depression changed into a time of prejudice present in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Curley’s Wife, Candy, and Crooks had been a number of characters who represented the loneliness and isolation added on via their time period. These characters faced social problems like racism, sexism, and ageism, reminiscent of the oppression of minority groups by using the discriminatory nature of their society. Each character identified his loneliness, and depending on what their present day scenario and position in society was, they took specific moves to combat against, or cope with it. Steinbeck has made it clear that the loneliness delivered on by using discrimination does significantly affect one’s conduct, movements and mindsets. Today’s technology better is familiar with the societal implications of loneliness and discrimination. It ought to be society’s goal to diminish all types of discrimination and be supportive of what others go through in their lifetimes to be able to lead a better, healthier, and more connected life for all.
The Role of Hopes and Dreams in Of Mice and Men, a Novel by John Steinbeck
Hopes and dreams help people to survive, even if they never become real. How true is this for the characters of Mice and Men.
Steinbeck wrote the book of Mice and Men in 1937, following the Great Depression of the United States of America. When the Wall Street stock market crashed in October 1929, the world economy suffered enormously. By 1932, America was experiencing the greatest economic depression in history. Many of the themes that are dealt with in the book reflect what people were experiencing at this time. America’s citizens became unemployed and massive numbers lived in poverty. Debt and homelessness was also very common during this period as people had to travel around America in order to find work. Therefore, in order for people to survive during this grim time; many members of America’s society decided to believe and create their own American dream.
During the 1930’s, the idea of the American Dream was based on the Declaration of Independence. The phrase was first introduced by James Truslow Adams and basically consisted of the idea that everyone should have an equal opportunity to live a better and more prosperous life. The hopes and aspirations that are established as a result of the American Dream and the difficulties for characters to obtain their desires is a central theme throughout the novel. Steinbeck introduces this theme in the very first chapter of the book through the use of George and Lennie displaying their ambition to own a farm and produce their own livelihood. “Ok. Someday – we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and …” “An’ live of the fatta the lan’, Lennie shouted” The quotation above implies the two characters often share this same story as Lennie is able to finish George’s sentence. The pair have some hope as they know that they’ll never be lonely during the time that they continue to travel around America looking for work with each other. Additionally, by repeating the dream, the pair lift themselves out of their dismal situation as evidenced by how exited they both become as they begin to talk about the dream. To George, the dream of the farm signifies the fact that he wishes to develop security and independence but most importantly ‘being somebody’ through owning their own land. To Lennie, his hopes are for safety and companionship with George where he can look after his rabbits and pet his soft animals which brings him some responsibility as well as security.
Steinbeck creates the character Candy in order to portray the bitter treatment that the elderly endured during 1930’s America Similarly to George and Lennie, Candy’s American Dream is to own a plot of land and produce his own livelihood. Additionally, Candy is disabled; having lost his right hand in a farm accident and is reduced to the worst job on the ranch which is a ‘swamper’, meaning cleaner. Despite this, Steinbeck uses the character to represent hope in the novel as it is Candy who offers his savings to George and Lennie in order to join them in making their dream a reality. After planning in detail what the farm would look like and where it would be, Steinbeck writes ‘Lennie and Candy nodded, and they were grinning with delight’ in order to emphasize how uplifting talking about the dream is to the three. Regardless of the feeling of hope that Steinbeck creates in chapter 3 where the men plot their promising future; the author includes many dark images and events during the chapter in order to introduce the sense of foreboding that Lennie, George and Candy’s dream could be defeated. This can be exemplified in the third chapter of the novel as Lennie brutally crushes Curley’s hand and Carlson mercilessly shoots Candy’s ageing dog which further highlights the lack of respect and care felt towards the elderly during this period. To Candy, the dream of the farm gives him security in his old age as he has control over his work and place of death.
