Of Mice and Men
The Role of Steinbeck’s Women in The Grapes of Wrath (the Movie): When the Wind of Changes Blows Analytical Essay
It is hard to ignore the fact that up until the beginning of the XX century, most of the deeds that the history ended up caring about were men.
For quite long, the role of women was restricted to household and child upbringing; however, in the first decades of the twentieth century, the stereotypical image of a humble housewife seemed to have started wearing out, which a number of the writers like Steinbeck expressed at the time.
Though the emphasis on the social, political and economical changes that gripped the South of the USA in 1930ies, John Ford in his adaptation of Steinbeck’s novel offered the audience completely new images of women and made it clear that women started gaining new social roles. The above-mentioned meant that female characters in literature were no longer the bland housewives or damsels in distress, but original characters with unique personalities.
First and foremost, Ma Joad must be mentioned. Allowing a character like this on a screen truly heralded the beginning of the feminist era. Even though Ma Joad is portrayed as a typical housewife, she does as much as any male protagonists in the movie. On the one hand, she is a perfect supportive mother who takes care of her family:
Sometimes they do somethin’ to you, Tommy. They hurt you – and you get mad–and then you get mean – and they hurt you again – and you get meaner, and meaner – till you ain’t no boy or no man any more, but just a walkin’ chunk a mean-mad. Did they hurt you like that, Tommy? (The Grapes of Wrath)
On the other hand, she is into the social and political changes that happen to the state. As a matter of fact, at certain point, she summarizes the entire movie, if not the entire era, quite in a nutshell:
Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good an’ they die out. But we keep a’comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out; they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, ’cause we’re the people. (The Grapes of Wrath).
Compared to the previous character, Rose of Sharon, or, as her friends and family call her, Rosasharn, is quite a downgrade. She does have a personality, too, but she comes nowhere near energetic Ma Joad. Instead of being protective like Ma Joad, she whimpers and moans: “Ma… all this, will it hurt the baby?”, while her mother reasons with her: “Now don’t you go gettin’ nimsy-mimsy” (The Grapes of Wrath).
Grandma Joad is not given much screen time, unlike Ma or Rosasharn. However, it would be wrong to leave Grandma Joad out of account. According to what the characters who used to know her as she was younger say, she deserves to be mentioned as a female character whose personality was groundbreaking for the American cinematography of the time: “Your granma was a great one, too. The third time she got religion she go it so powerful she knocked down a full-growed deacon with her fist” (The Grapes of Wrath).
It is worth mentioning that, despite a new portrayal of women and establishing their new role in society, the movie still contains the clichés of the time. Even the leading female character, Ma Joad, is pretty much a staple of a typical housewife and the mother of the family. From the given perspective, she can be considered the typical caring mother of the family whose main concerns are her children and her household chores.
However, Ma Joad’s character is much more complex than that. She does possess certain features that were characteristic of female characters of the time, yet she takes actions, makes choices and decisions, which, in turn, makes her a complex and compelling female lead. The features that make Ma Joad somewhat stereotypical serve only to make her real; otherwise, Ma Joad would have lost half of the credibility and likeability that she has.
Finally, Mae, who is given a rather peculiar role in the movie, does not look as strong as Ma Joad or Mrs. Wainwright. Though she has a scene in which she makes a decision, giving children candies “two for a penny” (The Grapes of Wrath), she still does not have that much of personality, since her decision, as well as the rest of her actions are based on what Bert tells her: “Go ahead – Bert says take it” (The Grapes of Wrath).
Another female character in the movie who quite honestly should be considered a solid step back in the development of women perception in literature, is Granma Joad. Apart from the fact that she does or attempts to do little to nothing, she becomes so grief-stricken with the death of her husband that she loses her will to live, which results in her untimely death in the middle of a desert.
At one point, the audience can see her taking responsibilities and acting like a mature person would; however, her religiousness and the tendency only to supply color commentaries brings the significance of her character a few notches down: “Praise the Lord!” (The Grapes of Wrath). Therefore, out of all female characters, Ma Joad seems the most complex, challenging and well-rounded one.
It is essential that she is not portrayed as a completely out-of-epoch feminist and the person who always does the right thing and knows what to say; she has her sad moments, and the moments when she would rather have someone help her: “I dunno what to do. I got to feed the fambly.
What’m I gonna do with these here?” (The Grapes of Wrath). She gets angry, happy, and even irritated, like an everyday person does: “You can’t make us wait!” (The Grapes of Wrath), which altogether makes her a very believable and compelling new character.
Though it would be wrong to say that Ma Joad pulls the role of a self-sufficient woman alone, since there are a couple of other female characters who display similar qualities, Ma Joad definitely leaves the greatest impression. She truly represents a new female character in the American literature, a self-sufficient woman who, while caring about her family, also is socially active and engages into the activities that are typically considered the realm of men.
Apparently, Ford’s, as well as Steinbeck’s, intent was to focus on the social issues that affected the lives of the American farmers on the large scale, i.e., the events that occurred at the time of the Great depression, as well as personal dramas that evolved in this environment. However, together with the aforementioned issues, Steinbeck also touched upon a very peculiar feminist issue. To be more exact, whether he did it intentionally or not, Steinbeck offered the readers a completely new portrayal of women.
It would be a mistake to say that the women that the author depicted did not exist before; nevertheless, Steinbeck was one of the first to notice the tendency for women to try new social roles, and Ford in his adaptation was the first to display, which The Grapes of Wrath should be given credit for.
The Grapes of Wrath. Dir. John Ford. Perf. Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell and John Carradine. 20th Century Fox, 1940. Film.
“The Moon is Down” by John Steinbeck Critical Essay
The moon is Down is a novel that was set in the small town of Norway during the World War II. The novel is unknown to many but has been widely distributed among the political rebels and activists. It is quite a small novel in stature which has several themes well elaborated. The themes include the nadirs and the burdens of the complex military industry, and the spirit of the human race toward and against slavery and repression and finally the relationship between the oppressors and the oppressed.
Steinbeck creates a story of a well knit community that is forced to face the atrocious authenticities of the Nazi occupation. The narration takes place in the coal mining which is an indication of the magnitude of the winter freeze. It is in a warm, well knit community with people full of apparent love for each other. This significantly shows the resistant and the irony between the things happening and where they are happening.
Lessons learnt and how they can be applied
According to Morine (2009, par2), the story explains the potential and aptitude the oppressed have to wallop back not in favor of their oppressors. It helps them to understand they are not animals, but they are human beings who have decided to execute certain roles against the people they have overcome or conquered; the oppressed.
One of the greatest lessons that we learn is the indulgent of the human freedom and rights in the society they are living in. It helps man understand the nature of freedom and indomitable spirit of man. Morine states in his work that, “You know, Doctor, I am a little man and this is a little town, but there must be a spark in little men that can burst into flame.” (Morine 1)
This shows the spirit a man should have in fighting for their rights even in the midst of oppression. This helps us to understand that the people in the society show hold on to their virtues and they should fight on for them (Steinbeck, pp108).
