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Hierarchies In Of Mice And Men

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Hierarchies In Of Mice And Men The novel Of Mice And Men was written by John Steinbeck in 1937, during the American Recession. The title is derived from the quote "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men, Gang aft a-gley" from a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns, which means "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry". It tells us that the "American Dream" of the ranch workers in the book will never come true. Of Mice And Men is set during the American Recession, which was caused by the Wall Street Crash. Many people were forced out of their jobs, and as there was no dole system in America at that time, men would travel, usually on foot, between farms and ranches, seeking temporary work. This work would include harvesting crops, or looking after horses and cattle. All of the workers shared the same dream; the "American Dream" of saving enough of their wages to buy a piece of land, and simply look after themselves, without the need to constantly search for work. Lennie and George were two such workers. Lennie's favourite phrase was "An' live off the fatta the lan'", which sums up the American Dream that he loved George to tell him about. The novel shows two hierarchies of the characters. One hierarchy is of power, and how much effect the characters can have on events on the ranch, and the other is of respect. ...read more.


It is shown that Crooks does command some respect in that no one actually goes out of their way to insult him, and he also has certain amounts of power in that he has his own room, instead of having to share with other workers, which along with the stables is his domain, which no one enters. Crooks is surprised when Lennie refuses to leave his room, and quickly gets angry, but calms down when he realises that Lennie simply wants company, and that Lennie is in much the same situation as he is - Crooks is rejected because he is black and Lennie is rejected because he is dumb. Crooks commands respect from the white workers because he can read well, and has many books, and he is the best horseshoe thrower on the ranch. This would place him above Curley's wife, and even above Curley in a respect hierarchy, but he is quickly back at the bottom of the ranking when the colour of his skin is mentioned. In a power ranking, Crooks could be regarded as being above the other workers, because he can tell people to get out of his room. However, Steinbeck does not make it clear whether Crooks would be sent out of the workers' room if he ventured in there, so Crooks' position is variable, but ultimately is most probably at the bottom of both hierarchies because of his skin colour. ...read more.


In conclusion, the people with money and land are at the top of both power and respect hierarchies, because they have the power to employ and sack people, and they have earned this power by working hard. People with connections to land owners will come directly below the owners in a power hierarchy, and their position in the respect hierarchy will be determined by how they treat the ranch workers. The ranch workers come below the relations of the owner, but can rise up the rankings by working hard and earning enough money to buy land of their own. In effect, all they want is to live independently and not have to take orders from anyone, and not have to rely on someone else for their food. The only people that cannot alter their positions in the hierarchies are blacks and women. Women come at the bottom of respect hierarchies because they are female, and America at the time of the Recession was very sexist, although they can rise up the power rankings by marrying a rich and powerful man. Black people however, cannot move up either ranking because of their colour. They cannot achieve any success and achieve the American Dream because employers will not pay them a high enough salary, and cannot rise up the respect hierarchy because people will not give them a fair chance, due to the racist nature of the times. Daniel Walker 23 February 2003 1 ...read more.

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