• 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 people. Are there "too many cripples, misfits and unusual characters" in the novel to consider Steinbeck's portrayal as true life?

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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. Marked by a teacher

    How does Steinbeck present ...

    5 star(s)

    ' I didn't mean to scare you. He'll come back'; he doesn't want to be left alone again. Then Crooks tells Lennie how he wishes he could have someone with him like George and Lennie. 'S'pose you didn't have anybody....

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How does Steinbeck present Crooks in the extract? What is the importance of crooks ...

    3 star(s)

    They work like the animals until they have outlived their usefulness. Crooks, more than the rest, is seen as animal-like because of the colour of his skin. His living space is also second-class to the bunkhouse. We can see this because the room is said to be no more than

  1. Prejudice Within The Novel Of Mice And Men.

    The other character who is discriminated against because of a physical disability is Candy. Candy, already a victim of ageism has only one hand, which means that his place within the ranch is not that of a prominent one. He would most likely be given a smaller amount of work

  2. How does John Steinbeck use George as a symbol of good friendship in ...

    Hide until I come for you . . . If you get in trouble"(Steinbeck 34). When Curley's wife and Lennie were left alone, Curley's wife told Lennie to feel her hair because it was so soft. Lennie, who can't control his strength, snaps her neck, killing her. Lennie remembers what George told him and runs to the river.

  1. How Does Steinbeck Use The Character Of Crooks To Highlight Certain Issues Which Were ...

    is that of an animal, they class him as dirt, lower then the horses. His bed is just a box on hay and blankets as well, which is also Steinbeck creating an image of a man treated like an animal.

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

    He is therefore alone in his misery. He does however, have one companion. His old dog. This dog is important in Candy's life because, "I been around him so much I never notice how he stinks." Candy has had that dog since it was a pup and he had many good memories with it.

  1. How does Steinbeck explore different attitudes to women in Of Mice and Men?

    Curley?s wife begins to be presented in a sympathetic way as the story progresses. Finally, Steinbeck offers a sympathetic view of Curley?s wife in chapter 5 by allowing her to voice her unhappiness and her own dream for a better life.

  2. How does Steinbeck explore different attitudes towards women in 'Of Mice and Men'?

    Once Curley?s wife is dead, the writing is much more lyrical and descriptive again. The men in the novel treat the women as negative and domesticated people. Curley?s wife wears a ?cotton house dress? which symbolises that she belongs in the house and shouldn?t be allowed out.

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