Mayor demonstrates his love for the nation and the community which he is determined to fight for even though fear dominates most of his days. This is a direct indication that everyone should stand up to the principles of the society and position himself to make the community more compact and waver not.
Looking more keenly, we can conclude that the race is not won but the swift but the persistent. In his monologue (Steinbeck, pp112), he has a strong heart that knows not giving up. He argues that, though the free men may continually seem to win the wars and manage to oppress the herds’ man; with time the herds’ men will lay their hands on their rights and freedom.
Royalty it the other major lesson that everyone we learn from this literature; being royal to ones nation helps on to stand strong even under pressure and threat. The individuals who are royal cannot betray their nation’s wealth no matter the cost; and they will be willing to pay the cost to rescue their nation from its adversity. There is a great price to pay for freedom and royalty. It cost people’s lives for the freedom we enjoy to be attained (Morine, 2009, Para 10).
In reference to an analysis of “The Moon is Down” by Smith 2010, national togetherness and unity are very important. In the moon is down, when the opposing force highly increased and landed on weak hands of a disunited town, they were able to forcefully invade the town.
The lack of human connection demonstrates a deadly moment and an end. While each person in the town is counting on the other, it leaves loopholes which the enemy builds on. This reveals that in a war there is no good side, it calls for all parties to be ready for a win or a defeat having in mind both of the parties are human.
Freedom is not attained through forceful imposing of laws and regulations and there are many ways of overcoming cities and owning wealth rather than war. Forceful demand for ones right does not mean they will be achieved as per the expectation of the individual. According to Steinbeck’s quote; the policemen and the postmen could not access their offices and insisting for their rights led to them been jailed, it is clear that force can be detrimental if used in search for freedom (Smith, 2010, Para 3).
Lessons to the American leaders
The small peaceful town was overtaken by their oppressors when it was not ready at all. This leaves the leaders with a great responsibility of protecting their nation at all times whether there are any signals of danger or not. The nation’s security sector ought not to be invaded and overrun without any resistance.
The leadership ought to passionately defend their nation and wealth. In the Moon is Down, they veterans never resisted the invasion by their oppressors which left the citizens with confusion and angry with the leadership they looked up to (Morine, 2009, Para 11).
Greed for leadership has been portrayed in the book which ends up in disloyalty and betrayal of the nation’s liberty. This is seen where Mayor Orden gives the battalion invading their land hi s land for them to build a head quarters and in return was elevated in leadership. This came along with favors which made him betray his own beautiful town to the invaders.
Colonel Lanser, the veteran understood the importance of a free city. He knew people whose freedom has been taken by force could not be happy and peaceful. There fore he tried to work under the umbrella of civility and law which never worked so well. The heart of a citizen should be for the good of his nation and people.
Steinbeck in his book the Moon is Down opens up a leader’s paradox. He presents it going beyond the “good and the bad” sides in conflict using the human side of the enemy being faced. Steinbeck presents the soldiers and other officers from either side as normal and real people with all the social responsibilities common to all men. This leaves all the listeners with a deep rethink of the inhumanity of war. This ought to help the leaders think in a more human way and solve matters in ways that avoid wars.
The portrayed humanity should help the American leaders derive the best modes of problem solving and conquering new territories which should take care of all humanity. They should take care of all humanity and more so work to sustain and build humanity than break. The significance of the timing in plot, winter, is mostly on the way it takes time to recover and sort of revenge slowly.
Just like the people who have been conquered settle slowly and in silence and preparing for revenge. The leaders should learn to heal from their past experiences which should help them lay out great ideas of improving the state of their cities, towns and nations. This gives the confidence that a single defeat does not mean all is lost there is much hope after rising up just like for a tree that has cut which can blossom again.
The leaders should learn that freedom is not attained through forceful imposing of laws and regulations. And a city can be overcome through other ways far from war. Forceful demand for ones right does not mean they will be achieved as per the expectation of the personality. According to Steinbeck’s quote; the policemen and the postmen could not access their offices and insisting for their rights led to them been jailed (Smith, 2010, Para 3).
War leaves both the oppressed and oppressor are left wounded and mostly psychologically. The occupied city also suffers losses which at times are so immense. For example in the first few pages shows details of rapid fire sequences which are depicted to have occurred before the settling of the mayor. From this, it is clear that an unsettled leadership creates a platform for the invasion by enemies. Therefore the leadership should learn to stabilize its operations and settle its internal conflicts to enable well laid strategies of operation (66-67).
An experienced army is an added advantage to a nation is vital; mostly experience in war but not in defeat. Experience prepares one for a bigger thing than he conquered earlier. The towns soldiers are knowledgeable in managing demonstration hence had never heard of the enemy, neither were they prepared to handle him.
A good scenario of explaining how is Dr. Winter’s lament, “our country is failing, our town is conquered…the Mayor is about to receive the conqueror, we hope the best for the resistance, especially since it is tragic that in such a small and tight community they have been given up by a man the town once respected, George C” (Smith, 2010, Para 4)
The Moon is Down helps the nations and their leadership learn the vital elements of royalty, preparedness and unity. It also displays clearly the great implications of believing in one self and willingness to pay a cost for what is rightfully yours. Warring nations currently, picks up the benefits of always been prepared and guarding jealousy what they have worked for all the years.
Morine, Nicholas. Literature Review – Steinbeck, The Moon is Down: John Steinbeck’s Novel Explores Subversion, Resistance to Occupation. UK: Suite101.com, 2009. Web.
Smith, Nicole. Analysis of “The Moon is Down” by John Steinbeck: The Psychological Ailing of the Enemy. UK: articlemyriad.com, 2010. Web. <http://www.articlemyriad.com/>.
Steinbeck, John. The Moon is Down, Penguin Classics. New York City: Viking Press, 1995.
Comparison of Nora from A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Elisa from The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck Research Paper
Two female characters Nora from A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Elisa from The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck have many similar characteristics. Both are women who live with husbands who do not understand them and do not feel the things as women do.
Both characters are intelligent women who need to change their life, but being brutalized by husbands, they do not know how to improve the life. However, there is also a number of differences in the characters’ behavior. One woman stays in the same place with the same conditions and another does away towards the new happy life.
The story of John Steinbeck describes only one day of life of the character, while Henrik Ibsen uses three acts in order to provide the whole picture and to describe the rise of the conflict in details and its future culmination. One can notice that these two stories and their major female characters are similar, as they both face the similar circumstances; however, on the other hand, Nora and Elisa demonstrate different reactions on the circumstances that married life provides.
The play A Doll’s House describes the nature of the relationship between husband and wife. Ibsen as the founder of realist drama uses the ideas, events and characters which are typical in the usual life. According to Goldman, the main ideas of this play are “the Social Lie and Duty” (1914).
Ibsen provides the description of the social duty of woman in a home as the sacred institution. In the world ruled by men the place of women is at home. Some of people willingly accept this way; however, for other people such way of life can be a complicated challenge.
