The Title Is Empathy, And It Talks About How Different Characters And Alleviate Empathy From The Readers. The Conclusion Sums Up How Empathy Can Be Attained, And How It Can Ideally Be Doled Out.

2073 words - 8 pages

Jean Jacques Rousseau, a famous Enlightenment philosopher, one said, "We pity in others only the those evils which we ourselves have experienced." We as humans inevitably feel empathy towards people who have realistic fears and realistic hopes. We can understand the pain they feel because we have gone through it too. In the riveting novella, Of Mice and Men¸ John Steinbeck creates extremely realistic characters who reflect people we see in our everyday world. The characters have the same fears and suffer the same pains, and thus, we can sympathize with them. The two main characters, George and Lennie, live during the Great Depression and wander around looking for ranch work, but when they finally find a ranch, they meet many different kinds of people. These various characters all have their own quirks, but the amount of empathy they receive from the reader varies based on the actions they take. Curley's insecurities achieve no empathy from the reader. Candy's fear achieves immense amounts of empathy. And lastly, George's actions and motivations lead to a very unexpected twist. Throughout the novel, George, Candy, and Curley each have insecurities, motivations, and dreams, and while they may share certain human frailties, they are not all equally successful at achieving empathy and support from the reader.Curley's dreams are powered by his inner motivation of insecurity; however, he is extremely unsuccessful in attaining the reader's empathy. Curley is a boxer who is more diminutive in stature than most men. Because of this, he is not content with his size. Thus, he picks on people bigger than himself to prove his strength, "'Curley's pretty handy…Curley's like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He's alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he's mad at 'em because he ain't a big guy'" (26). He dreams of being able to assert his authority and superiority and thus assuage his insecurity, and because of this, he feels the need to over establish his strength and superiority in order to gain respect. Of course, the type of respect he gains from people is not admirable because he obtains it via cruelty. His cruelty is not surprising since Curley's name is already a connotation for evil. Curley is similar to the word cruel, but slightly rearranged. And cruel he is, as Curley shows no mercy to anyone, even the developmentally delayed, "Curley was balanced and poised. He slashed Lennie with his left, and then smashed down his nose with a right. Lennie gave a cry of terror. Blood welled from his nose" (63). In this quote, Curley catches Lennie laughing at something. Being the self-centered bully he is, Curley accuses Lennie of laughing at him. Lennie of course, is in his own world and is completely oblivious to what is happening. Curley takes this oblivious, childlike state of mind and attempts to crush it. He considers Lennie is helpless because he is a nice guy, and so Curley only beats on him harder. Beating up a man twice...

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