‘The more a society seeks to disempower its people, the more the individual spirit thrives.’ To what extent does Of Mice and Men affirm this view?

Topics: Great Depression, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck Pages: 3 (1237 words) Published: February 26, 2014
‘The more a society seeks to disempower its people, the more the individual spirit thrives.’ To what extent does Of Mice and Men affirm this view?

In the novel Of Mice and Men, the author John Steinbeck suggests that although society can seek to disempower people for reasons they cannot necessarily control, this can empower the individual spirit to thrive. There are various factors as to why society seeks to disempower people, such as ethnicity, sex, intelligence and wealth. In Of Mice and Men the characters are all disempowered by society in some way and yet all find a way to thrive and to overcome these setbacks. The dreams and aspirations as well as companionship of the characters shown throughout the novel give them great sense of purpose and empowers them to succeed and have hope for the future. However empowerment does not always end in success, and sometimes society’s opinions and standards cannot be beaten. Steinbeck addresses the issues of disempowerment through society in the setting of the Great Depression in America, a time when the most valuable thing an individual could have is hope.

In Of Mice and Men, characters George and Lennie both are disempowered through society due to their wealth and social status, as well as intelligence and strength, however they both deal with this disempowerment through their strong companionship with one another. George is physically small but is intelligent and has a very strong personality. In contrast, his companion Lennie is huge and powerful yet has very little intelligence. They are both low on the pecking order as ranch workers. What makes them different from any other of the workers is their companionship for one another. This companionship encourages and drives them to work harder and to overcome setbacks. George is disempowered through society because of his size, therefore rarely has power of anybody. George senses this and finds comfort in the control and power he has over his companion, Lennie. He...
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