• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Of Mice and Men' is a novel about misfits - people who can't find their niche in society. Discuss

Extracts from this document...


English essay " 'Of Mice and Men' is a novel about misfits - people who can't find their niche in society". Discuss the above statement with reference to Lennie, Crooks, Candy and Curley's wife. The range of characters and their different personality traits are what colour Steinbeck's novel 'Of Mice and Men'. They are flawed with social inadequacies, whether these are physical or mental inhibits, they are shunned by society for being different. A disability can mark a person as appearing abnormal and irregular. In Lennie's case it is his mental immaturity and ungainly features, which sorts him as a social outcast. In the opening pages of the novel, the reader is introduced to Lennie. Steinbeck describes his features as 'shapeless' and refers to them in several instances as animal-like. "A huge man...with wide, sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little the way a bear drags his paws." This description emphasizes Lennie's inhumanness in the eyes of society. The fact that he is not just likened to a bear, he is a bear reinforces this. His inhuman strength also results in him getting in trouble quite frequently, the reason for Lennie's and George's constant roaming from one ranch to the next. ...read more.


Just as Lennie and George are dependent on each other Candy and his dog also mirror the same trait. "Candy scratched his whiskers with his knuckles.... The dog grunted softly to himself and licked his grizzled, moth-eaten coat." The dog is described as being "a drag-footed old sheep-dog, grey of muzzle, and with pale, blind old eyes." Just as Candy must have been a solid worker before his accident, the dog is useless now he is old and lame. "That dog of Candy's is so God dam old he can't hardly walk. Stinks like hell too. Why'n't you get Candy to shoot his old dog and give him one of the pups to raise up." The notion of 'euthanasia' or once a person or animal has outlived its usefulness, so therefore must be 'got rid of' or 'put out of its misery', is a recurring theme in the novel. Candy's utmost fear is being fired or 'canned' and left without a source of employment or a place to live. Curley's wife is the only woman on the ranch and unlike the others, even Lennie, she seems not to understand her limitations - or she refuses to admit them. ...read more.


He is segregated from all the other workers on the ranch and has become defensive and protective of his rights but is also lonely because of this. As Lennie approaches Crooks in attempt to make friends, the stable-buck is sharp tongued and stern with him. Crooks says sharply: "You got no right to come in my room. This here's my room. Nobody got any right in here but me." Crooks is bitter, indignant, angry, and ultimately frustrated by his helplessness as the black man in a racist culture on the ranch. Wise and observant, he listens to Lennie's talk of the 'dream' of the farm with cynicism. Although tempted by Candy, Lennie, and George's plan to buy their own place, Crooks is constantly reminded (in this case by Curley's wife) that he is inferior to whites and, out of pride, he refuses to take part in their future farm. It has always been the case throughout history, where many groups of people have been the target of persecution by a much larger or more dominant group, often the common people. Among these groups are or were: blacks, the disabled, women, children, and the elderly. In the environment such as the ranch in Steinbeck's novel, these types of characters often have their own aspirations but are forced down by society and their lives are usually far from uncomplicated. 1216 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. Steinbeck's novel, "Of Mice and Men" has been described as a protest statement

    Curley felt like he had something to prove towards Lenny, maybe it was because of his size or maybe it was because he didn't like newcomers but Curley had something against Lenny from the very beginning. Curley's wife was like a loaded mouse trap and Lenny was the mouse.

  2. Of Mice and Men' is a novel about people. Are there 'too many cripples, ...

    However, Candy is not a typical representation of migrants, like Carlson and Slim, due to his age and the companionship that he has with his dog. Candy is not just a 'cripple', but is presented as a person who has feelings.

  1. A constant dreamer

    Overhead the thunder cracked and roared, and when it ceased and the deathly stillness succeeded, I heard the rustle of movement coming nearer me, and, more horrible yet, perceived an odor of corruption and decay. And then a hand was laid on the side of my neck, and close beside my ear I heard quick-taken, eager breathing.

  2. Of Mice and Men' is a novel about people. Are there "too many cripples, ...

    novel when the character had lost everything that was important, gives the cripple hope for the future as his past (with his dog) is finished. Sadly the dog is a symbol of his possible future, the fate of the aged.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work