The female character, Nora, seems deeper and more intelligent than her husband Torvald. The woman has many ideas, dreams and hopes; she wants to have better life and feels that all this routine of married life with Torvald kills her personality. She sees that her husband is not that person that she imagined. He is narcissistic and does not care about Nora, children or home. Nora’s enthusiasm does not allow her to be a simple house wife, a doll of her husband.
Obviously, there are many women who can accept such way of life; however, Nora is not one of them. She is not a doll and she cannot live with someone who considers her as a doll, as a toy. Nora’s life seems complicated and painful. However, she struggles for her happiness. On the other hand, many people can say that in this situation Torvald is the real victim.
It may be complicated to comprehend how woman could leave her children; however, for Nora, such method seems only one and right solution. She wants to survive in this world and to start the life from the new page. Ibsen does not provide the ideas about Nora’s future and what she is going to do, where to go and how to life. Nevertheless, the author emphasizes an importance of the personal choice in spite of life of a doll.
A short story The Chrysanthemums describes a life of a strong and proud Elisa Allen. Although this woman has the outstanding principles, intellect, she is kind and well-behavior, her life is full of frustration and even sorrow. She cannot have a child and her husband loses his interest toward Elisa as a woman. Only one good thing she has is her garden where the woman can cultivate the chrysanthemums.
In this context, the flower is a symbol of every woman who feels frustrated and lonely. Devoting all the energy to the house and garden, Elisa is unable to find more interesting business that could draw her attention, to bring more color to her life. Although the flowers are beautiful and make the life brighter, they are not humans; they cannot provide the same feeling, emotions or help to develop the life. Elisa is ignored and lost in her own home.
The evident mood of this story is the total melancholy. The first sentence is a bright demonstration of this statement: “The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world” (Steinbeck). The city of the heroes is closed from all the world as well as Elisa is closed in her house. It is the story of the desperate house wife where a happy-end seems like an incredible miracle.
One can see the similarities between the image of Elisa and Nora, because both women are intelligent, passionate and unsatisfied by the life that they have to maintain. Both of the characters care about their home. Thus, Elisa’s home is “hard-swept and hard-polished” (Steinbeck), while Nora’s “room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not extravagantly” (Ibsen).
Both of the stories take place in winter. In this context, the season can be considered as a symbolical expression of mood o the characters. However, if Elisa’s winter may last for a long time, Nora tries to reach the spring of her existence. Perhaps, the life of Nora seems more interesting, because she has children, friends and one man is even in love with her.
At the same time, Elisa seems absolutely lonely and her only friends are flowers. She gets an opportunity express herself only in the conversation with the tinker. However, when this man disappears, Elisa feels even worse than before. Sweet indicates that after the meet with tinker, Elisa “becomes more and more feminine” (212). At the beginning, Nora and Torvald seem normal and happy family.
The author describes their every-days life in details. On the other hand, the beginning of The Chrysanthemums seems already melancholic and cold. It is possible to suppose that Elisa’s married life is full of problems. However, such fast way of determining the problem is caused by the characteristics of a genre of the short story, in spite of play, where the author has the space and time to describe the conflict slowly, preparing the readers for the culmination.
Nora and Elisa demonstrate different reaction on the crisis. While Elisa collapses and gives up, Nora leaves her family and believes in the better future and changes in her own life. Nora does not want to help her husband. She understands that if he did not want to change something in their life before, he will never do it. Therefore, being a clever and intelligent woman, she finds the solution and abandons her family before she will lose herself and lose her dreams. Such culmination seems unusual for 19th century.
Analysis of the cultural background demonstrates that women’s role in the West was simple and all house wives were mostly dependent on their family and especially on their husbands (Mayer 8). On the other hand, Elisa cannot find enough straights to make an important step. She loses her ability to reflect rationally. The ends of two stories are absolutely different. Elisa does not want to argue with her husband and turns up her collar, crying like an old woman.
One day of Elisa’s life can be compared with all her life. The reader can suppose that every day of Elisa is the same as the one described in the story. At the end of A Dolls’ House, Nora turns back on the family and goes away, choosing her own road in this world and making a step forward the new life.
Analyzing the stories A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Elisa from The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck, one can see the different reactions and responses to the problems and various challenges that married life provides.
Although the major characters of two stories have the similar circumstances, the culminations of their problems are different. One woman decides to leave her husband and children, while another continues suffering. It is obvious that both authors sympathize their female characters; however, they choose different solutions for them.
It is natural that people react in the different way as we all have different characteristics, emotional range, experience and communicational skills. Some people prefer to fight and to improve their life. They know when to stop and make a step. Nora is an example of such personality. Vice versa, Elisa shows an example of an opposite personality, a woman who cannot decide how to solve the problems and to develop her life.
Goldman, Emma. The Social Significance of the Modern Drama. Boston: Richard g. Barger, 1914. Web. <http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/goldman/>.
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Gutenberg.org. Web..
Mayer, Laura Reis. Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House: A Teacher’s Guide to the Signet Classics Edition. US: Penguin Books, 2008. Print.
Steinbeck, John. The Chrysanthemums. Web..
Sweet, Charles A. Jr. “Mr. Elisa Allen and Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums.” Modern Fiction Studies. Ed. William T. Stafford and Margaret Church. Vol. 20. West Lafayette: Purdue University, 1974. 210-214. Print.
Billy Budd by Herman Melville and Film of Mice and Men 1992 Research Paper
The film Of Mice and Men based on novel of John Steinbeck depicts the story of two migrant workers Lennie Small and George Milton. Describing the period of Great Depression, the author wants to show the striving of men to find their place in California, to find a job and to improve their life of outsiders.
However, the main idea of this film consists not in the description of the social problems; it is a story about the way how people build the relationships, about friendship. The novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville describes a life of a young sailor who works aboard warship during the 18th century in England. In spite of Of Mice and Men, Billy Budd is focused more on the ideas of justice, morality, religion and other social issues.
This story can be considered as an allegory with a complex use of symbols. Although, at the first glance, two stories seem different, one can find the similarities between the characters of Lennie Small and Billy Budd, as both men are workers who demonstrate the courage, strong temper and will to improve their life and to change the world they live in.
Of Mice and Men is a story about the American Dream, where characters who are aspired by the will to improve their live try to use the fortune and luck. On the other hand, the audience can be a witness how the will to get money can destroy the relationships between friends. Two friends have to move from their city because one of them is accused of rape of young women. In fact, this accusation is groundless. However, the heroes suppose that it is better to escape from the city than try to apologize and to justify this action.
Lennie and George have to find the place where to live and work and they find it on Tyler Ranch (Of Mice and Men 2003). Lennie and George lose their companionship due to the ambitions and indefatigable striving to get the capital and become more independent and self-sufficient. The taglines of this film are: “We have a dream. Someday, we’ll have a little house and a couple of acres. A place to call home” (“Of Mice and Men”).
