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How is the theme of power presented in the novel? The novel "Of mice and men" was based in the 1930's around the time of the Wall Street crash

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Introduction

Chris Outar How is the theme of power presented in the novel? The novel "Of mice and men" was based in the 1930's around the time of the Wall Street crash. The Wall Street crash left Americans feeling vulnerable and powerless, so any kind of power was respected and needed. At that time most places were male dominated such as the ranch that George and Lennie worked at therefore men had more power at that time over women. Nature is presented as more powerful than humans because it is ongoing and cyclical and leaves marks, where as human life is transient and doesn't leave marks. In the novel there are different types of power, financial, physical and mental. The main example of financial power is the boss on the ranch. The workers show him respect and fear because he can fire them, such as "will the boss can us," this shows that because he holds all the money he holds power and through his power he gets respect. ...read more.

Middle

Lennie, who gets frightened and uses his strength to hold on to objects, is just like a child. He will do whatever George tells him to: "Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in Lennie's hand". George slapped Lennie in the face repeatedly and still Lennie held on. Through Lennie's actions we can see that Lennie is very similar to a child. Lennie's first instinct when he is frightened is to hold on. Just as a little kid holds on to its mum or dad when they become frightened, Lennie holds on to objects. Because of Lennie's inability to understand his physical power, he becomes frightened and tries to silence Curley's wife, and, as a result, she ends up being killed. So Lennie's physical, though it is his greatest asset is also his biggest downfall. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even on the biggest of things such as the fight between Curley and George and the death of Curley's wife. Slim lingers in the shadow of his overwhelming description throughout the novel. He serves as the fearless, decision maker when conflicts arises among workers and wins the confidence of George offering advice, comfort and quiet words of wisdom. Slim has many functions in the novel. For example through Slim we find out information from George and influences our opinions in events, which take place in the book. Through Slim, Steinbeck uses him to show the problems in society at that time. Slim is the ideal friend and brings the best out of people. Also some people, when compared to Slim's God-like individuality, appear to be more spiteful and wicked. Slim also keeps reminding the reader of Lennie's strength but his incapability of controlling in. In conclusion the theme of power in the novel is used to create a sense of strength and awareness. Also not just one character has all the power. ...read more.

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