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Of Mice and Men - How does Steinbeck create a sense of insecurity in the novel?

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Practice exam question - Of Mice and Men How does Steinbeck create a sense of insecurity in the novel? In your answer you should write about - * Why characters may feel insecure * Uses of language * The contribution of the setting * Other features which create a feeling of insecurity Steinbeck creates a sense of insecurity in the novel 'Of Mice and Men' in a number of ways. His use of language when describing the setting and the characters appearances and actions is one of the main techniques used. The ranch is a lonely and isolated setting, far away from their homes and families the characters become very insecure. George describes ranch workers as "the loneliest men in the world", due to the short, temporary nature of relationships on the ranch. The workers become insecure and unhappy, as they have no one to share their true feelings with. The characters hide their true identities in order to prevent further isolation. Many of the characters in the novel have feelings of insecurity. They each have characteristics or past experiences that make the feel different form the others on the ranch. Many of the characters feel like outsiders. ...read more.


Unfortunately it just before her death that the readers starts to see the true aspects of her personality. Crooks and Candy feel lonely and insecure due to their experiences of discrimination on the ranch. Crooks' experiences of discrimination are mainly due to the fact that he is a black man. He is treated differently from the other hands on the ranch, instead of sleeping in the bunkhouse he sleeps in the barn. He sleeps in a "long box filled with straw on which his blankets were flung", and doesn't socialize or mix at all with the other workers. Though life on the ranch is very lonely Crooks is even more isolated than the other works, this may be the main reason for his feelings of insecurity. In the line " he kept his distance and demanded that other people kept theirs", the readers get an image of Crooks being a loner by choice. Crooks deals with the discrimination he gets by creating a place where he feels safe and in control. He sees his room as the only thing that belongs to him, "This here's my room. Nobody got any rights in here but me" is his instant reaction when Lennie comes to the stable. ...read more.


Though these characters are all lonely they have a lack of mutual understanding for each other, for example Curley's wife looks down on Crooks, she threatens him in the line "You know what I could do Nigger." All of the characters above are insecure and seen as outsiders on the ranch. The descriptions of these characters give an insight into the ranch as a lonely setting, which is full of insecurities. It is not only in the character descriptions that Steinbeck creates a sense of insecurity. The way in which he mirrors events in the human world to those in nature also creates a sense of insecurity. In the final chapter of the novel the unexpected cruelty of nature is shown in the line " A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head, and the beak swallowed the little snake while it's tail waved frantically." The unexpected nature of the death of the water snake is mirrored in the death of Lennie. The arbitrary nature of the death of both Lennie and the water snake relates to the title. The struggle of life and death in both the natural and human world is portrayed in the final chapter and adds to the sense of insecurity that Steinbeck creates throughout the novel. Laura Hickmott 11R1 ...read more.

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