Of Mice and Men. Disadvantaged Characters!

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How does Steinbeck present disadvantaged characters?

John Steinbeck’s novel ‘of mice and men’, is set in California during the 1930s. At this point in time was the ‘great depression.’ Steinbeck got the name of the novel from a poem called ‘To a mouse on turning up her nest with a plough.’ There are many reasons why Steinbeck wrote this novel: one is that he was briefly a ranch hand, meaning he had a great comprehension of the difficulties and disadvantages of working on a ranch. Another reason is because Steinbeck writes about realism meaning there was a great interest in the lives of the poor rather than the rich people at this time. All of the characters are disadvantaged because most of them have no lasting friendships and have come from broken up families. The characters I will be presenting as the most disadvantaged are – Lennie, Crooks, Candy and Curley’s Wife.

Steinbeck introduces Lennie into the scene by contrasting him to George. Lennie mimics every move that George does, this immediately suggests that Lennie can’t do things for himself and relies on George as the responsible one. Steinbeck also presents Lennie as a follower rather than a leader. ‘Even in the open one stayed behind the other.’ This again suggests that Lennie relies on George most of the time. It also suggests – early on in the book – that Lennie has a child like mind and can’t think for himself. Steinbeck also describes Lennie as a ‘huge man’ which means he is using irony to link his build and his last name ‘small.’ This suggests that his last name emphasises his massive appearance. He is also described ‘the way a bear drags his paws.’ This suggests to the readers that Lennie has unreal strength which could possibly turn on him, causing drastic consequences later on in the book.

Lennie’s disadvantage is also shown by the speech Steinbeck has used. For example ‘“look, George. Look what I done.’” This immediately shows that Steinbeck wanted Lennie to speak like a child so we know...
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