In contrast to these characters, Steinbeck creates Crooks in order to bring a sense of reality to the novel. Crooks is a black, ageing man who is disabled due to a kick from a horse. At first, Steinbeck portrays Crook’s dream as being able to return to his childhood as his family was financially stable and owned a plot of land that included chickens. ‘My old man had a chicken ranch, ‘bout ten acres.’ However, Crook’s dissuades himself from being able to return to such a life on the biases of his colour and disability. Racial discrimination was not illegal in 1930s America, therefore racism was still very common at the time. Whites and blacks were segregated in 1930s America and blacks were considered as 2nd class citizens. Additionally, People who had disabilities in 1930s America were treated very unsympathetically by the majority of society. Abnormal behavior and low levels of economic productivity was regarded as a burden to communities. As a result of this, Crooks never believes that society will ever accept him. Crooks describes how he has seen hundreds of ranch workers with the same dream but has never witnessed anybody succeed in perusing their ambitions. ‘Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of land…. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head’. Crook’s speech foreshadows the failure of the other characters dreams by bringing the reader back to the harsh reality of 1930’s America which was poverty and mass unemployment.
Steinbeck further expands the idea that hopes and dreams helped people to survive through the dreadful depression of the 1930’s through the use of Curley’s wife. The author does this by portraying her to be an incredibly lonely character. The reader recognizes this as she is married to a man who she doesn’t love and is cruelly neglected by her husband. Additionally, there are no other women on the ranch which means she has nothing to do and is unable to feel companionship. As a result of this, she tries to make friends with the ranch workers by lingering around the bunkhouse. However, her dream of stardom through becoming a glorious and famous actress in Hollywood allows her to forget about her loneliness as she hopes and fantasizes that one day she’ll become the most talented and beautiful actress in America. Curley’s wife believes that because of her stardom, everybody and anybody will be desiring a moment in her company, meaning that she’ll no longer be lonely and instead feel appreciated. Despite this, her dream of fame reinforces her feelings of separation as she yearning to interact with the world around her and wishes people to adore her abilities and elegance. In her eyes, her loneliness would decrease if somebody would only recognize her talents and shape her into a movie star. Steinbeck informs the reader that Curley’s wife almost accomplished her dream as her hopes were risen by a man who claimed he would take her to Hollywood. “I lived right in Salinas,” she said. “Come there when I was a kid. Well, a show come through, an’ I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show. But my ol’ lady wouldn’ let me. She says because I was on’y fifteen. But the guy says I coulda. If I’d went, I wouldn’t be livin’ like this, you bet.” However, as her mother forbid her from perusing her dream she was forced to marry Curly instead. As a result of this experience, Curley’s wife is aware that her dream is possible to achieve. Perhaps she thinks that n opportunity like this could appear again in her future. I believe that it is this thought that enables her to survive through her empty life and prevents her from becoming insane or extremely depressed.
Be that as it may, the harsh truth is that having a dream and sharing it with others is not enough to ensure survival in Steinbeck’s novel. In fact, some could argue that it was the characters hopes and dreams ultimately caused their deaths. It was Curley’s wife’s desire for attention that caused her to be alone with Lennie and eventually leads to her murder. Additionally, it is Lennie’s eagerness to peruse his dream that brings him to kill Curley’s wife as he is immensely afraid that Curley’s wife’s shouting would imply to George that she is mad with him. He believed that her anger meant that George wouldn’t allow him to be part of their dream anymore. Lennie’s passion towards his dream meant that George had to kill him as his future consisted of a life of misery in a prison or an asylum as a result of his terrible actions.
Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck
In the novel ‘ Of mice and men’ John Steinbeck uses the character Crooks to represent racism across America and symbolise the marginalisation of the black community at the time the novel is set. From the beginning Steinbeck skillfully uses Crooks as a tool to give the reader an insight to the reality of the American Dream and what 1930’s America was like. The reader has to decide whether Crooks deserves sympathy, or is just a bitter, cruel ‘stable-buck’.
Steinbeck presents Crooks as a victim of racism throughout the entire book, Firstly Crooks is the only black man on the ranch illustrating that he is an outcast. We first here of Crooks when Candy refers to him as a ‘nigger’, although acceptable at the time the word dehumanises Crooks and shows the lack of respect he receives from other members on the ranch. Ostracised by the white members on the ranch, Crooks resents it As he says ‘ If I say something, why it’s just a nigger sayin’ it’ this depicts Crooks as someone that has turned to self- pity and the notion that he is a lesser human than his white counterparts. He says to Lennie ‘I ain’t wanted in the bunk house and you ain’t wanted in my room’ he carries on saying ‘they say I stink’ which can be interpreted that the white members on the ranch would find it appalling if a ‘nigger’ would breathe the same air in the bunkhouse as them.
