“Hey That’s How we Talk!”; The Impact of Realism on the Reader in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men
Realism, how does this element of literature make the reader feel like they can connect to the situations that the characters encounter throughout the story? Of Mice of Men, written by John Steinbeck, is the story of two struggling migrant workers named Lennie and George. These two work on a California ranch where they continuously fantasise about owning a home where no one can tell them what to do or tell them to leave. However, this goal is impossible to reach for the reason that Lennie is unable to handle a majority of situations. Of Mice and Men uses elements of Realism by capturing the dialogue the characters actually used, placing the characters in situations that could actually happen to the average person, and forcing characters to make complicated decisions based on the situations they encounter.
Of Mice and Men takes place in the 1930’s. John Steinbeck does a wonderful job of incorporating the dialogue that people actually used in that time period. There are many instances in which the author displays the conversations that the people of the 1930’s had. For example, George tells Lennie how easy his life would be if Lennie was not around. He says “Whatever we ain't got, that's what you want. God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want” (11-12). From this the reader can conclude that the characters tend to slur words together to make speech flow at a quicker rate. They also have a habit of leaving articles out of their speech, such as “the.” In chapter four, Crooks explains to Lennie the situations he faces because of the color of his skin. He states:
S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunk house and play rummy 'cause you was black. How'd you like that? S'pose you had to sit out here an' read books. Sure you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody - to be near him. A guy 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, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick. (80)
Once again the character slurs words together to improve the speed of the speech. Both of these examples give accurate illustrations of the way people spoke back then, and also shows elements of how people speak today.
In the novel, characters are thrown into realistic situations that can be applied to the real world. For instance, George and Lennie are forced to travel from place to place in order to find work. George explains the difficulties of the working man. He states, “ If I was bright, if I was even a little bit smart, I'd have my own little place, an' I'd be bringin' in my own crops, 'stead of doin' all the work and not...