By Maria Liddy
The theme of power is prevalent throughout the novel Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck uses various methods and techniques to establish the dynamics of power on the ranch. In the first extract, George and Lennie are in the brush and we get a strong sense of George’s parental control over Lennie, but it also shows how Lennie’s physical stature gives him a degree of power over George. In extract two we meet Curley for the first time, and his authority over the ranch workers is clearly asserted through the various ways in which Steinbeck describes him. And finally, in extract three, we see the first fight of the novel. The fight is very diverse in how it portrays power. At different stages in the fight some people have more authority over others and we see how the workers feel more powerful together as opposed to individually. In this extract the ‘hierarchy’ of power on the ranch is very shaken up. Extract one focuses on George and Lennie’s relationship. Even from the onset words such as ‘’timidly’’, ‘’softly’’, and ‘’gently’’ help to establish the dynamics of their relationship. These words portray Lennie as a weak, almost fragile character in contrast to words such as ‘’jerked’’, ‘’scowled’’, and ‘’bastard’’ which portray George as impatient and annoyed, almost like an exasperated parent. Steinbeck uses a multitude of exclamation marks to emphasise George’s frustration. Ellipses are also used throughout the extract to show how Lennie hesitates and stutters though his sentences. This clearly shows that he is unable to recall information and is, at times, very nervous. This reiterates the fact that George holds the reins of power in the relationship. It is significant, maybe, that Steinbeck describes George as a ‘’little man’’. It points out that physical stature does not equate power in this relationship. If this was not true the tables would be turned as Lennie towers over George, which is why it is strange that he is so reliant on George. This...
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