Discuss the Significance of Names in of Mice and Men

Topics: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Great Depression Pages: 2 (740 words) Published: February 27, 2013
‘Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck’
As seen in the book Of Mice and Men, author John Steinbeck uses a range of different names for his character, but as it seems, it is not just a coincidence that they are named this way. Steinbeck uses these specific names to match personality of a character and to show the significance of these characters to the society. Many characters names begin with a C for example Candy, Crooks, Curley, to create a direct reference to ‘Cain’ a nomad from the bible; who was cursed by God that he would never be able to settle down because of his wrongdoings for power, this signifies that the characters and Cain have a similarity; they are not able to settle down but are forced to keep moving from one area to another.

Curley’s Wife, is perhaps the most major female character that is essential to the story, but has no name in the book. The most obvious assumption as to why Steinbeck has decided to do this is because he is using a historical reference to the American community, where woman were considered to be a man’s possession. “When they had them previews I coulda went to them, an’ spoke in the radio, an’ it wouldn’ta cost me a cent because I was in the pitchers”. In the book, Curley’s Wife has a dream/desire to have her name known as an icon, however, the results were that she had married a ‘nobody’ which makes her an even smaller existence to the society and the world. We can come to a conclusion that Curley’s wife is unnamed because Steinbeck reflects her complete lack of individual identity.

Lennie Small, one of the two most major and necessary characters in the storyline, has a very ironic name. ‘Lennie’ is short for ‘Leonard’ or abbreviated to ‘Leo’ has a definition of lion, has symbolizes courage, rulership and strength, which is a complete opposite of Lennie’s character. ‘Small’ is also an addition to the irony, where Steinbeck uses this to emphasize his huge physical appearances. “I don’t want no trouble, don’t let him...
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