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Does Steinbeck's picture of life on the ranch hold any hope for the future, or is it pessimistic?

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Introduction

Does Steinbeck's picture of life on the ranch hold any hope for the future, or is it pessimistic? I think that Steinbeck's picture of life on the ranch was mainly pessimistic, but it still held a little hope. The story took place in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. The economic situation was in a terrible state. The unemployment problem was so serious. Migrant workers from all over America came to California. They believed that they could get their own piece of land and settle down there quite well eventually. Steinbeck created the ranch with people, from different backgrounds, holding different positions, having different attitudes and dreams. George and Lennie, the main characters, traveled everywhere together. Lennie, who was mentally disabled, often depended on George to get him out of trouble. Sometimes George complained about Lennie, "God a' mighty, if I was alone I could have lived so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble. No mess at all...." (p.28)At first, it seemed to be a one-sided scenario that George was the wiser one and he had to look after Lennie. However, if you look at it in another way, it was a gloomy picture. In fact, George was so lonely that he needed Lennie as his companion and he wanted to look after him. ...read more.

Middle

They wanted to join George and Lennie and go for their dreams once again. Yet soon they were brought back to the cruel reality because of their backgrounds and the harsh environment in the ranch. It was cynical that some people, who had power, used their power to exploit others and be horrible to them. Curley, the boss's son, was a typical one. He could have had more power and respect, if he stopped picking fights with the workers. He should also stop moaning and bullying his wife. Steinbeck demonstrated here a pessimistic view of the future because people behaved so badly. Curley was also one of the people, who had no dreams. He was born to own a ranch and he thought that he did not have to work as hard as the others did. Curley's wife was the only female, another gloomy character, introduced in the story. Steinbeck described her as na�ve, lonely, flirtatious and dependent. Near the ending part, she confessed to Lennie that she disliked Curly. She kept her flirtatious behavior because she was lonely and she wanted to have someone she could talk to. She once had a dream of being an actress, be famous and lead a snobbish life. However, her dream did not come true. She blamed her mother for disapproving her ambition and keeping the letter sent to her from a man, who she knew from Hollywood. ...read more.

Conclusion

It showed that people could change. They would become more concerned of others and their future could be more optimistic. In addition, George once said that, "Guys like us got no fambly. They make a little stake an' then they blow it in. They ain't got nobody in the worl' that gives a hoot in hell about em...' (p.145) People minded their own business and never co-operated (except when they were doing the manual work on the ranch). This mentality did not change until near the end of the story. They united together but just because they wanted to capture Lennie. There was still something for people to hope for - to become more sociable and co-operative although for a not so good motive. As people become more sociable and co-operative, their future can be more optimistic. "The best laid scheme o' mice and men gang aft agley." The plot of the story was based on this poem. It means no matter how hard or well we plan for something, our plans can often fail to become reality, or worse, they can end up going awfully wrong. I completely agree with this poem, as George, Lennie and Candy's plan of getting the land they wanted went terribly wrong. In conclusion, I believe that life in the ranch is mostly pessimistic, holding only two strands of hopefulness. That is having a person like Slim in the ranch and George shooting Lennie, in order to prevent him getting into deeper trouble. ...read more.

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