Of Mice and Men: Themes

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Steinbeck concerns such as: discrimination of races; futility of dreams; living conditions and predatory nature of human existence can all be explored through the bunkhouse and Crooks’ room.

Paragraph of dreams:
The playing cards in the bunk play a major role not only as a way to entertain oneself but also portraying the futility of dreams. When the men sit around the ‘big square table’ to play together they have the opportunity to succeed. They would enjoy this as they live in a life where their only companion is loneliness and defeat. The cards are a symbol of dreams as they take a gamble in the hopes that they will triumph. At first Crooks’ scoffs at the idea of Lennie having a dream however the he lets go of his dignity and asks if he can be a part of the plan. Unfortunately Crooks realizes that he will never be a part of the dream because of the colour of his skin, Curley’s wife reminds him of this very fact in a harsh and unforgiving away. Illustrating the futility of dreams was one of Steinbeck’s intentions as he wanted the reader to feel sorry for the men that their dreams were a gamble and a false sense of security. This shows that the men had very little to look forward to in their lifetime meaning that their lives were unfulfilling and therefore wasteful.

Paragraph of living conditions:
The living conditions in the bunk are not fit for a human being. The room is unfinished and therefore seems temporary just like the migrant workers. The beds that the men sleep on are dirty and most likely fill of insects: ‘what the hell kind of bed you giving us anyways.’ This quote proves that even the men thought the conditions were unsanitary and animalistic. When Candy says: ‘Used to wash his hands even after he ate.’ It illustrates the fact that the sanitary conditions were so shocking that even something as simple as washing your hands after eating was considered hygienic. This goes to show that the men had very low standards and...
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