Of Mice and Men Characters Review
John Stienbeck was born in California in 1902. He went to University but could not afford to stay. After he left University he needed money to live so he done many jobs such as Waiter, Broke horses for the Army and he was also a Ranch Hand. In the end he wanted to be a writer so that he could highlight the conditions of the poor in America.
In the 1930’s America was suffering from depression. The change of climate in America meant that a lot of farming land was destroyed so farm owners employed migrant workers, which were paid very low wages and kept in very poor conditions.
People were only employed when there was work on the farm. Most of the workers were solitary people with no homes or families.
Loneliness plays a big part in this story. Stienbeck uses two main words in this story, Soledad and Solitaire. He uses these words because they both have something in common with loneliness.
Solitaire is a one-player card game that all the ranch hands played. Soledad is the name of the main town in the story, the name means Lonely in Spanish. Throughout the story George always uses the quote “guys like us are the loneliest guys in the world”.
Candy is one of the lonely people in this story. He is old and disabled because he has only got one hand, this was due to an accident with a machine on the farm. Candy’s job is a swamper. A swamper is basically a cleaner, he tidies up the ranch. He does this job because no one else was prepared to do it, and because he is old and he needs money and somewhere to live. Candy will be doing this job until he cannot work no more due to his age, which will be very soon.
Candy had a dog. The dog was old, smelly and on it’s way to the grave. The dog had no teeth so it could not eat and was very much like Candy. The dog was shot and Candy feels this will happen to him when he cannot work anymore.
George has a travelling companion called Lennie, George and Lennie’s dream is to own a ranch. George tells Candy about his dream of owning the ranch. This changes Candy’s life because Candy believes that they will own a ranch of their own and be able to do what they want.
He now had hope for the future and that he would live with his friends and have security and would die a happy man.
Candy works for Curley who has a wife. Curley’s wife is killed by Lennie. When Candy finds Curley’s wife laying on the floor, he gets very angry and start swearing at her saying that she had ruined his life forever because Lennie will now be killed by Curley and this will mean that they will not be able to own their own ranch. When all the ranch workers leave Candy feels sorry for Curley’s wife because she was lonely and was never able to go out anywhere and needed someone to talk. Candy says “poor bastard” because he feels sorry for her.
Candy’s future now has been ruined because he is too old to work at the ranch and he will soon be sacked and will probably die a homeless man.
Candy was put in the story to add a bit of variety among the characters.
Crooks is another lonely person in the story. He is a coloured man living in a racist society and he is also disabled. His job is a Stable Buck, this is someone who looks after the horses and cleans out the stables.
Crooks is treated very badly by the other ranch hands because he is coloured and the ranch hands are white. He is not allowed to go into the bunk house and he is not allowed to join in activities they do. They also make him sleep in the stable with the horses. Crooks has a very bad life in the story because he just stays in the stable and does not get to socialise with the other ranch hands.
His room is just a small area in the stables with all his possession over the floor in his room unlike the ranch hands who have small boxes over their beds for their possessions. Crooks has many possessions such as magazines, a hairbrush, a flannel, soap and other small personal items. This shows that he is a very clean man and he taught himself how to read and write.
When Lennie enters into Crooks’ room he acts very violently at first. Crooks says, “you got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me”, later in the conversation Crooks starts confusing Lennie by saying things like “s’pose George don’t come back no more. S’pose he took a powder and just ain’t coming back. What’ll you do then.” This starts to upset Lennie. Crooks tells Lennie about his childhood. His childhood was remembered as him playing with white children when there was no racism in America, but his dad hated him playing with white children because in the end the white children would grow up hating black people.
Crooks only has one dream in life and this is to live in a non-racist society, like when he was a child playing with the white children. When Lennie tells Crooks about his dream about the ranch, Crooks says “you’r nuts. I see hundreds of men come by on the road and on the ranch with their bindles on their backs and that same damn thing in their heads. Nobody never gets to heaven and nobody never gets no land, it’s just in their head.”
When Curley’s wife entered Crooks room he reacted in a very angry way because he did not like her. She always insulted them and Crooks had had enough of this, he says, “I had enough. You got no right coming in a coloured man’s room.” Even after saying this Curley’s wife threatened him, then Crooks just backed away and went silent. Now he has no future because he will just be living in a racist society, scared and lonely.
I think Crooks was put in this novel to add a glimpse of racism in society.
Curley’s wife is one of the loneliest people in this story. She wears long dresses, has long blonde hair, would always have her fingernails painted and would always eye up the ranch hands. This shows us that she is a slut. She does not have a name in this story because she does not have any independence and she is owned by Curley.
Curley’s wife is lonely because she has no one to talk to because Curley is always too busy, he has no time for her, every week he goes to the whorehouse, she does not love him and he does not love her. Curley treats her very badly; he has no respect for her. Her life on the ranch is very bad because she just stays at the ranch with no one to talk to.
Most of the time she goes around the ranch looking for Curley but she is not really looking for him she just wants to chat to people. She had no respect from anyone, just like all women in the 1930’s. The only reason she married Curley was to get away from her mum because her mum did not let her do her own thing. Curley’s wife’s dream was to get away from the ranch and be in the pictures or theatre. She once had the chance to do this but her mum stopped her going.
In the end loneliness kills Curley’s wife because as she had no one to talk to so she decided to talk to Lennie and this is what caused her death.
I think Curley’s wife was put in this novel to add a woman in the story as she was the only one in the story.
The American Dream
The American Dream meant a better life for George, Lennie and Candy because they would live on their own ranch and not have anything to worry about. The dream would also mean companionship for Candy because he would not be lonely anymore because he would have George and Lennie to be with. In the end no one’s dreams come true because loneliness ruins their lives. Loneliness kills Curley’s wife, it gives Candy no future or security and for Crooks it gives him no hope because he will always be living in a racist society.
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