The ambiance of Crook’s room reflects a lot on his personality. A lot of the objects in his ‘little shed’ were described as ‘broken’, this echoes onto Crook’s personality by the fact he is ‘broken’ in himself and is shunned by the other ranch members. Despite the fact Crooks picked up his name because of his ‘crooked back’ Steinbeck cleverly links this into the title of the book. ‘Of mice and man’ compares a man to the same level to mice. Crooks back injury is due to a horse kicking him in the back, this indicates that Steinbeck is trying to express that even an animal is worth more than him.
Crooks brings into perspective the loneliness experienced by all the characters in “Of Mice and Men” by saying (p. 77) “Sure, you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain’t no good. A guy needs someone – to be near him. A guys goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya, a guy gets too lonely, an’ he gets sick.” He is telling of the need for human interaction, the need for company and the need for someone to care and provide security. The oppression Crooks experiences in living in a barn and not in the bunkhouse where he could play rummy as one of the group leads him to this desperate plea to be realised as equal. Just because when he cuts himself, the blood he bleeds is looked upon as different from a white perspective, this does not mean he is not entitled to benefit from human nature. John Steinbeck is portraying here the feelings of Americans of his day and age: their aloneness and their salvation – in the American Dream.
It becomes apparent that the treatment of Crooks has made him cynical. Whenever the American Dream (i.e. the hope of all ranchers that one day they will have independence, land for themselves and be answerable to no-one) is mentioned he dismisses it. He says scornfully (p. 78) “I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches with their bindles on their backs an’ that same damn thing in their heads. Hundreds of them. They come, an’ they quit an’ go on……An’ never a god-damn one of ’em gets it.” This stark realism gives us an impression that Crooks has absolutely no hope. However (p. 77) “I remember when I was a little kid….had a strawberry patch. Had an alfalfa patch….Used to turn the chickens out on the alfalfa on a sunny morning” reinforces the idea that everyone has a dream, a goal and a fantasy. Crooks may be pessimistic, yet even he, the marginalised, fearful, gruff, resentful, alone “nigger”, has a dream, the hope of one day experiencing the joys of his childhood again.
Should we interpret Crooks as a cynical, evil, unimportant person? After all, he’s only an “nigger”. Yet one can fell sympathy for this ostracised man who, under his rough exterior, has humanity and all its qualities. Crooks gives us the most vivid picture of life at the time of the novel: its hopes, fears and injustices. And does Crooks also relate to life today? Are we any happier at having houses, independence, freedom of speech? Do you have to be black to experience oppression?
Detrimental Effect Of Discrimination In Of Mice And Men
The Detrimental Effect of Discrimination in Of Mice and Men “Discrimination has a lot of layers that make it tough for minorities to get a leg up” writes the billionaire Bill Gates, describing its effect on segregated people. Discrimination refers to the horrific treatment of a certain category of people due to differences that separate them from the majority. The segregated people are often isolated and abused into conforming to subservience. The crisis of discrimination is extremely evident in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men as major characters are severely impacted by their segregation, leading them to discard their dreams and hopes and focus on abiding by their stereotypes.
