John Steinbeck 'of Mice and Men' Settings

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John Steinbeck wrote ‘Of Mice and Men’ to show how hard life was for migrant ranch workers during the time of the Great Depression and how they were often exploited by their employers. In showing how George and Lennie’s dream of owning their own piece of land did not come true, Steinbeck explores a wider theme, criticising the idea of the American Dream. The American Dream tells people that there is ‘opportunity for each... regardless of the fortuitous circumstance of birth and position. Steinbeck criticises this as these ranch workers were given few opportunities. Settings play a very important part in the novel as they pinpoint clear times and places giving a sense of realism to the story, but they are also used to create atmosphere. The Brush is the first setting that John Steinbeck describes and is also the last, which gives a cyclical structure to the novel, suggesting that life never changes but just goes round and round. This is the setting where the two main characters, George and Lennie, are introduced to the reader and then later, where Lennie is killed and the men’s dream is effectively crushed. The Brush’s setting is portrayed as a perfect world that is separate to reality and a place where most people would have liked to have been during the 1930’s. Steinbeck’s character, George, says “Tonight I’m gonna lay right here and look up. I like it.” This is in response to Lennie’s question, “Why ain’t we goin’ on to the ranch and get some supper?” This tells the reader that the Brush is somewhere special and although there is a meal waiting at the ranch, George would rather stay in the Brush as he finds it peaceful and relaxing. He doesn’t feel as much pressure and he feels as if he and Lennie can be themselves. Steinbeck uses this type of atmosphere to set the scene of a perfect place where humans and nature can live in harmony. Steinbeck describes the area around Soledad as fertile and rich. The reader is told that the ‘willows are fresh and green with...
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