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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 5823 words

'Of Mice and Men' (1938) 'The Ostler' (1855) by John Steinbeck Vs. by Wilkie Collins - Character comparison -

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

LITERATURE CHARACTER COMPARISON: 'Of Mice and Men' (1938) 'The Ostler' (1855) by John Steinbeck Vs. by Wilkie Collins Character: Lennie Small Character: Isaac Scratchard Like Lennie, Isaac is an outsider, less intelligent than others. Compare the two characters and how they are treated by those around them. 'OF MICE AND MEN' COURSEWORK HISHAM HASAN, Y9-2 9th March 2002 LITERATURE CHARACTER COMPARISON: Like Lennie, Isaac is an outsider, less intelligent than others. Compare the two characters and how they are treated by those around them. This essay will focus on a comparison between Lennie Small, the central character in John Steinbeck's novel 'Of Mice and Men', dated 1938 and Isaac Scratchard, presumed to be the author Wilkie Collins's most emphasised and vital character in 'The Ostler', a short story dated 1855. Collins novella has the background of Victorian Britain, which has quite a bearing on the author's intentions to present his protagonist. He follows the conventional method of trying to satisfy readers with the outcome of a horror story. This means the author tends to indicate his characters' intentions directly at the beginning, and throughout the novel, he would communicate more directly with the audience. As such, this horror story would be a series of short segments, rather than one continuous narrative of overlapping scenes. Furthermore, 'The Ostler' is narrated in old-fashioned English, meant of course for a selective audience. On the other hand, 'Of Mice and Men' would be more modern and would tend to dramatise the constant action of continuous scenes. Consequently, 'Of Mice and Men' shares a strong sense of time, as it is only a matter of time before things go wrong. Steinbeck's novel is not targeted at a selective audience. Rather, it would be ideal to say his lessons would appeal most to the sufferers in society who were victims of the period of the 'American Dream' and its consequences.

Middle

He also puts to rest his own dream of a perfect, fraternal world. George's fraternity. Their speech is that of uneducated labourers, but is emotionally rich and often lyrical. Some critics of the novel consider George, and especially Lennie, somewhat flat representations of purity, goodness, and fraternal devotion, rather than convincing portraits of complex, conflicted human beings. They charge Steinbeck with being excessively sentimental in his portrayal of his protagonists, his romanticisation of male friendship, and in the deterministic plot that seems designed to destroy this friendship. Steinbeck's repeated comparisons between Lennie and animals (bears, horses, terriers) reinforce the impending sense of doom. When Lennie momentarily forgets George's instructions and speaks, Lennie lacks the faculties to take care of himself. George berates Lennie for having spoken up. George insists that Lennie is "dumb as hell," but is neither crazy nor mean. Slim appreciates George's friendship with Lennie, saying that it is a welcome change in a world where no one ever "seems to give a damn about nobody." He asks if the place really exists. George is guarded at first, but soon says that it does and that the owners are desperate to sell it. He innocently reports that everyone else has gone into town and that he saw Crooks's light on and thought he could come in and keep him company. Finally, despite himself, Crooks yields to Lennie's "disarming smile" and invites him in. Lennie might be a bit too innocent and Curley a bit too antagonistic for the reader to believe in them as real, complex human beings. He tries to bury Curley's wife in the hay, worrying chiefly that George will be angry with him. The scene in the barn begins ominously, with Lennie holding his puppy, now dead, and stroking it in the same way he stroked the dead mouse at the beginning of the novel. All sense of optimism for the farm or the freedom the men would have on it dissolves now that Lennie's unwittingly dangerous nature has reasserted itself.

Conclusion

For Curley's wife, the dream centers around Hollywood, and her insistence that she came close to being plucked from obscurity by a talent scout and carried off to be a movie star. Even Curley, the most unappealing and unsympathetic character in the novel, harbors a strong desire for the respect of the other men. Slim is the only character who does not seem to need an illusion to buffer himself from the harsh realities of the world. His skill at his work and mastery of the ranch bring him peace and contentment, emotions alien to his fellow ranch-hands. Answer for Question 3 Of Mice and Men is an extremely structured work in which each detail anticipates a plot development that follows. Almost every scene points toward the inevitable tragic ending. In the first scene, we learn that Lennie likes to stroke mice and other soft creatures, but has a tendency to kill them accidentally. This foreshadows the death of his puppy and the death of Curley's wife. Furthermore, when George recounts that Lennie once grabbed a woman's dress and would not let go, the reader anticipates that similar trouble will arise at the ranch, especially once Curley's flirtatious wife appears on the scene. Finally, Lennie's panicked but brutal squeezing of Curley's hand anticipates the force with which he grab Curley's wife by the throat, unintentionally breaking her neck. The events surrounding Candy's dog, meanwhile, parallel Lennie's fate. Candy is devoted to the animal, just as George is devoted to Lennie, yet the old man must live through the death of his companion, who is shot in the back of the head, just as Lennie is killed at the end of the book. When Candy voices regret that he should have shot his own dog rather than allow Carlson to do it, his words clearly foreshadow the difficult decision that George makes to shoot Lennie rather than leave the deed to Curley's lynch mob. The comparison between the two "gentle animals" is obvious; both are victims of a plot carefully designed for tragedy.

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