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For which character do we most feel sorry for in the story of Mice and Men?

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Other cultures- English Coursework For which character do we most feel sorry for in the story of Mice and Men? Throughout the novel of Mice and Men, sympathy is engendered for the character in many ways and in many different situations. This feeling is created for the readers by outlining such issues that exist in the era that the book was written in, such as poverty and widespread loneliness. Although there are not actually that many characters within the novel I will be looking at how the writer creates the feeling of sorrow for most of them. The characters we feel sorrow for include: Itinerant workers Curley George Curley's wife Lennie Crooks Candy Itinerant workers The first characters we come across in the novel are George and Lennie. The two quickly become the main characters, and they are what are known as itinerant workers, we later meet characters such as Whit, and Carlson. The word itinerant means travelling from place to place, so itinerant workers are a group who can not find or cannot hold on to a regular annual job. These were in a particularly large number in the late 1920's and 1930's and many did seasonal work on ranches. The book is set in 1930's California which is just after the Wall Street crash of 1929. As a result of this, the period the book is set in is a time of extremely high unemployment rates and in the middle of a Great Depression. Often men would work for no more than fifty dollars a month and were soon out of work. The group would drift from one ranch to another, from one job to another and became known as itinerant workers. As the workers roamed around the country often it grew harder and harder to stay in contact with close family and friends, this is summed up when we first hear George and Lennie talk about their dream. ...read more.


Steinbeck re-emphasises the significance of Candy's dog when Candy says to George that he wishes someone would shoot him when he's no longer any good. Another link between Lennie and Candy's dog is that, when Carlson's gun goes off, Lennie is the only other man not inside the bunkhouse. This is a clever tactic used by Steinbeck as having placed him outside the bunkhouse with the dog, he has become and outcast to the other men. George must make his decision quickly, but he does it in such a way that the reader gets the impression he has been pushed closer and closer to this final outcome over time. George although showing a colder side to his nature in shooting his closet companion just where the spine joins the neck, he does it in a kinder way, instead of just shooting Lennie. We know from Carlson shooting Candy's dog that the place to aim for was the back of the neck as it was quick and painless; "He wouldn't feel nothing," and "Wouldn't even quiver." George kills Lennie while telling about their collective dream of owning their own plot of land. This had at times during the novel, the only thought that carried the two men through the depression and stress of working on a ranch. Lennie especially had relied heavily and viewed upon looking after the rabbits as a reward for good behaviour, "Well, he said if I done any more bad things he ain't gonna let me tend the rabbits." Lennie seemed most happy, either when stroking soft things or when thinking about tending the rabbits. George killing Lennie in the back of the neck while telling Lennie about how he was gonna tend the rabbits made sure that his last thoughts were good as he would die instantly. This shows that even though he is killing, his closest associate he is still caring for Lennie until his end. ...read more.


People disagree with his hostile nature, just because he is smaller than other characters. They also oppose his ways of wearing high-heeled boots, to show his power and status over the rest of the workers. However others may argue he is only like this, because on the ranch he has no real friends and no-one he could really relate to and become friends with. He is stuck in a poor marriage with a woman who does not love him and he spends more time chasing his flirtatious wife than anything else does on the ranch. Curley's Wife Nameless and flirtatious, Curley's wife is perceived by Candy to be the cause of all that goes wrong at Soledad: "Ever'body knowed you'd mess things up. You wasn't no good" He says this to her dead body in his grief. The workers, George included, see her as having "the eye" for every guy on the ranch, and they cite this as the reason for Curley's insecurity and hot headed temperament. But Curley's wife adds complexity to her own characterisation, confessing to Lennie that she dislikes Curley because he is angry all the time and saying that she comes around because she is lonely and just wants someone with whom to talk. Like George and Lennie, she once had a dream of becoming an actress and living in Hollywood, but it went unrealised, leaving her full of self-pity, married to an angry man, living on a ranch without friends, and viewed as a trouble-maker by everyone. Curley's wife attracts sympathy from readers, because for a start she is the only female mentioned in the entire novel. As the novel is set in a v time were sexism was high, she is not seen as important, so insignificant, in fact she is not even given a name throughout the story. This puts her almost on the sane level as such characters as candy's dog. The men on the ranch, have no respect for her and she is known as; "rattrap," "poison," "jail bait," "tart," "tramp," "slut and "bitch. ...read more.

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