These outsiders are manipulated due to their distinct characteristics by others, resulting in them making certain decisions that alter the plot of the story. Three characters that are majorly affected by discrimination in Of Mice and Men include Crooks, Curley’s wife, and Lennie. Crooks is strongly affected by racial discrimination as he is mistreated and insulted through physical abuse and racial threats, provoking loneliness and being inferior, which ruins his hopes and dreams. For instance, segregation fosters a severe defensive hostility in the African American due to racial isolation, resulting in him barking to Lennie “‘I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse, and you ain’t wanted in my room‘Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink ’”(68). Crook’s behavior is explained as he is prevented from entering the bunkhouse and socializing with the ranch workers as they believe that he is inferior due to his skin color. The isolation causes Crooks to feel extremely desolate as he is separated from his workmates and forced to live by himself. He simply desires and attempts to ignore discrimination by pretending to want to be left alone and refuses to interact with people of the opposite race, further isolating him. In addition, after receiving severe insults from Curley’s wife, Crooks morosely calls to Candy “‘Member what I said about hoein’ and doin’ odd jobs? I wouldn’t want to go no place like that’”(68). Crooks reverses his decision on living and working on the dream farm after being racially insulted and threatened with implications of lynching, which he cannot defend himself against. Society slaughters the victim debilitated by discrimination, stripping him of his hopes and dreams that causes him to follow the rules of his segregation and order the two accomplices from his room. Consequently, Crook’s dreams and feelings of belonging are shattered as he is slotted into his rightful class by discrimination. Similarly, Curley’s wife faces gender discrimination, viewed to society as a troublemaker for being a woman while she only wants to interact with other men and share her dreams and feelings, which are ignored. For example, gender discrimination incites a pugnacious behavior in Curley’s wife as she complains, “‘Well, I ain’t giving you no trouble. Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while?
Think I like to stick in that house all time?’”(77). Curley’s wife is viewed like other women during the Great Depression time as promiscuous tarts that destabilize men’s longevity and should be confined to their houses to carry out chores. She is not even referred to by her name, but simply as “Curley’s Wife” throughout the novella, showing that men only regarded her as a possession of Curley’s. The stereotypes cause her to dejectedly roam around the farm hunting for company amongst a ranch that is filled with men, never intending to cause harm. Additionally, Curley’s wife contemptuously says that she is “‘standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs- a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep – and’ likin’it because they ain’t nobody else’”(78). The discourteous behavior results from the loneliness and dissatisfaction of being unable to achieve her dreams and goals due to the segregation that she faces in the Soledad society. To shield herself and conceal the indignation faced by the prejudice, she aggressively lists the stereotypes of which the three men are ostracized by society, tormenting Crooks for his race, Lennie for his unintelligence, and Candy for his age. Therefore, Curley’s wife is affected by the societal view of a typical woman, sparking a dependability on flirtatious behavior and insults to conceal the patheticness and pointlessness of her life. Lennie is discriminated for his mental disabilities and physical appearance, inciting feelings of defenselessness and being a disappointment to George. One example is when George dejectedly lamments to Slim of Lennie’s mental capabilities, narrating that he “‘used to play jokes on ‘im ‘cause he was too dumb even to take care of ‘imself. But he was too dumb even to know he had a joke played on him. ’”(40) George’s past harassment of Lennie is seen as discrimination as he is craftily manipulated for his lack of intelligence.
The inability to comprehend the situation leaves an obvious presence of vulnerability and a strong sense of dependability in the character. Although George serves as a companion, he demoralizes the man by convincing and scolding him that his lack of intelligence is trouble-prone into submission of his instructions, who in consequence has no personal opinion over his choices. Lennie also faces possible condemnation as Candy gossips that “‘S’pose Curley jumps a big guy an’ licks him. Ever’body says what a game guy Curley is. And s’pose he does the same thing and gets licked. Then ever’body says the big guys oughta pick on somebody his own size, and maybe they gang up on the big guy… Seems like Curley ain’t givin’ nobody a chance”(26). Lennie exists in society during the time of the Great Depression where many people lacked jobs due to economic depression. Big men were forced to suffer the oppression of others as they were viewed to provide a stronger labor force due to their size. Curley and his supporters’ harassment destroys victims, including Lennie, in physical and mental aspects as they are forced to adhere to their prejudice, despite their strength. Hence, prejudice of his physical and mental abilities causes Lennie to feel hopeless when faced by ominous threats. Discrimination is a major factor that hinders the uniqueness and crushes the dreams and hopes of many affected victims.
Throughout of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, the totality of the characters are massacred by prejudice as they all have different physical or mental abilities. Three majorly evident examples include Crooks who faces racial prejudice, Curley’s wife who faces gender segregation, and Lennie who faces both physical and mental discrimination. These victims exhibit outsider feelings as they are tolled heavily by isolation. Crooks and Curley’s wife are affected by their segregations so severely that they intimidate others who are weaker than them to subdue their feelings of desolation. The obvious differences in the three characters causes them to be manipulated or manipulate each other, suddenly altering the story’s outcome. The story ultimately describes the evils of a worldwide crisis, easily showing the reader its application in a society during a huge period of struggle.
