Symbolism Of The Ranch In John Steinbeck´S Of Mice And Men

1259 words - 6 pages

Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, on the 27th February and died in New York City, on the 20th December. He spent his high school summers working on nearby ranches. There, he became aware of the harsher aspects of migrant life and the darker side of human nature, which him with material expressed in such works as Of Mice and Men; Of Mice and Men was critically acclaimed but, the Nobel prize citation called it a little masterpiece, the issue I will be focusing on is how Steinbeck presents the ranch as a harsh and violent place.

Firstly, Steinbeck tells us that George and Lennie were 'run-outta weed' as Lennie wanted to ' feel that girls dress'. Steinbeck uses a sense of foreshadowing here when George reveals, 'how the hell did you know you jus' wanted to feel her dress?'' which suggests that perhaps later he will do something inappropriate but will be unaware that what his is doing is wrong. Furthermore, the use of the word 'anguished' to describe Lennie's face suggests that Lennie knows George is angry with him because Lennie keeps George in hot water all the time.

Carlson is the most arrogant of the men, and the least sensitive to the feelings of others. Though he argues that it would be more humane to put Candy's old dog down, stressing that "he's all stiff with rheumatism...he ain't no good to you, shoot him...why he'd never know what hit him", Carlson can see that the dog has served its usefulness, and is not living any kind of life. He is also aware that the dog is a burden who impinges on the quality of the men's lives The dog is very much symbolic of Lennie to George, a faithful but terrible burden. Carlson's motives are actually selfish. Carlson wants the dog gone because it;s smell offends him; he has no sense of how Candy loves the dog, and how difficult it is to think of putting him down. The last words in the book belong to Carlson, ''what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?'', it is little surprise it reveals his complete inability to understand George's feelings about the death of Lennie because, after years of working on a ranch and only looking out for himself, Carlson has become mean and he could not even understand why Candy or George would hem and haw about shooting the only friends they ever had.

One of the first symbols in Of Mice and Men is the little spot by the river in ''Gabilan Mountains'' where the story begins and ends. Coming back to the mountains and the acres of land symbolizes how you will always come back to who you were and that you can't escape your destiny no matter how hard you try or what you achieved in the period in between. It's where their dreams came alive and where they ended as well. Steinbeck shows the world of nature to be beautiful and peaceful, but threatened by the actions of men. The beginning of the novel sets this pattern, as the creatures at the pool are disturbed by George and Lennie's approach ''giant sycamore there is...

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