Of Mice and Men

Topics: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Great Depression Pages: 5 (2071 words) Published: October 25, 2012
The novel Of Mice and Men was written by John Steinbeck in 1937, a time in which the world was plagued with poverty, because of the great depression. The novel is more than just the tragedy of Lennie; it shows the despondence and suffering of many characters in a harsh world- a world that is battling with the aforementioned great depression. It is an extremely hard-hitting novel that has a deep emotional affect on its reader due to the many characters who suffer deeply.It expels all fantasy and gives a very harsh but true depiction of the time it was set, a time that involved the survival of the fittest, and no social welfare support. The most prominent tragedy in Of Mice and Men is that of Lennie, but the novel also entails the suffering of many other characters, a suffering that is mostly drawn from the hierarchal nature of society at that time. Sexism, racism, disabilities and poverty are all issues Steinbeck addresses through characters who represent certain groups in society. George, Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife are all characters, who, by use of such ideas, have shown to have suffered. Steinbeck has also used the narrative conventions of characterisation, setting, plot structure, mood and symbolism to outline the fact that people suffer in many different ways for many different reasons, and at this point in time particularly, suffering was common. This draws an emotional response from the reader, while also giving us while also giving us an understanding of what life was like at the time. One of the greatest tragedies of this novel is that of George. George’s deep connection to Lennie, emphasised through the theme of Friendship, means that when Lennie’s life is ended, George suffers the most, especially since he is the one who has to end his dearest friends life. His deep deep unhappiness and suffering is emphasised through the conventions of characterisation and plot structure. Georges character is very protective of Lennie, while also being slightly dependent on him, as a friend. George is a parental figure to Lennie, which exemplifies Lennie’s childlike qualities. This is shown in the exposition of the novel, when George sees that Lennie is carrying a dead mouse around, and says to him “Gimme’ that mouse Lennie”, and takes his mouse from him. George doesn't do it for “Meanness” as he explains, but only wants to help and protect Lennie. They share a string bond as a result. George also sees Lennie as a friend though, and someone he can rely on and talk to, which fits in with another prominent theme in the novel, loneliness. George says to Lennie “(most) Guys like us are the loneliest guys in the world...with us it ‘aint like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us.” This shows just how much George and Lennie need each other. George is not, however, always happy with Lennie. At times he can be extremely frustrating to George, especially when he does bad things. In the exposition of the novel, George says “God almighty, if i was alone i could live so easy. I could get a job an’ work alone, an’ no trouble. No mess at all.” This shows how Lennies behavior can affect George, but also makes the fact that George sticks with Lennie all the more extraordinary, as we see how much they really mean to each other. As the novel progresses and leads up to the climax, we see George still caring for Lennie and trying to keep him out of trouble. In the climax, Lennie kills Curleys wife. As this happens, we know immediately it will mean suffering for Lennie, and definitely George. Lennie goes to “Hide in the brush” as George told him to if he got in trouble. The other men hunt Lennie, but George finds him first. The Novels resolution begins here. It is very emotional, and also holds great significance, as it is almost exactly the same as the exposition of the novel. We know of Georges true suffering, and the pain that his action causes him, when we see that he is not angry at Lennie as he is in the...
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