How Does Steinbeck Present The Culture Of The Migrant Workers In The Novel "Of Mice And Men"?

1429 words - 6 pages

John Steinbeck was born on 27 February 1902 in Salinas, California. "Of Mice and Men" was published in 1973, it was immediately successful and Steinbeck was beginning to be recognised as an author. The novel is set in Soledad, California and is about two migrant agricultural labourers, George Milton and Lennie Small. The two workers travel together which are unlike most of the other migrants. Lennie has a body of a grown man but a mind of a child and relies on George to look after him. The story progresses at their new working ranch when bad things start to happen and leads to a tragic ending resulting to the lost of lives and the destruction of dreams.Migrant workers were homeless men during the period of 1929 to 1932. When the stock market crashed in America, economic pressure was brought to bear in large landholders. Thirty percent of the country suffered from unemployment and these migrant men decided to leave and journey elsewhere in search of a better life. The migrants are from areas: Oklahoma; Texas; Arkansas; and Missouri, better described as the Dust Bowl. Driven by the Great Depression, drought and dust storms, the men all headed for California in search of work.Although most of these men reached California, they did not stay in one place to settle, as work was very limited and there was competition everywhere. The migrant men had to travel alone to different places to find temporary jobs in ranches. Most of these people did not have their own families and their relatives maybe too far away, most had no friends so they travelled and lived alone only to care for themselves.. This is shown in Of Mice and Men by the loneliness and isolation with some of the workers on the ranch. The men were very isolated and had no time for proper relationships with women. Migrant workers with money usually went to the brothel and spent time there. George and Lennie were different as they had each other.Steinbeck explores the loneliness of the ranch workers. George was not lonely during the novel, as he had Lennie as a companion. He felt lonely afterwards, after the gunshot by the riverside, without his best friend. Lennie was the only character, who was innocent enough not to fear loneliness, but he was completely dependent upon George. This is shown by how angry he gets when brooks suggests that George would not come back to him. Curley's Wife was married to a man she does not love and does not love her, she is the only woman on the ranch which makes her lonely and she also has nothing to do. She tried to befriend the men by constantly showing up in front of them and trying to talk to them. When candy's very old dog was shot by Carlson, candy had nothing left and felt extremely lonely that he wanted to die himself. He delayed killing the dog, even though he knew deep down that it was the best thing to do, as he was scared of loosing his long-time companion. Crooks lived in enforced solitude, away from the other men. He was bitter about being crippled,...

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