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Most if not all the characters in 'Of Mice and Men' can be seen as victims in one way or another." Discuss

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Introduction

"Most if not all the characters in 'Of Mice and Men' can be seen as victims in one way or another" discuss "Of Mice and Men" was set in the Great Depression which could make every one in the book a victim, whatever their circumstance. Most people didn't have a job and those who were employed were working in terrible conditions; they were victims of an employment system which gave no rights to the workers. Job insecurity meant that workers were forced to take low pay and the mass of unemployed men meant that anyone who complained would lose their job immediately and be replaced by someone who was desperate for work. The South West was known as the "Dust Bowl" because of the drought that had led to crops failing and soil drying to dust. Families dreamt they would find a better life in California and the west of America because they believed there were a lot of jobs there. These dreams turned into nightmares as 350,000 Dust Bowl exiles from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas came to California in the 1930s seeking employment in the Orange Groves. There were not enough jobs or homes for so many people. Like the characters in the novel the harsh economic reality makes victims of them all. George is a victim in a number of ways He is a victim of "The Great Depression"; as itinerant workers he and Lennie have to keep roaming round in search of work. He is well aware of his situation as he tells Lennie "Guys like us that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world...they ain't got nothing to look ahead to." ...read more.

Middle

I'll show you who's yella". When Lennie finally defends himself, Curley is described as 'a flopping like a fish on a line...white and shrunken...'. By the end of this episode, Curley's humiliation is total: "He avoided looking at Lennie." Curley's wife is a victim of isolation, few people on the ranch will speak to her. She is seen as a danger by most people, "Don't you even take a look at that bitch" George knows Curley would attack Lennie as soon as he gets a reason and wants to keep his job. Curley's wife is the only woman on the ranch, she is isolated from other women and she isn't allowed to talk to any men apart from Curley. Being the only woman makes her isolation worse. Curley forces her to stay in the house, he thinks he owns her, "'You seen a girl around here?' he demanded angrily." Curley tries to have complete control of her. Curley's wife does rebel against him by leaving the house and by flirting with every man on the ranch, " 'nobody can't blame a person for lookin.'" She knows she's not allowed to, and that is why she always asks guiltily where Curley is. This shows Curley's wife is not a complete victim. She is aware of her power over men: "[She] leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forward." Curley's wife regrets a lot. When she was younger she was told she could be an actress, "I met a guy an' he was in the pitchers... he was gonna put me in the movies." ...read more.

Conclusion

The only things in his room that isn't broken or thrown on the floor are his glasses. They are his power and what make him in some ways superior to the others, they are precious to him as is his ability to read. Crooks reads more intellectual books than the others. He is a victim because, although he is very intelligent, he isn't given any respect because he is "jus' a nigger". Crooks is a victim of racism. Crooks' room has a lot of books, this shows he is intelligent. It also shows his isolation, the other men on the ranch play cards together and socialise, he is by himself reading, he knows how isolated he is, "'books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody." Crooks reads about his rights, this is kind of what keeps him going, like Lennie has his rabbits and Candy has his land. Crook's imposed solitude has made him jealous of the relationship Lennie and George have, this is why he uses George to bully Lennie, "'s'pose George went into town tonight and you never heard of him no more.'" He enjoys this because he never gets to have power over a white man; the victim becomes the bully in this scene. In conclusion I think that most of the characters are victims in some way. The main exception is Slim, he isn't greatly affected by the things that make the other characters victims. At times the victim becomes the victimiser, but this is short lived. Most if not all the characters in "Of Mice and Men" are victims of powerlessness, financial hardship, job insecurity and loneliness, and some characters are victims of things beyond their control. ?? ?? ?? ?? Patrick Griffin ...read more.

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