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Of Mice and Men.

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Introduction

"Of Mice and Men" was written by John Steinbeck in 1937. He wrote many other books such as Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row and The Pearl. His most famous was the Grapes of Wrath. At the time Steinbeck wrote the novel, men were the main workers on farms and ranches but during the 1930's machinery began to take over and by 1938 Combines harvested half of America's grain. George and Lennie, the two main characters in the story, are examples of migrant workers who farmed 800 miles across the state planes. All ranch workers travelled around America looking for jobs. They worked in very poor conditions and were paid two to three dollars a day plus very basic food. Everyone had their own dream but many people came from other countries to live the "American Dream" all believing that through hard work they would have the opportunity to live a comfortable life. It is possible that Steinbeck wrote the novel based on his own experience as he used to work on a ranch. He knew what these workers had to go through and had the desire and belief to show other people what was actually happening at the time. ...read more.

Middle

But by the pool among the mottled sycamores, a pleasant shade had fallen". This is an intense description of the setting that the characters are in and enables the reader to develop a clear image of the surroundings. It is an example of Steinbeck's imagery. Steinbeck uses a lot of Colloquial language and dialogue as the ranchmen speak a lot during the story and it is often grammatically incorrect with slang or swearing. This adds vividness and colour to the description. There is a lot of characterisation through dialogue as each character speaks differently. Steinbeck also uses dialogue to inject humour e.g. "His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, he looked kindly at the two in the bunkhouse. It's brighter'n a bitch outside". Steinbeck also uses intense descriptions in the novel, for example "The Dream", Lennie and George's dream of a small farm, a little bit of land and independence, is the same for all the ranch workers. The "American Dream" can be seen to be interwoven and the hope of being free and being themselves. We should realise that Steinbeck is trying to illustrate a universal truth and that most people wish to have better lives which gives them freedom, rights and personal fulfillment. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the novel Steinbeck writes about many different issues that still exist today, one of which is racial prejudice. This is illustrated in Crooks as he is denied human companionship because of the colour of his skin and this is part of the larger theme of loneliness. Another issue is Ageism. This is illustrated by Candy who has outlived his usefulness. This is also a part of loneliness and is emphasised by his relationship with his dog and the way in which he is upset when it is shot. The final and main issue is loneliness. George and Lennie are able to get away from loneliness with their relationship but there are many people who cannot fend it off such as Crooks and Candy as they become cynical and bitter. It ends up killing Curley's wife as she cannot stand being on her own any longer. Steinbeck uses imagery to illustrate many reasons such as realism to symbolise deeper meanings and to portray society. He portrays loneliness as a human condition that we either succumb to or fight. Steinbeck doesn't state a way of fighting loneliness but just illustrates the problem as we begin to realise that we may never find a solution. ...read more.

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