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Of Mice and Men

By olliexx Jan 09, 2013 1602 Words
Of Mice And Men

Within this essay, I am going to have a discussion about some very different characters in John Steinbeck’s,” Of Mice and Men”. Each character is very different but all appear to have loneliness in common. One is a very intelligent man, George, who travels with and looks after a powerfully strong yet gentle man named Lennie, who has the mental age of a child. Another character, Crooks, keeps himself to himself as he is a black man and believes that no white man should interact with him. Candy, an elderly man, which I shall discuss and show his despair of when he looses his dog. Curley’s wife seeks the attention of the men on the ranch, as her husband isn’t giving her any consideration. Loneliness affects several characters in the novel and at one point or another are dreaming of a changed life. The first character I’m going to speak about is George. George looks after a mentally disabled man named Lennie. They both travel together but he constantly says he could do better without Lennie, he can be spiteful to him but this is due to frustration.

"Guys like us that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place.”

George can never stay at a job for long, as Lennie gets them into terrible trouble and they have to leave immediately. George feels like he’s missing out on a life that could be great without having to care for Lennie. For example, missing out on the freedom the other men have like going into town at night and meeting people. George feels obliged to stay with Lennie, making sure he doesn’t get into any trouble and on doing this he‘s alienating himself. On the other hand, George is grateful that he has someone to go around with and that they keep each other company. He knew their weren’t many guys go around in pairs and some of the men wish they had a friendship like George and Lennie’s .

The other main character in the story is Lennie. Lennie is looked after by a man called George. Lennie is a very large man compared to George and has amazing strength, but has the mind of a child. He takes certain precautions and listens to whatever George or other people tell him so he will not lose the opportunity to have such items as his puppy. Lennie loves to stroke soft things and means no harm by doing this, but he doesn’t know his uncontrollable strength. This gets them into serious trouble because people get the wrong idea of what Lennie is doing, this is why they lost there last jobs.

Lennie said, "George."

"Yeah?"

"I done another bad thing."

"It don’t make no difference," George said, and he fell silent again.

Loneliness has made Lennie want a better life for himself. This involves these soft items and the dream for his/George's farm. He believes, at the farm he will not have to deal with all the problems that he has now. Lennie became unrealistic in many ways because of both his condition and his loneliness. At the end of the story Lennie forgets to listen to what George has said to him and accidently kills the puppy. Lennie knows he’s done wrong but didn’t mean it. He then is comforted by Curley’s wife and forgets what George has said again. Curley’s wife leads Lennie to touching her hair and accidently chocking her to death.

The next character I’m going to write about is Candy. Candy is the ranch hand in the story. He’s pretty useless, physically, as he had one of his hands cut off in a machine. Candy’s only companion is his dog. His dog is very old and can’t do much anymore either. The men on the ranch tell him he should shoot him to put him out of misery. His dog is very important to him and he couldn’t bare to shoot him, so he agrees that Carlson does it for him. Candy is distraught when his dog dies, he doesn’t know what to do anymore.

“ You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn't no good to himself nor nobody else. I wisht somebody'd shoot me. But they won't do nothing like that. I won't have no place to go, an' I can't get no more jobs."

This is basically Candy realizing that he's weak and not really important to anyone on the farm; he has no more power than his dog, who was shot, had. Much like his name, Candy is a sweet person and a nice thing to have a round, but he is in no way, shape, or form. Candy feels alone as ever, he had spent nearly of his whole life with his dog and now he has no-one. Candy hears George and Lennie discussing their dream. Candy explains that they should consider letting him come with them. He then tells them they saw what happened to his dog because he was so old and useless, and he fears they’ll do the same to him. Candy’s loneliness is very different to George and Lennie’s. He hasn’t anyone now. His dog dying was a sad and dramatic part of the story as it showed how it badly hurt him. By joining George and Lennie’s dream this may take his mind of things about how he thinks and feels of how his future could improve.

Now I am going to speak about another character in the novel, Curley’s wife. In the story she isn’t given a name, this shows how low her status is. She is married to the ranch boss’s son Curley. She is forbidden by Curley to talk to any one, because of this, she constantly approaches the other men with the excuse of looking for Curley, but the men regard her behaviour as tartish, spurring Curley to become more intensely jealous. The men on the ranch try to avoid her because of flirtatious personality can get them into trouble from Curley. No one understands her situation and how loneliness affects her. Her insecurity is evident by the way she dresses and utilizes her make-up. She uses her appearance to receive attention.

"I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely."

"What's the matter with me? Ain't I got a right to talk to nobody?"

"Seems like they ain't none of them cares how I gotta live".

Curley does not give his wife any love and affection that she desires in turn, alienating her from him. He treats her poorly and thinks that she should do exactly as he says. Curley’s wife explains to Lennie that she shouldn’t be here at the ranch, that she shouldn’t be married to Curley because she doesn’t love him. She feels so lonely here with all these men that don’t want to talk to her. She then tells him she met a man before she was married to Curley, he said he would make her a big movie star and that he would write to her when he would go back to Hollywood but, he never did and therefore married Curley on the rebound. Flirting with Lennie leads her to a dangerous situation, and she ends up dead.

The final character I’m going to speak about in this essay is Crooks, also known as StableBuck. Crooks is a black man and loneliness has made Crooks quite arrogant and isolated. The other men at the ranch do not communicate with Crooks unless he is working because he is black and segregation was still very common between blacks and white’s at this time in period of time and communication was purely worked based apart from when they played horseshow together. He has become bitter and known to lash out at people because of the loneliness that he has. Crooks's emotions are shown to the reader when he talks to Lennie in his room about having no one to relate to and communicate with.

"Maybe you can see now. You got George. You know he's goin' to come back. S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunk house and play rummy `cause you was black...A guy needs somebody--to be near him"

Crooks has never been treated well by any of his co-workers because of his colour. This has affected Crooks greatly and he has obtained a passionate animosity toward everyone. In addition, Crooks also does not know how to relate to people anymore because he is so used to being alone and he only has books to entertain him. Crooks has been lonely for so long that he expects people not to talk to him. When Lennie comes in and does not have any intention of hurting him, he relax’s a little. It may seem that he doesn't desire friendships or affection, but he no longer knows how to deal with his loneliness. It changed him, whenever he is with someone he doesn’t know how to react or act.

In conclusion, “Of Mice and Men” has been a very interesting book to read. All the characters to some degree or another feel loneliness, which is the main theme. Steinbeck’s style of writing really makes you feel sympathy towards the characters. It gives an insight as to what these people’s lives were like and how their lives are changed by loneliness and problems that occur. It proves everyone needs companionship within life and that friendships are important.

By Olivia Costello

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