Perhaps, such desire can be understandable, as the workers have a poor life, although they work hard. However, they forget what the real value of this life is. It is not money. Obviously, such way of behavior and priorities may lead to success; however, in case of the heroes of Of Mice and Men, this idea crushes.
Billy Budd, the novel written by Herman Melville in 19th century, describes story of young sailor who works abroad the warship. This story has a spirit of the French Revolution with a will of the justice, freedom and human rights. “Handsome sailor” (Melville 928) works aboard the merchant vessel; however, he dreams about the work aboard the warship Indomitable. Billy is a typical good character who is respected by the crew.
Perhaps, he has a good heart because he is an orphaned and knows how difficult and complicated the life can be. Obviously, the story should have both good and bad sides.
The antagonist of a good and kind Billy is the Master-at-arms of the ship John Claggart. Billy is falsely accused of mutiny and unable to protect himself when Captain Vere tries to find the truth; as the result, he accidentally kills his enemy. The end of this story provides three reports and the readers can see that the Captain Vere is dead due to the battle, journalists write about Billy’s execution and the crew remembers about this young brave sailor. Melville’s novel has the multiply mythological and biblical allusions.
Moreover, one can find there an influence of the French and American Revolutions, the success of Admiral Nelson and the various political and philosophical ideas of the 18th century. This story is deeper than Of Mice and Men due to its physiological motives of behavior which cause some extraordinary events. Thus, it is complicated to comprehend why John Claggart does not like Billy while all other members of crew like this young man.
The reason of such attitude consists in the human nature. Although everyone can see the result, it is difficult to explain why it happens, which motives cause such events. On the other hand, the motives of behavior of the heroes of Of Mice and Men are clear: it is a striving of getting more material goods, more money and gold.
The story of Billy Budd takes place on the Mediterranean Sea, while Of Mice and Men describes life in South of Soledad, California. The themes of two stories are different.
Billy Budd struggles against the social injustice, the individual against the society and the conscience against law. On the other hand, the relationships between Lennie and George emphasize an importance of fraternity and friendship, the destructive impact of the social opinion within the American society and impossibility of the American Dream to form the capital from nothing.
The motives of heroes’ behavior are similar. Both men are accused; however, Lennie wants to prove that he still able to achieve his goals, to improve his life, while Billy is unable to argue and to prove that his is not guilty. The motives of Billy Budd are the Christian allegory and mutiny, while Of Mice and Men is an emphasis of strength and weakness of humans, friendship, companionship and loneliness.
It is obvious that the characters of Lennie Small and Billy Budd are similar. Both men demonstrate the best human qualities: they are brave, clever and kind. However, in spite of Lennie Small, Billy Budd can be considered as more complicated psychological archetype. One can find that the novel of Melville has a number of Christian conceptions and biblical allusions (“Billy Budd: Allusions”).
Thus, Billy Budd is an allusion of Adam and Christ. He is driven out of his heaven like Adam and he is betrayed by the member of the crew like Christ. The figure of Captain can be considered as a God. Thus, there are following sentences in the novel: “Captain Vere tells the truth. It is just as Captain Vere says, but it is not as the master-at-arms said. I have eaten the King’s bread and I am true to the King” (Melville 932).
The present quotation provides an evident allusion of biblical subjects. Billy Budd is an example of cruel and unfair life where every good man can be accused and punished. It is possible to find the similarities between the events in the lives of Billy and Lennie as both men were falsely accused.
However, in case of Billy, this situation seems more unfair as he was absolutely innocent of the crime. On the other hand, Lennie touched that girl. Therefore, it would be wrong to claim that he is completely not guilty. Both men had tragic lives and did not accomplish all their dreams.
Their lives turned due to the sudden tragic events: Billy kills Claggart and Lennie kills the wife of Curley, the rancho owner’s son. However, although two stories and those tragic events seem similar, the results are completely different. Billy becomes a legend among the sailors; they sing songs about him and remember Billy as a brave and kind person. In case of Lennie, his life ends in a different way.
Curley sends men to kill Lennie and his friend George shoots him in the head. It is possible to consider this step of George as a betrayal of his friend. However, at the end of this story, Lennie and George were not friends; they betrayed their friendship earlier and barter it for money. Nevertheless, the figure of Lennie is also symbolical. It is a complex character who is completely different than others.
The author ironically called him Small, although, in fact, it is a man of large stature. His emotional level is similar to the childish one, as this man has the diminished mental abilities. However, this characteristic makes Lennie be kind like a child. Although sometimes he does not know what is right and what is wrong, he behaves better than George and he absolutely trusts his friend. Lennie’s main desire is to continue the friendship with George.
The reason of Lennie’s tragic end lies in a lack of understanding that all things that people do can have the consequences. Lennie is a menace to the society; thereby, it is possible to understand and accept his end. The social life requires strong mind and comprehension of the rules of behavior.
However, Billy Budd is absolutely different type of men. This young sailor is brave, intelligent, clever and fascinating and he knows what is right and what behavior can be considered as socially wrong or dangerous. It is difficult to understand why he cannot protect himself against the face of danger and false accusation. Reich supposes that the author used Billy as “an example of the flaws in the laws of society” (Reich 131). Although this man is a great example of goodness, he cannot withstand against the cruel reality and social opinion.
The author compares his character with Alexander the Great, physically and spiritually strong and powerful figure with the honest soul. Obviously, Billy Budd and Lennie Small are similar, as they both demonstrate their best qualities such as honesty, friendliness and will to have a good peaceful and quite life. Both of them are punished by the society who does not accept such characters.
The reason of their fall can be found in the idea that people are ready to believe in the most terrible crime than to accept that the person can be not guilty. Serious Billy and childish Lennie are similar because both of them treat people in a kind way; they cannot hurt or betray someone and, as the result, they both are betrayed by the people around them.
Billy Budd: Allusions. Web.
Melville, Herman. “Billy Budd, Sailor.” The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, 8th ed., Vol. 2. Ed. Lawall. US: W W NORTON, 2005. 928-932. Print.
Of Mice and Men. Ex. Prod. Gary Sinise. US: Twentieth Century Fox. 2003. DVD.
Of Mice and Men. Web.
Reich, Charles A. “The Tragedy of Justice in Billy Budd”, Critical Essays on Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor. Ed. Robert Milder. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1989. 127-143. Print.
Formal Analysis of John Steinbeck’s ‘The Chrysanthemums’ Essay (Critical Writing)
John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” is the short story associated with American Realism. The story setting is the Salina Valley, which is a nonfictional area in California. Such characteristic features of American Realism as the focus on the middle class and upper class characters, the author’s intention to make a positive social or moral influence on his readers, the author’s concentration on the inner world of the characters, and the accentuation of the details and settings are realized in the story.
The first characteristic of American Realism is the depiction of middle class or upper class characters. The main character of “The Chrysanthemums” is Elisa Allen, the wife of a beef cattle farmer, Henry Allen. The lifestyle of the couple is characteristic for the time and for the middle-class Americans.
