• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does the writer explore the idea of doomed aspirations in "of mice and men".

Extracts from this document...


John steinbecks novel "of mice and men" is a powerful and intricately written story revealing the harsh and brutal reality of life in America during the 1930's. John Steinbeck had worked on a ranch in his late teens so had been able to see the life the ranch hands had. In "of mice of men" he incorporates everything he observed to create a vivid insight into the lives of these men. Steinbeck puts issues, which troubled him at the forefront of the novel, with not all of the issues being confined to the ranch. He questions how civilized and fair a society we live in by bringing up issues such as racism, the workers "caste" system and the abuse of power. The main theme of the books is of "failed aspirations" mainly focusing around the death of the American dream. The title its self is from a poem by Robert burns: The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft agley [often go wrong] and leave us nought but grief and pain For promised joy! The poem tells the story of a mice building its nest but for only the nest to be destroyed by a plough once it is finished. Burn's says how even the best thought out plans often go wrong leaving us with nothing but misery and pain. The book stays true to this view by portraying the failure of George and Lennies "American dream" as well of the failed dreams of the other characters. ...read more.


Candy's dog represents the old workers and how replaceable the workforce is. Once your unable to do the job you are kicked out irrespective of how long you have been working there. Curly is used to represent the misuse of power as he is the boss's son and often gets into fights. He is of slight build but starts fights on big people due to his hatred of those bigger than him and that it's a win/win situation for him. If he beats the bigger guy everyone praises him for being such a good fighter. But if the big guy beats Curly then the other ranch hands will beat up the big guy for picking on someone smaller than them and will probably lose their job. Most of the bigger guys won't fight back out of fear of losing their job. Another example of doomed aspirations is the hope of crooks the stable buck of having equality and people seeing beyond racial lines. He is segregated from the other ranch hands with no companionship. He was so desperate for companionship that he actually talked to Lennie. It was obvious from what he said to Lennie that the isolation got to him, he couldn't go to the town with the others, he couldn't play horseshoes with the others and the only time he had ever been invited into the other ranch hands mess was on Christmas day but he knew where his place was. ...read more.


Many of these new emigrants migrated west to follow their American dream but by 1930 all hope of this was lost as they realised how na�ve they had been. Racism was ripe through out the 1930'3 with racist anti black groups like the Ku Klux Klan going strong. The blacks had a hard time getting a job and were segregated from there white counterparts. Steinbeck was appalled by the abuse of power by the rich; the richest 5% possessed 32% of the wealth while the poorest 42% possessed only 10%. Company profits and dividends had shot up by 60 percent between 1920 and 1929 while the Average wage had only increased by 10%. This Mismatch meant that the poor were getting poorer while the rich were getting richer. Steinbeck wrote "of mice and men" because he was shocked by the attitude people had towards one another and the hardships many were facing and having to come to terms with. His book is of America as a whole challenging the way the Americans treated one another and the downfall of his great country. Having worked on a ranch he could hear from the ranch hands first hand what life was like. This enables him to create such a vivid picture of life in the 1930's. Steinbeck's choice of language also allows him to do this. He uses vast amounts of strong descriptive language causing the reader to become entangled in the story. This allows the reader to actually see what is happening and creates a stronger feeling of empathy for the characters as you have a greater sense of what they are going through. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. Of Mice and Men. Explore the theme of the American dream and importance ...

    noticed that George wasn't really pleased that Lennie was talking to him, the quote showing this is," and he looked disapprovingly about.' What you doin' in crooks' room? You hadn't ought to be in here.' This quote showed that George wouldn't be happy to hear about crooks joining the dream,

  2. Compare the American dream with the reality of a migrant worker (Steinbecks - Of ...

    George and Lennie stay in a bunkhouse while working on the ranch, the reality of where they live. The bunkhouse walls are whitewashed unpainted floor and the door was solid. This presents the image of a cold, unwelcoming room, which is sort of like a prison, or a barracks utilitarian.

  1. Of Mice and Men

    Quietly, George enters from the brush and, as Steinbeck writes, "the rabbit scuttled back into Lennie's brain" (113). George is stiff and silent, but tells Lennie, when he asks, that he will not leave him. Lennie confesses that he has "done a bad thing," and asks George to "give him hell" (113).

  2. Of Mice and Men

    That is why he kills his pets, when he only intends to pet them and play with them. It is this inability to judge his strength, combined with his desire to pet things and Curley's wife's desire to be petted and admired which leads to Lennie's inevitable death.

  1. A breakdown of Steinbeck's 'Of mice and Men'.

    The setting is now at the ranch in Soledad, in the bunk house of the workers. The door opens and an old one-handed caretaker (whose name we later learn is Candy) leads George and Lennie inside. Candy tells the two men that they were expected by the boss last night

  2. Of Mice and Men is a dark, tragic tale, a parable of two men ...

    He then read the poem 'To a Mouse' written by Robert Burns, and this swayed him to changing the title to 'Of Mice and Men' which better suited his style of writing. His abiding love of nature and his thoughts about man's relationship to his environment are present in this novel.

  1. In 'Of Mice and Men' Steinbeck explores the idea of the American dream. This ...

    ranch were the bus driver then made them walk ten miles when he said the bus doesn't go round that end, and while the were walking the saw the bus go by which made George very mad. Steinbeck writes that "two men emerged from the path and came to the

  2. How does Steinbeck explore different attitudes to women in Of Mice and Men?

    Curley?s wife was dreaming to become a movie star. ?Of Mice and Men? is a novel written like a play. Steinbeck uses light and darkness as a stylistic technique to create visual effects. When Curley?s wife appears first in the bunkhouse, the ?sunshine in the doorway was cut off?.(page 34)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work