How does John Steinbeck use the context of the Great Depression to explore the major themes in Of Mice and Men?
John Steinbeck uses the context of the Great Depression to explore the themes of loneliness through the characters. He does this by introducing a disabled man named Crooks. Crooks is a black man that experiences isolation because the society in which he resides is racist. Because of this, he is kept away from the people of the ranch and is put in his own little room. We know he is lonely because he says “They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black”. Seeing as he is reserved from everyone else, he has to turn his only company of books into friends. “I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room”. This shows the bitterness and anger that he has towards the ranchers. His raging attitude is due to the civilization that he was living in at the time.
The author also uses a female that is known as Curley’s wife to express the theme of loneliness. At the time of the Great Depression, Curley’s wife couldn’t really make friends because the society was patriarchal and she was the only female of the ranch. As well as this, people avoid talking to her because they are afraid of her husband, Curley. He is jealous and would start a fight with anyone who tried approaching her. “I’ll kill that son-of-a-bitch myself. I’ll shoot ‘im in the guts”. She yearns for the attention of the ranchers to sooth her loneliness. These acts give her a sense of relief and make her feel wanted. However, she is called many names by the ranchers because of the way she is heavily made up. Before she is introduced to the reader, she is criticised. “Well I think that Curley’s married…….a tart”. These words were spoken by Old Candy to George. Again in the book, George insults her saying “Jesus, what a tramp. So that’s what Curley picks for a wife”. Steinbeck does this to give s an idea that she isn’t a good person. She portrays herself as a sex symbol...
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