They have a farm and a small farmhouse described as “… hard-swept looking little house with hard-polished windows” (Steinbeck 163). Their income is also typical for the middle-class family. For instance, Henry sold “…thirty head of three-year-old steers” (Steinbeck 163). Even though there were no indications as to whether they were lucky enough to get regular incomes, the fact that they chose to celebrate it by going out for a dinner showed that their budget was bigger than other families’ household budgets.
The second characteristic is the positive impact on the readers. While reading the story, the readers notice that the author uses the plot to emphasize Elisa’s passionate love for her work as the escape from the unhappy marriage. As the story develops, a stranger drops in to their farm searching for some job to earn for a living. The man repairs utensils and sharpens scissors and other household tools to make the ends meet.
As the story unfolds, the man engages Elisa in a conversation in an attempt to get some work, but she adamantly refuses his request. In persistence, the man uses Elisa’s passion for Chrysanthemums flowers to make her find some work for him.
According to Donna Campbell, “it is a technique, which also denotes a particular kind of subject matter, especially the representation of a middle-class life” (Campell). The author seeks to make the influence on the readers, representing the effects of the unhappy marriage on Elisa and her activity.
The third characteristic of American Realism is the focus on the characters’ inner world. The story depicts the woman who is not loved by her husband. She turns her affection to her flowers.
Thus, the author concentrates on depicting the variety of Elisa’s emotions when she formally speaks to her husband, angrily reacts to the stranger, and on how Elisa’s reactions change when she listens to the passenger’s emotionally vivid descriptions of the flowers “Kind of a long-stemmed flower? Looks like a quick puff of colored smoke?” (Steinbeck 164). The reades have the opportunity to understand Elisa’s changed emotions following her realistically depicted feelings.
The next characteristic of American Realism in “The Chrysanthemums” is that the story is mimetic. The author seeks to make the story true to life by using realistic details and settings. Steinbeck describes the farm and the surroundings in details to create a vivid picture of the scenery to the reader.
Moreover, the description of characters’ is also realistic. Elisa’s face is “lean and strong…Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled low…clod-hopper shoes…completely covered by a big corduroy apron” (Steinbeck 163). The setting of the story is a nonfictional place. The Salina’s Valley is a real place located in central California. This realistic setting is important because it helps bring out the whole realism of the story.
In conclusion, it must be pointed out that “The Chrysanthemums” is realistic fiction story in which John Steinbeck has successfully used the issues inherent in the American society to bring out a ‘true to life’ masterpiece with a positive social influence on its readers.
Campell, Donna. Realism in American Literature, 1960-1890. Washington: Washington State University, 2011. Print.
Steinbeck, John. “The Chrysanthemums”. An Introduction to Literature. Ed. Barnet Sylvan, William Burto, and William Cain. Upper Saddle River: Pearson College Division, 2008. 162-169. Print.
Steinbeck and Babb Essay
Steinbeck and Babb played a great role in shaping the literature of America. Although the authors were not recognized significantly during the past, their ideologies are relevant to the modern society. Steinbeck was an activist who wrote many books about the struggle between people who are poor and the rich ones.
However, researchers and authors have questioned the originality of his work because they speculate that he copied Babb’s stories. On the others hand, Babb was a determined writer who faced harsh experiences during her childhood, education life and employment. She is recognized for collecting authentic books based on participatory observations.
Situation in California
While seeking to articulate the situation in California, Steinbeck wrote a famous book known as ‘Grapes of Wrath’. On the other hand, Babb focused on similar issues and wrote a book that was titled ‘Whose Names are Unknown’. In the two books, Steinbeck and Babb wrote about the plight of migrants in Oklahoma and California.
They focused on the miserable conditions which dust bowl’s migrants experienced in Oklahoma and California. The authors described how the migrants pursued their rights from the relevant authorities. Steinbeck based his story on non-participatory observations where he visited migrants’ camps and interviewed the migrants.
On the other hand, Babb was employed as an assistant manager of FSA where she observed how the migrants were treated in a direct way. This implies that she had firsthand information about the treatment of migrants. As a result, her book focused equally on the oppression of migrant workers. While evaluating the plight of migrant workers, the authors adopted different stances which portrayed similarities and differences.
Similarity and Differences of Perspective
The two authors suggested that migrant oppression was a barbaric act that portrayed recklessness. They condemned this oppression for propagating inhumanity. Babb stated that the California’s labor system exploited the workers heartlessly. Furthermore, she contended that the system in California was abusive and desperate.
Also, she suggested that oppression of migrants was a show of human greed where the crop owners never cared about the welfare of the colleagues. Lastly, she stated that the oppression was a source of unending pain. On the other hand, Steinbeck argued that the system forced the migrants to live in miserable conditions.
In fact, it was evident that author was very outraged by the treatment of migrants. This was portrayed when he stated that the migrants who worked for cash crop growers were treated in a discriminatory and brutal manner.
He revealed that the cash crop growers blamed the migrants for laziness without any justification. Finally, he stated that the authorities could have treated the migrants properly by providing them with the basic needs.
Difference in Perspective
The differences between Steinbeck and Babb emerged during evaluation of the dispossession that happened in 1930. Steinbeck articulated the issues in a figurative manner by describing the Okies as people who had a lot of essence. On the other hand, Babb portrayed a humanistic perspective by arguing that the world should be defined by human relationships.
She suggested that the migrants were neighbors who shared the same destiny with all human beings. Therefore, she argued that the migrants should not have been treated wrongly. Instead, they should have been treated humanely regardless of their origin or financial status.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Essay
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a novel about the difficult life of American migrant workers during the Great Depression. It uncovers the hardship of this historical period and reflects the author’s personal experience and knowledge about the lives of migrant ranch workers. Steinbeck invites the reader to think about each personage with compassion as he describes all characters as they are, with no judgment or admiration. This essay will examine the key themes of the story and the historical context, provide a brief analysis of the main characters, and give an overall reader’s opinion about the novel.
The events in the novel take place during the Great Depression. Lennie and George, two migrant workers, arrive at their new job on a ranch in Salinas, California, where they will be bucking barley. Lennie and George are friends, and they are dreaming of having their farm one day. Lennie has a mental disability, so George has to look after him. Two friends stay in the house with other workers, where they get to know some new people and realize that they are the only ones who stick together while the rest of the workers are loners.
Later on, they meet Curley, the son of their boss, and Curley’s wife, who is the only female on the ranch. Curley is a boxer, so he immediately dislikes Lennie because he is much bigger and stronger than other men, whom Curley can easily fight. Meanwhile, Curley’s wife is always seeking attention from the ranch workers as she feels very lonely. George refuses to talk to her and warns Lennie to stay away from her as well because he thinks that it might get them in trouble.
