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Of Mice and Men' is a novel about people. Are there "too many cripples, misfits and unusual characters" in the novel to consider Steinbeck's portrayal as true life?

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Introduction

Of Mice and Men' is a novel about people. Are there "too many cripples, misfits and unusual characters" in the novel to consider Steinbeck's portrayal as true life? Steinbeck's novel is based on ordinary people during the American Depression. Steinbeck has an understanding of how migrant workers were and how it was as he had his childhood in California near Salinas Valley. During the period in which the novel was wrote was written migrant workers went from ranch to ranch working for money never really having a secure job as new technology in machinery made it cheaper to harvest crops. This introduces the two main characters George and Lennie, migrant workers, who do not fit into 1930's society. The novel based is on characters that represent different walks of life during the period illustrating the American culture. Steinbeck portrays the American culture in a condensed version occurring only on a ranch, showing the grim truces of the society, when the novel was written In Steinbeck's novel the character Candy is a man who has gone past his prime of his life. He has a stumped hand and therefore he is too maimed to be working in the fields, he can be seen as a cripple in the novel. The result of this is that he has menial job as a swamper. To represent the fears of time Steinbeck writes about Candy being worried about getting the ''can'' as a result of his unimportance on the ranch, and this is shown when Steinbeck wrote ''I ain't much good with o'ny hand. I lost my hand right here on this ranch. That's why they give me a job swampin'' This suggests that the job was only given to Candy out of sympathy. Furthermore Candy saying ''I ain't much good'' shows his awareness of his own situation, being worthless to the ranch. Candy represents the aged sector that exists in every society, at the time the novel was written work was very scarce and if people were employed they would have to work hard to say in work. ...read more.

Middle

The end of this key chapter with Crooks in, chapter 4, unhappily ends how it began with Crooks rubbing medicine into his back, this is a powerful message put across to the audience which may evoke the reader to think that society will not change unless we change society. Crooks had briefly gained some respect from other white males and had hope for the future, but it is when this happens that a women shattered his hopes, this would be terrible to Crooks because women were thought to be lower and weaker than men, so being put down by Curley's wife made him worth nothing, just like during the beginning of this chapter. A character that is, in essence, unusual is Curley's Wife. She is unusual because she is the only female character who speaks in this novel. Steinbeck's portrayal of women in this novel is not in a good light, given that the men go to a brothel. Women typically represented as objects of sexual nature not as partners or equals but as. Curley's Wife is unusual in a way that she is the only women on a ranch full of men going around dressed to seduce, this can be shown in ''She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red.'' Steinbeck suggests that she is trouble by all the ''red'' in the description, with ''red'' bringing up connotations of danger. The red also can connote seduction. Steinbeck's character has a habit of looking for her husband which can suggest that she is lonely and is constantly seeking attention from the other men, another reason for dressing up seductively is to conceal her loneliness, Steinbeck includes her in the novel to portray the American housewife, wanting to be something more than a housewife. This was typical during this period of social change with Hollywood and women becoming celebrities, which is exciting compared to a life on the ranch. ...read more.

Conclusion

Against everyone being antagonistic to the relationship George stuck by Lennie until he could no more. Steinbeck's characters have a friendship that is destroyed by the attitudes in society of the period. In conclusion to this essay, Steinbeck has wrote misfits, unusual characters and cripples in 'Of Mice and Men' to show the faults and prejudices during the 1930's American depression, in which the novel was written. Steinbeck's characters portray different aspects to the life in the period. Crooks represents the life of a black man having to struggle through life being worth nothing because of skin colour, whilst Curley's Wife represents how a women struggles in a male dominant society, the male dominant society being the ranch itself. Candy symbolises the aged in the period, being old is being useless and unwanted. Though the novel has misfits, unusual characters and cripples they would not have as much affect if they were not contrast to the more stereotypical characters of the period. Curley and Carlson show the reader the bleak and lonely lives migrant workers had. The contrast has a bigger and more meaningful social statement made by Steinbeck. The writer effectively shows this at the end of the novel. '''Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?''' This enhances the social statement made by Steinbeck, with Slim consoling George but the other more usual characters, Curley and Carlson, not coming together after the whole plot Steinbeck keeps them apart and socially distant, unaware of the situation George is in. the novel is also concluded within the novel where the image of the water snake an the heron. The whole novel is summarised, with the calmness to the heron snatching the water snake. Steinbeck implies this animal image that humans in a society live like animals and how that we have not evolved to be more tolerable of peoples differences; the consequence of this is Lennie's death. Steinbeck conveys marvellously that this will keep transpiring as the heron returns to the pool to catch another water snake. ?? ?? ?? ?? Arran Stanier English Coursework Miss Yates ...read more.

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