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Of mice and men coursework

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Introduction

How does Steinbeck create for the reader a harsh world and culture on the American Ranch in "Of Mice and Men"? In chapter one of "Of Mice and Men", Steinbeck first of all describes the beautiful scene, then the characters are introduced, Lennie and George. The reader learns that they are on their way to a ranch to work. They are making camp before they will go to the ranch the next day. Lennie and George have hurriedly left their last ranch following an incident involving Lennie. The next day they arrive at the ranch where they meet the other characters, the old swamper Candy, The Boss, the boss' son Curley, Curley's striking wife who flirts with all the men. Also Slim the respected worker on the ranch and Carlson, another worker. The ranch is obviously a harsh, uncomfortable place to live and chapter two gives evidence of this. Steinbeck begins to build up the harsh culture of the ranch by building up a beautiful scene in chapter one. In the first chapter of "Of Mice and Men", a scenic, calm and almost heavenly picture of the surroundings is built up for the reader. ...read more.

Middle

" In the world outside of the ranch, Lennie apologetically kills mice. He does not do it on purpose and mice are not really a big thing to kill. It is not really surprising to the reader that Lennie kills the mice, they are so small, and he is like a big bear. He just engulfs the little mice in his "paws" and they die. Lennie does not quite realise his strength. In chapter two though, it is not mice that Lennie kills. The climax starts to build by Lennie killing his puppy that Slim has given to him in the same way that he killed his mice: " Lennie sat in the hay and looked at the little dead puppy...(he) said softly to the puppy, ' Why do you got to get killed? You ain't so little as mice. I didn't bounce you hard.' " Lennie does not realise his strength. Steinbeck is trying to build up just how strong Lennie is for the finally killing. He does this by writing Lennies' part so he says to himself that he did not bounce the puppy hard when he obviously did he just does not realise it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Crooks also is discriminated against in another way: " Crooks...had his bunk in...a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn." Crooks is not allowed to sleep in the same place as all the other men. This is because he is a "nigger". This is the harsh environment. His sleeping place is also in worse condition than the others'. It is "a little shed". This builds a picture in the readers mind of a ramshackle, leaning, hut, whereas the bunk house is not brilliant but the picture built up is not as derelict as Crooks' hut. In conclusion I think that there is two main ways that Steinbeck builds up tension on the ranch to make a harsh environment. One is contrast. Contrast between things that go on outside the ranch and then similar things that go on inside the ranch, but they just happen worse. The second thing is discrimination and hierarchy around the ranch. It makes it seem to me like an unfriendly place to live. I would not like to live there. The hostile ness is built up well in the story and I definitely thought that the ranch was an unsociable harsh place before we started to analyse the story ...read more.

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