Further in the novel, Lennie encounters Curley’s wife in the barn. As always, the girl is desperate for attention, so she starts a conversation with Lennie and even encourages him to touch her hair. However, she gets scared when Lennie pulls her hair too strong and starts screaming when he does not let her go. In turn, Lennie gets a panic attack and accidentally breaks her neck. The girl dies, Lennie realizes what he has done and runs away, but everybody on the ranch immediately understands who killed her. The workers follow Lennie with a clear intention to kill him. To save his friend from suffering, George finds Lennie first, calms him down by telling his favorite story about their farm, and shots him in the head.
The protagonists of the book are George and Lennie. The two men are very different in many ways. Whereas George is small and lean, Lennie is big and strong. George is witty, smart, and independent, whereas Lennie has a mental disability and needs constant help. These two people are the only friends in the novel since the rest of the workers are very isolated. Generally, the book has quite a few characters, but each of them occupies a special place in the plot.
On the surface, this is a story of the unique friendship between two men. Still, there are a few other relevant themes that are essential for this novel, which are loneliness, moral issues, and the hardship of living during the Great Depression. The idea of friendship is represented in the relationship between the two protagonists ‒ George and Lennie. Although they are very different, they stick together, and having each other’s support gives them the strength to survive: “We got each other, that’s what, that gives a hoot in hell about us” (Steinbeck, 2003, p. 118). George sometimes complains that his life would be better without Lennie, yet he keeps repeating that their friendship is what makes them special. Even in the end, when George realizes that there is no way to save Lennie from lynching, he finds the strength to shoot him and minimize his pain.
Another central theme in Of Mice and Men is loneliness. Some critics argue that loneliness and isolation are central to this novel. Namely, Vyas (2019, p. 184) in the analysis of selected novels of the Great Depression refers to the other article by Mickael J.Mayer, arguing that “all the characters of the novel experience loneliness.” Some characters feel lonely as they are socially isolated, for example, Curley’s wife. Since workers do not want to get in trouble, they avoid her: “I get awful lonely… I get lonely… You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to anybody but Curley. Else he gets mad” (Steinbeck, 2003, p. 98). To emphasize this isolation, the author never mentions her name, and the girl stays “Curley’s wife” even after her death.
However, it can be argued that even Lennie, who is seemingly the least lonely character in the novel, feels isolated as well. The thoughts that come into Lennie’s head when he hallucinates about his Aunt Clara show the other side of his character. Lennie is stressed, but the man does not think that his friend is going to save him. Contrarily, he is afraid that George will hit him with a stick. Such representation of each character might be intentional as it is hard to trust others and not feel lonely while being abandoned by one’s country.
The next critical theme is the desperate social situation during the Great Depression. The 1930s were crucial for America, and Stainback wrote Of Mice and Men when he was involved in social and economic problems (Study Guide, 2015). However, he emphasizes that women and black people got affected by the Great Depression the most, which is respectively embodied in the characters of Curley’s wife and Crooks. Although, as Heavilin (2018, p. 25) admits, gender issues in Of Mice and Men might only be spotted by a careful reader. Overall, sexism and racism are the results of a problematic social environment.
Of Mice and Men is an excellent book in many ways. It perfectly reflects the atmosphere that prevailed in America during the Great Depression. Each character in this story is a part of a big puzzle to a disruptive picture of the destroyed state. After reading this story, I had a strong feeling that the death at the end was nobody’s fault. All these people were products of their time. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a realistic depiction of the situation in America during the 1930s.
To conclude, Of Mice and Men is a depiction of difficult life in the period of economic stagnation, which leaves a visible trail in every single person. The author pointed out all the negative social aspects that existed in the working class and emphasized the value of true friendship. On the whole, this novel goes beyond the narrative on its surface as it explores the deeper social issues, which are unnoticed by the people whose basic needs are not met.
Heavilin, B. (2018) ‘“The [wall] of background”: the cultural, political, and literary contexts of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men’, The Steinbeck Review, 15(1), pp.13-25.
Steinbeck, J. (2003) Of mice and men. London: Longman Publishing Group.
Study guide for John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (2015) Gale, Cengage Learning.
Vyas, H. (2019) ‘The idea of post-war America in the selected novels by Steinbeck and Dos Pasos’, A Global Journal of Humanities, 2(1), pp.182-185.
Of Mice and Men: The next chapter
The brisk autumn breeze swirled the brown and crisp leaves in the same old pattern. George felt he had seen this all too many times. He needed a change.
“But how?” he said quietly to himself while he sat alone in the bunk house. He heard an uproar outside and muffled his ears with his hands. He didn’t want to hear anybody or anything. Slim came striding in. “Those guys are fighting again over money. Is that the on’y that matters at this ranch?” George just lay on his bed with his eyes closed and his hands over his ears.
Slim sensed George’s remorse. “George, you hadda’ do it. There was no other way. If you hadnta’ done it, Curley wouldda’”
“I know” George mumbled
“I admire your courage, George!” Slim said as he patted him on the stomach and got up. “You comin’ to town tonight?”
“no” was all George could manage to say as he was holding his tears back so well that nobody would have known he even had a tear in his body.
Slim just nodded his head once and left the room.
As the door slammed shut the uproar began again when the rest of the ranch workers tried to ask Slim for advice. The noise seemed to move away. It sounded like they were following Slim as he tried to escape their company. George just lay on his bed, still, alone and silent as one tear lined his dirty face. George closed his tired eyes and prayed for sleep. His prayer was answered with a nightmare. George was in a glass box, and Lennie was hunched over in a ball on the other side of what looked like a large pond. The box kept shrinking and shrinking and shrinking until George couldn’t breathe anymore and with on dying breath his eyes opened to find himself surrounded by ranch workers all talking. Slim pulled me out of the bunkhouse in a hurry, grabbing me by my elbow.
“George, what are you doing?!”
“What’d I do, Slim?”
“You was shoutin’ in your sleep. About Lennie”
“I can’t control what I do in my sleep!”
“Well, you’re gonna hafta learn!!!” cried Slim as he stormed off into the abyss of the field facing the bunkhouse.
George thought of his options. He could either; train himself to keep silent in his sleep, or, the option that he had been thinking about quite seriously; leaving the ranch. He decided that very moment that he really only had one option. He wasn’t happy in the ranch at all, and it was reminding too much of Lennie. He needed out!
So that night in the dead of night, he packed his things silently and got up to leave. As he opened the door he heard somebody waking up and then realised it was just Carlson turning over. He stood in the door way creating a breath-taking silhouette of him looking out at the moons glow. He set of on his journey north. He had a picture in his head of what he was going to do. He was going to travel north for as long as his legs could carry him and when he could not go anymore, that’s where he would find his true life’s work. He had convinced himself that his theory will see him through. So he started on the dirt path with a sign post saying; San Francisco. In his head he thought that from there he would try and find a way to get to New York. Where he would fulfil his dreams, or so he thought.
In the end he got to San Francisco. And stayed in San Francisco, where he met Robin. She was standing on the beach. She says she was listening to the waves. The two of them sat on that beach for hours and talked. George learnt that her husband had died in a fight with the town’s bad boy. He was shot. She had never found anybody else to love after that. And George poured his heart and soul out to her.
