The Conclusions In John Steinbeck's "Of Mice And Men" Are Inherent In Its Introductions Discuss

1327 words - 5 pages

The structure and style of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men contribute to the conclusions which can be drawn from this novel, and this can be seen particularly in the novel's introductions, where it can be seen that the conclusions drawn are inherent. Two introductions in particular express the novel's conclusions: the introduction to the bunk house and its inhabitants, and the introduction to a death on the ranch, where conclusions about identity, loneliness, hope, and the inevitability of the failure of the American Dream during the Depression years are reflected. One conclusion which is implicitly expressed in Of Mice and Men's introductions is that of the significance of a job in a person's identity. This is particularly significance in the this Depression novel as during the Depression, the average American was identified not by their name but by the service they did to the country, and that meant what job they did. This can be seen several times during our introduction to the inhabitants of the ranch. On page twenty one we see the first reference to Crooks, who remains unnamed until later on: "The stable buck's a nigger". This is a reference to his job, which gives him identity as the stable buck, even though unnamed at this point. This is also true of the boss, who remains nameless throughout the novel - his job is what gives him an identity "The boss stepped into the room" page twenty two. On page twenty five, Candy, unnamed at this point, is referred to as "the swamper" and this shows again that job gives one identity. The most explicit example of a role giving one identity in the novel is Curley's wife, who remains unnamed throughout the novel, like the boss, and it is clear that she had no identity before her marriage to Curley: she may have hoped, that by the marriage and gaining a form of identity she may achieve her dream of going to Hollywood. However, it is in Slim that we see that a job can give you not only identity, but also authority. Slim receives the longest description of any character in the novel (page thirty four/thirty five) and most of this passage describes his job. He is a "jerkline skinner" and was capable of "driving...20 mules in a single line" and "killing a fly...the mule" and these show that Slim's authority is gained not only by the "majesty" in which he walked, but also because he was a valued worker and he had mastered his job, which was stable, unlike the other drifting ranch hands. Therefore, we can see that identity and authority in Of Mice and Men's introductions reflects not only the conclusions of the novel but also the lifestyle of Americans during the Depression. A conclusion about solitude can be drawn from the passages, that is, that people become "mean" or unhappy when they are alone, and this is relevant to this novel as George and Lennie are the only ones in the novel, apart from Candy and his dog, with a companion and this means that they are different from others and they...

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