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Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck

2312 words - 9 pages

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Without much doubt, reading the novel 'Of Mice and Men' does not prove
to be a positive story. Its main input is sadness whether through
loneliness or unhappiness in the hearts of the characters in the
general social and economic environment of the time. The social
context of the story is destined for loneliness as the novel was set
in the times of 'Depression'-times where employment proved to be
difficult. As a result many were affected by poverty and loneliness as
many moved constantly in search of work. Furthermore, the setting of
the story Soledad is short for the town's full name, 'Nuestra senora
de Soledad' which means 'our Lady of Loneliness'.

Steinbeck portrays the main characters in the story as people who face
challenges of the depression. He examines such themes of American
culture as dreams, loneliness and racism. Characters chosen to evoke
such themes are usually the outcasts within the novel- Lennie, Candy,
Curley's wife and Crooks.

For such a novel portrayed in utter sadness and sorrow, Steinbeck
chooses to start it with hopefulness and optimism "On the valley side
the water is lined with trees-willows fresh and green with every
spring." Presumably, this is doneto add greater misery when things
begin to go wrong as 'not all things beginning peacefully will end
peacefully'. The first impressions about George and Lennie put doubts
about whether the novel will remain as such a bright and hopeful story
"For a moment the place was lifeless, and then two men emerged from
the path". Having read the story, the novel starts with these scenes
of optimism though gradually it turns into an upsetting story. It is
put into greater effect with small hints of hopefulness which seems to
be lost as almost undoubtedly sorrow will follow.

Critically, Lennie seems to be the most misunderstood character in the
novel. He is prejudiced as being 'mentally retarded' due to his
reliance upon his companion, George. He seems to be oblivious to any
form of society he enters, and it's up to George to guide him.
Lennie's constant tendency to get into trouble is examined by George
"Like you always done before." The pre-eminent example is the incident
in Weed which we find out from George and Slim's conversation. George
explains Lennie's 'love' to "touch ever'thing he likes." George
describes how Lennie reached to feel the 'red dress' and as a result
the lady "squawks." In panicking the only thing which Lennie can do is
to hold on "'cause that's the only thing he can think to do." Due to
this, the woman accuses him of rape and the so the workers immediately
hunt down for him. The writer creates great sympathy for Lennie, he is
misunderstood by people in society as they do not realise his mental
capability.

Of Mice and Men Essay

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