Over the next few months he began to grow a trusting friendship with this girl. George asked her out. She agreed. This dating went on for over a year. And on the anniversary of Lennie, George proposed to Robin. She said yes right away. George told her that there might be a bit of a wait before they got married because he didn’t have enough money as he was working on a little cottage out in the country which he and Robin would move into in a few weeks.
George felt like he had it all. All in this one girl, he loved. And he truly loved her, with all his heart. One day they went of to a nearby field to have a picnic. Robin stood up and said;
“George hunny? I think…..Well…..I think I might be, well…..Pregnant!” with glee!
George’s face lit up with happiness and he jumped up and took her hand.
“we must go to the doctors now and get you check out” he said with a grin.
They went to the local doctor and it was confirmed. George was going to be a daddy! He rushed home with his soon-to-be-wife and started to plan their small white wedding. They made each decision together, carefully! Their wedding would take place in the summer in a little church just outside of the town they lived in. George was talking about invitations;
“We gotta invite my old friend Slim, and Le-…….” The mood dampened and George hung his head, and Robin walked over and hugged George tight around his shoulders.
“It’ll be fine. He will be there.” She said in a low comforting voice.
Days went by and the wedding past and Robin’s due date was approaching. When she started contracting George got frightened and went into panic mode. He brought her to the front room and closed the dusty curtains and told her to breathe as a miracle took place, the miracle of life.
“What’ll we call it darlin’?”
“Can we call it…?”
“Lennie!” They both said at the same time with the same amount of glee as the each other. And it was settled. So little Lennie grew up with the most loving family in the whole world!
Analysis Of “of Mice And Men”
An analysis of John Steinbeck’s novel, “Of Mice and Men”.
“Of Mice and Men” OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck first takes place a few miles south of Soledad. There were two men by the names of George and Lennie who became life long partners. George thought Lennie needed support because Lennie was mentally retarded. Later, George and Lennie moved to a ranch nearby Soledad. George and Lennie got into trouble a few miles south of Soledad in a town called Weed.
The men were hiding out along a river called Salinas, across from the Gabililan mountains. Trouble occurred in Weed when Lennie grabbed a hold of a ladies dress, because he was curious about the texture of the fabric. The woman took it the wrong way and became upset and frightened. Curdling screams caused some men to come rushing to the aid of the woman. Lennie then became frightened and ran away. George was such a supportive and understanding friend that he ran away with him.
Running together, the two frightened men hid out in the Salinas River waiting for dusk to come. When dusk arrived, the two men gathered wood and built a fire. Luckily, George had three cans of pork and beans with him in his backpack. They stayed there until morning to start walking again. George told Lennie that he heard of a ranch that was four miles ahead of them and they could get a job there. George told Lennie that if he would get into trouble at the ranch, that he should come back and hide in the bush. Sunrise had came and the two men began their walk to the ranch. When George and Lennie arrived, they saw a huge long rectangular building where the bunks were inside, the walls were white and the floor was wood. The old swamper showed Lennie and George to their assigned bunks. While George and Lennie were getting settled in, a stocky man stood in the doorway. He had on blue jeans, a flannel shirt, a vest, a coat, boots and spurs. George and Lennie quickly knew that the man in the doorway was their boss. With a deep voice, the boss asked, “You got your workslips?” George quickly reached in his pocket and pulled out their slips and handed them to the boss. The boss then told them to go out after dinner and help out with the team by picking up barley at the threshing machine. After the boss left, the old swamper came in with his broom in his hand, and was followed by an old sheep dog with blind eyes and struggling just to get to the other side of the room. Suddenly, a young man with dark curly hair came into the room wearing high heeled boots and spurs on them. It was the boss’s son, named Curley. After Curley left, a girl with large lips, beautiful sparkling eyes, and red fingernails appeared in the doorway. She said, “I’m looking for Curley”, but, all the guys just stood there and admired her except George. He turned his head and said, “He was in here a minute ago, but he went.” Slim and Carlson began to talk, and Carlson asked Slim if his female dog had her pups. Carlson thought that Slim could give up one of his pups so he could give a pup to Candy the old Swamper and get rid of Candy’s dog. The poor dog smelled, could barely see, and had trouble walking without pain. Later that night, when Candy was lying in bed, Carlson asked, “Do you want me to put the old devil out of his misery right now, Candy?” Making excuses Candy said, “You ain’t got no gun.” Then Calrlson told Candy that he does have a Luger. Candy sure didn’t know what to think or what to say, so he gently said, “Oh, maybe tomorrow.” As the night went on, Candy finally told Carlson to take the puppy. Curley came flinging open the door as he walked inside. The boys knew there was going to be trouble. Lennie began laughing at something Candy said to Curley. Curley then got angry and raged at Lennie for laughing and told him to get up and fight like a man. Lennie wouldn’t hurt a fly on purpose. So he just stood up and stared at him. Curley was a small statured man, but he went ahead and took a swing at Lennie and broke his nose. While all of this was taking place, George was yelling, “Get him Lennie! Get him!” So Lennie took it upon himself to do what was right and when Curley took the second swing, Lennie grabbed his hand and then Curley hit the ground, whining like a baby. The other men immediately took Curley to the hospital because his hand was crushed. George promised Lennie that he would get him a pup when they got to the ranch. Slim gave Lennie one of his and was so excited that he finally got to have a pup of his own. Every night Lennie would go out and lay by his little pup and stroke him. Slim told Lennie that if he wasn’t careful, he would kill the little puppy because he was handling him too much. It happened!…Lennie was playing with his little pup and the puppy began knawing on his hand so Lennie hit him. Lennie didn’t intentionally try to hit him hard , but he did, resulting in his pups death. The pup was kept in the barn where Lennie tried to bury it in the straw. Without Linnie knowing, before him stood Curly’s wife watching him, but not knowing what he was doing. Lennie knew he was not supposed to talk to here because George didn’t want any trouble between Lennie and Curley. She quietly sat down beside him and started talking to him. He told her how and why the pup died. She gently soothed him by telling him the pup was only a mutt and it wasn’t anything to worry about. Lennie then started to talk about how a nice lady gave him a piece of velvet to touch and feel, but he lost it. Curley’s wife told Lennie he could touch her hair. She told him the reason why her hair was so soft was because she brushed it so much. Lennie then gently put his hand on her head to touch her hair. he began to stroke it. He liked her hair so much that he stroked it harder and harder, until she yelled for him to stop. She flung her head to the side and he still kept touching her hair. She screamed out with fear until Lennie put his hand over her mouth and nose. “Please don’t do that!”, Lennie begged. She flopped and turned like a fish when he shook her. There was no movement coming from her. Lennie softly removed his hand and told her he didn’t want to hurt her, but if she yelled George would be mad. After she was quiet, Lennie picked up her arm and let it drop. He knew he had done something very bad. Lennie quickly covered up what he could of her body with hay. He heard people outside of the barn playing games, so he crept around the other side of the manger and disappeared silently. looking for Lennie, Candy called out, “Lennie, Oh Lennie”. Candy turned around and saw Curly’s dead wife. Candy ran to George and told him about her. George knew deep down in his heart that Lennie killed her. George knew what he had to do. Dandy and George went and told the guys