The Theme of Loneliness in the Novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The relationship between abundance and isolation is conveyed in a variety of assorted techniques in John Steinbeck’s, Of Mice And Men. Therefore, this poetically expressed non-fiction novella is mainly regarding the concept of loneliness when it comes to the protagonists in the story, which are Lennie and George. Furthermore, acknowledging the contrast between Lennie and George’s personas, it is safe for it to be said that factors such as mental illness and habitual behaviors have an influential impact on the characters’ seclusion. Consequently, there is no doubt that humans in general crave contact with others in order to live a meaningful life. After taking this into consideration, Lennie, Crooks, Candy, and Curley’s wife can be derived as victims of loneliness.
It is evident that loneliness is presented constantly throughout this story. Specifically, George’s responsibility for taking care of Lennie and the American Dream are attempts to break the continuous pattern of of isolation. As a result, when the two men had arguments, George would always refer to Lennie as a burden, which prevented him from living the lonesome life he had always wanted. In the text, Steinbeck writes, “…if I was alone I could live so easily… an’ whatta I got, I got you!” (Steinbeck 11). George’s outburst supports the fact that he wishes to live in solitude, meaning a life without Lennie. By all means, without George, Lennie would live a
life full of sorrow without him knowing it. People would take advantage of his mental retardation, and as George stated, “somebody’d shoot you for a coyote if you was by yourself” (Steinbeck 13). In addition, loneliness always seemed to interfere with George and Lennie’s relationship.
However, Lennie and George are not the only characters who face loneliness in Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men. Although loneliness is demonstrated in all the characters throughout the story to some degree, Crooks and Candy’s isolation is most evident. Candy often tried to fight his upcoming loneliness by refusing to be kept apart by his dog. Unfortunately, Curley insisted on killing the only companion Candy had, which brought him his tragic loneliness. The quote, “Cany did not answer. The silence fell on the room again. It came out of the night and invaded the room” (Steinbeck 49), supports the idea of how Candy begins to suffer from isolation as soon as he no longer has anyone to be with. Even though time has passed since Candy’s tragedy, he continues to remain in despair and desolates himself from the rest of the ranch workers. Following this theory, Crooks is also a victim of loneliness along with Lennie and Candy. His physical disability and skin color is very much like Lennie’s mental illness. Crooks is often looked down on and persistently made to seem different from the rest of the ranch workers. “‘Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink” (Steinbeck 68). The previous quote supports the idea of Crooks being discriminated against due to his skin color and polar opposite characteristics. Although, his physical traits are not the only thing that isolate him from everyone else. His lack of respect when it comes to other’s business is
what also secludes him. Both Candy and Crooks’ desire to be liberated and live a tranquil life is revealed when they are interested in The American Dream, introduced to them by Lennie and George.
The pattern of only men living desolate lives is soon broken when Curley’s wife is proven to be a lonely character in the story. She too has been afflicted by isolation, due to her being the only female in the ranch. As if her gender was not already enough to make her exceptionally different from everyone else, her husband, Curley, has forbidden her talk to anyone. Curley’s wife rebels against him by flirting with all the ranch workers and giving them “the eye”. This is because of Curley not paying any attention to her, so psychologically, she
craves flattery. As Of Mice And Men comes to an end, Curley’s wife expresses her thoughts to Lennie. “Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely” (Steinbeck 86). This quote accurately proves the fact that Curley’s wife feels extremely lonely because of her limitation set by her husband when it comes to communication. While it is true that Curley’s wife had a few malicious actions here and there, they were not all intentional, judging by how she was emotionally abused by her husband.
Overall, the characters stated to be lonely and isolated were proven to have either been either physically or emotionally unstable. Factors such as discrimination, ignorance, restrain, and mockery all affect the internal state of someone. Loneliness does not always occur by simple isolating actions that others do. Even though the state of loneliness can be sorrowful, everyone must go through it in order to value and see the beauty in association.