The Harsh Realities of a Cruel World

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‘Of Mice and Men exposes the harsh realities of a cruel world’

Throughout the novella of ‘Of Mice and Men’ the audience is made to desire Lennie and George to live their ‘American dream’. This idea however is turned on its head when Steinbeck reveals the harsh realities of life in the 1930’s. Almost all the characters are yearning for someone to talk to and live a happy life with, and all of them remain lonely by the end of the book. Steinbeck does this to clearly outline the loneliness that was experienced in this era. During the depression in the 1930’s when money was tight, farmers had to find work quickly and work for many hours to even sustain a living for themselves. This creates the attitude that everyone had to fight for themselves or seek shelter through the kindness of others. These unfortunate events were displayed throughout the book to show how a harsh, unforgiving world it was.

Firstly and most obviously ‘Of Mice and Men’ is most cruel when Crooks and Curley’s wife are constantly ridiculed for their differences. For Crooks it was because of being the only worker of African-American decent, and for Curley’s wife she was being excluded from the main group because of being the only woman in the book that is around the workers. Crooks’ clear acceptance of his exclusion is apparent when he says, “They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black”. This event in the book shows that time that this story took place was a senseless, merciless life to live in if you were different. Curley’s wife was rejected from the group because of being the only woman that lives on the ranch. The men that work on the ranch find her desperate for attention and someone to talk to. Steinbeck never mentions her name in the book because it is a literature technique to make the audience realise she doesn’t deserve her own identity. Also the men don’t even use her name, often calling her mean things, in which showing how the people around us can be so cruel.

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