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'Of mice and Men' by John Steinbeck

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Introduction

'Of mice and Men' by John Steinbeck "There is a strong moral thread running through of mice and men which we can identify generally as concern for the underdog."-Jim Taylor (It is possible to feel concern for nearly all the main characters in the novel. With what aspects of their lives do we sympathise and to what extent do we feel that sympathy?) 'Of mice and men' is based in 1920s America, explores the life of migrant farm workers and similarly their struggle to be accepted in society. It also reveals their desire to establish themselves in society through owning their own ranch and having their own home. The social concerns that Steinbeck highlights are; bullying, racism and being intellectually disabled. 'Of Mice and Men' is based on the author's experience of migrant farm workers. The character with whom I sympathise the most is Lennie. The character 'Lennie' is described in the novel as an unusual figure, almost animal like. " His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drunk from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse." This analysis creates a pungent picture of this strange character. ...read more.

Middle

The term the rest of the workers use degrades Crooks physically and mentally from the 'white' men which only elaborates his difference to the rest of society. Crooks is also physically crippled by the fact that he has a crooked back. We could assume that his name may have originated from the word 'crooked' which shows us once again how unusual of a character he is. His uniqueness attracts Lennie and the two seem to bond. They seem to relate to one another and because of the fact that they are both cripples they are able to easily converse with one another, "Everybody wants a little piece of lan. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land." My only limitation to sympathy for Crooks is when he behaved in an unwelcoming and aggressive manner towards Lennie when he entered his bunkhouse. " You got no right to come in my room. This here's my room. Nobody got any right in here but me." Lennie just wanted to speak to somebody because the rest of the men had gone into town. Even though Lennie smiled at Crooks in an attempt to make fiends, Crooks answers him sharply and is rude. ...read more.

Conclusion

Equally however, is the extent to which George relies on Lennie for companionship in the generally unfriendly and lonely environment of the migrant labourer? This is shown when George speaks to Slim "it's a lot nicer to go around with a guy you know." This is evidence of how George might not be with Lennie purely out of a sense of pity or duty to Lennie's Aunt Clara. This is once again proven when George speaks to the boss of the ranch they are staying in "I ain't got no people. I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain't no good." This proves how Lennie is a real comfort to George and a person who he formidably relies on, to almost keep himself mentally alive. This is because his lifestyle doesn't allow him to get close to people. This is a realistic portrayal of farm workers. In 'Of mice and men' the narrative shows simple, yet persuasive language and emphasises Steinbeck's thoughts and feelings about migrant farm-workers. This creates an atmosphere of credibility making it seem true to life. He manipulates the reader with his excellent use of metaphors and simile in both the opening and final sections and in particular his descriptions of the natural world, i.e. the heron eating the water snake, in the closing pages. Steinbeck also cleverly uses a dialect language form for the characters adding a further sense of realism. ...read more.

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