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How Does Characterisation In "Of Mice And Men" Display The Themes And Issues Within The Text? "Of Mice And Men" John Steinbeck

1234 words - 5 pages

The 1930's novel, Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck during the Great Depression, is based on the struggle of life. Whether the life is that of a mouse, or that of a man, the endeavours to dream, hope, and merely exist, still remain. Our engagement with the characters in the novel allows us as a reader to understand particular issues relevant in the text. The characters induce the reader to deal with many universal themes and issues that can be transposed through both time and context such as the theme of hope. Through the character of Lennie, Of Mice and Men deals with the issue, "hope brings happiness", a universal understanding that the reader can engage with and respond to, because of how Lennie exhibits the topic in the text.A major aspect of Lennie's character, which we as a reader can engage with, is his inability to be happy unless he has something to look forward to. Lennie, like most people in today's society, cannot go through his life without some incentive. If you are not working towards a goal, then there is little validity in working hard at anything, for there will be no reward in the end. In Lennie's case he needs to work hard and earn money, in the hope that in the future he and George will own their own piece of land. If Lennie did not have this incentive, he would be less enthusiastic about working so hard. Lennie also has the responsibility to keep himself out of trouble, or George will not allow him to tend the rabbits on the farm, this ultimatum forces Lennie to try his hardest to satisfy George, even though he has little knowledge of the difference between right and wrong.The rabbits and the farm that Lennie and George dream about, are symbols that represent meanings that a reader can relate to and identify with. The farm represents the free life that all farmhands wish for, the dream for freedom and self-sufficiency, a fantasy that in the context of the novel is highly remote. I feel that the farm also represents Heaven, a place you go where you have no worries, fears or problems, and a place where as George says "everything is sweet". The rabbits represent Lennie's ultimate goal, the only reason he works so hard, other than for George, is the incentive of reaching his objectives, to tend the rabbits and "live off the fat o the lan'". The manner in which Lennie contends with the constant struggle to work towards his aspirations, allows the reader to see that without an incentive, or some type of hope in life, a person would be a void of meaning and happiness. Lennie's character engages the reader in such a way that understanding the aspects of his character, such as his incentives, also reciprocates an awareness of the issue that "hope brings happiness".Lennie's innocence is another of the major features in the text, which illustrates how having a dream, can bring happiness to someone. Lennie, as we know is mentally handicapped, and therefore cannot see the world in clear black and white, while George can....

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