the horrible news. Curley immediately said, “I’ll kill the big guy myself.” Carlson ran to get his Luger, but to find out it was already gone. Suspiciously, Curley accused Lennie of taking it for protection. George knew where he disappeared. George silently left the group of mean and went to where Lennie was hiding. he saw Linnie sitting beside the Salinas river where George told him to be if he got into any trouble. George went down and sat down beside Linnie and told him that they will get a home in the country, and they would get to tend the rabbits, chickens, and do chores together. Lennie was so excited to hear that George would still let him tend to the rabbits. In a distance George heard the screaming and yelling of the pack of men. Closer and closer the screams grew. George became tense as the men came closer. George was the one who took the luger. He pulled it out of his coat and held it behind him back. George shivered and looked at the gun as he brought it from around his back and raised it up to Lennie’s head. Voices became louder, footsteps groe closer, George knew what he had to do. Sadly, George pulled the trigger on someone he cared for very deeply. He backed away as the men approached. Carlson asked how he killed him and George responded he that Lennie had his gun, that he had tried to take it away from Lennie, and the gun went off and shot him. The irony of this story happens when George unexpectedly took Carlson’s gun. Not only taking his gun, George shot Lennie. you would not think that a friend would kill another friend. Possible, George was only helping Lennie out. Therefore, the most ironic situation was when he killed his own best friend. The theme of this book is, if a friend is true then one will stick by each other through good times and bad times. George was a true friend. he displayed his friendship by risking his own life to help when Lennie was in trouble. Also, George let Lennie know that he was never man at him though all that took place that day. The only reason why George shot Lennie himself was because he wanted to make the punishment less severe than it would have been if the men found Lennie first. My evaluation of this book is that I thought it had a nice theme. I believe the book could of been better if it did not use so much profanity. The overall book was above average. I would recommend this to junior high school students as a group reading project, and the principal authorizes it. John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, Monterey County, California. He was an American author, who won the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature. Steinbeck’s best known fiction tells about the struggles of poor people. His most famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath (1939) won the 1940 Pulitzer prize. The novel tells the story of the Joads, a poor Oklahoma farming family, who migrated to California in search of better life during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Steinbeck adequately demonstrated how the struggles of a family reflected the hardship of the entire nation. Through the labor the organizer, Jim Casy, taught the Joads that the poor must work together in order to survive. Steinbeck set much of his fiction in and around his birthplace of Salinas, California. His first novel, Cup of Gold (1929), is based on the life of Sir Henry Morgan, a famous English pirate of the 1600’s. Steinbeck’s next work, The Pastures of Heaven (1932), is a collection of stories about people in a farm community near Salinas. In this work, Steinbeck focused on the struggles between human beings and nature. Of Mice and Men (1937) is a short novel that Steinbeck made into a popular play in 1937. It is a tragic story about a physically powerful man, but mentally retarded farm worker and his best friend and protector. I found this information in The World Book Encyclopedia So-Sz.
Of Mice and Men Chapter Analysis
In chapter four of the story “Of Mice and Men” we are immediately introduced to Crooks. Through the great detailed description given by Steinbeck the reader can learn many things about Crooks’ character. Crooks’ name itself suggests that there is something physically wrong with him. His physical disability is one of the many ways that he suffers on the ranch. He is not shown much in the first three chapters and this indicates his position in society as very low because he is not noticed, and therefore is not important.
However, unlike the other characters in the story, he is the only African American worker on the ranch.
Initially, Crooks was forced to live separately from the other workers in “a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn” implying to the fact that he was treated like an animal, as a barn is a place where animals live. This clearly shows that he was treated with inequality by the other men.
Due to the colour of his skin Crooks was enforced to live on his own alongside the animals. The fact that he had “his bunk in the harness room” suggests that his living conditions were not of the best quality as Crooks was a victim of racism, reinforcing once again Crooks’ inferior status.
Furthermore, Crooks’ possessions reveal significant information about his character as the “mauled copy of the California Civil Code for 1905” emphasises his loneliness and his awareness of his rights even though he doesn’t have many of them. The book is the only object that gives him dignity, pride and self-respect as 1905 was the year when African Americans were treated equally as whites. Crooks accepts the fact that whites and blacks could not mix as he lives in a racist society.
Additionally, his lower status is reinforced again as the “range of medicine bottles, both for himself and for the horses” were placed together highlighting the point that he is treated equally as the animals. Crooks is aware of his low status and knows weather or not the medicines are placed together, this will not make any difference as he will always be a victim of racial discrimination. He decided that he was no different to the horses so he placed both his and the horses medicines together. Also, we as the reader learn that Crooks is a very lonely man as it is frequently repeated of him “being alone”. However, it could be said that this isolation was generated by the racism in his society.
As we read further into chapter four we realise that Crooks is a skilled tradesman as he had “a little bench for leather-working tools” showing his skills are sought after and makes him more permanent where he decides to work. This also indicates to us that he has no personal space due to the racial inequality during this time as he was required to use his room as a working area.
Moreover, Crooks possessed “a tattered dictionary” and “a pair of large gold-rimmed spectacles” revealing to the reader that he reads a lot and is literate. This suggests that he is a very intelligent and a well educated man as during this time not many people could read.
Through out this key chapter it is frequently reminded to us that Crooks was a victim of racism in America during the 1930’s as “he kept his distance and demanded that other people kept theirs.” From this we can determine that he is a very secluded man and he likes his privacy, however we also learn later on that he is very lonely. It is also self evident that he has been hurt deeply by other people’s rejections so therefore rejects others. Living in a harsh environment makes Crooks generate defensiveness and the desire to protect himself from the racial prejudice and inequality towards him by the other workers.
As the reader we learn that Crook is a proud aloof man as his “room was swept and fairly neat” reinforcing the fact that Crooks is proud of his colour despite living in a racist society. Despite being a poor worker Crooks still manages to keep his room clean and tidy. In addition, his “black wrinkles” and “pain-tightened lips” portray a sense of long and deep suffering that Crooks has experienced. The racist environment in which he lives in may have been the cause for such pain. This also reveals to us that not only does Crooks suffer pain on the outside but also he feels dejected and isolated inside causing him to suffer emotionally.
Overall, in the novel “Of Mice and Men” Crooks is a stable back segregated from the rest of the men on the ranch because of the fact that he is black and perhaps because he is a cripple. It becomes clearly obvious to the reader of life in America during the 1930’s and the racial discrimination at this time. Also due to the detailed description given by the author we are able to put ourselves in this character’s position and see how hard life was for him on the ranch and have empathy towards him.