Of Mice And Men Essay

1014 words - 4 pages

John Steinbeck's novel, Of Mice and Men, was first published in 1937. Set in 1930's California, the story follows the lives of two migrant workers and accurately portrays the hardships of life in the era. The novel tells the story of George and Lennie, two men who have been brought up together after the death of Lennie's elderly aunt Clara. Lennie and George have a dream of owning a farm one day and continually move from place to place to make that dream a reality. Underlining this story line is the novels main theme of friendship, which the author uses to position readers to respond in a particular way. Steinbeck makes remarkable use of generic conventions in his portrayal of friendship, accurately showing how the relationships between characters help keep them sane. Steinbeck achieves this through the use of generic conventions; setting, characterisation and conflict.Narrative conventions are designed to make the reader feel or respond in a particular way. These dramatic techniques highlight the actions within a novel and project the meaning the author is attempting to get across. The main core of a novel is the conflict. In the novella Of mice and men, Steinbeck has utilized the generic convention of conflict to accent his idea of friendship. The conflict between Lennie and Curley when Lennie had killed Curley's wife showed the friendship between George and Lennie. George decided to kill Lennie so that Lennie would die without knowing the damage he had caused instead of being possibly tortured and dying with the knowledge of it. George told Lennie his story about their dream and shot him in the back of the head without knowing so Lennie died happily. George, ironically, saved his friend from being harmed more than necessary. Steinbeck uses this friendship to position readers to feel sympathetic towards George and Lennie. The author utilizes the sacrifice that George gave to save Lennie and destroy his dream along with it, to really display the true extent and the core of friendship; sacrificing everything for the benefit of the other. This ultimately invoked a reader response of sympathy and admiration for the extent of friendship on George's part and his willingness to uphold it.The setting is the time and location the story takes place in. The novella, Of Mice and Men is set in 1930's California. In October 1929 the U.S. stock market crashed, sparking the Great Depression. Banks collapsed. Businesses closed. By 1933, a quarter of the population was unemployed. Then environmental catastrophe struck as well. From 1930 to 1936, severe drought plagued the Great Plains of the American Midwest, which at the time were mostly farmland. The drought killed crops, and with no plants to hold down the soil, the dry dirt swirled up into suffocating dust storms when the winds kicked in. The entire region became known as the Dust Bowl. Steinbeck uses this situation to develop the friendship of George and Lennie. At the time of the Great depression many...

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