• 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 to life? Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men'

Extracts from this document...


Benjamin Lewis 11Y2 '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 to life? Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' is a novel about people, their dreams, relationships and disappointments. The characters are diverse and represent a cross section of society during the American Depression of the 1930's. The novel is set in Steinbeck's birthplace of Salinas Valley, California, and it is at the ranch where he grew up that we meet the majority of characters. There are three specific locations in the novel where most of the story unfolds, these are; the banks of the Salinas River, the bunkhouse and the barn. 'Of Mice and Men' has a number of central themes evident in the novel such as loneliness; hope and the American Dream, and the strength and importance of friendships. These themes are pivotal to the characters' development and behaviour with each other in the novel. A large number of the characters in 'Of Mice and Men' have something wrong with them; this is because Steinbeck is writing about the vulnerability of being an outsider. Migrant workers are, by their nature, 'misfits' due to the fact they are displaced and are, therefore, unconnected to the people around them. George and Lenny are unusual in that they have each other. Furthermore, I feel 'Of Mice and Men' is true to life as Steinbeck is writing about the debris of the Depression and these are the very characters, the 'cripples' and 'misfits', who would have found it hardest to find work and would have had to leave their homes to find jobs. ...read more.


In the 1930's racism was widespread making Crooks a misfit and because of this a lot of the novel is devoted to him. The readers of the period would have learned a lot about black people from Crooks. For example, the fact that he has feelings, is clever and wants to be friends with the whites on the farm. The chapter devoted to Crooks shows that the society that Steinbeck lived in needed to change, and it could change if everyone had the same perspective that Lennie had on the matter. The character Crooks is more than a 'cripple' as he is a person who is proud of what he has in life. He has exceeded people's expectations of a black man in the 1930's and has done well for himself. Even though he is often being discriminated against, he stands up for himself. He also has taught himself to read. He is keen to point out that his upbringing is not that of the stereotyped southern negro, but that he is from the North and was accepted by the white kids as a child Although, once again, this character is a cripple and misfit he is totally true to life and relevant in 1930's America. Curley's wife is the only female character in the novel. She portrays the struggle of a woman in 1930's society. She would have been seen as less important than a man, but more important than a black person. This meant that on the ranch she was one of the least respected people. ...read more.


An' ever God damn one of 'em never gets it.' George is an unusual character due to his friendship with Lennie. This is the way that Steinbeck portrays George with a difference; most migrant workers of the period would not have experienced a friendship like George had with Lennie. George is loyal to Lennie and would never leave his side and makes the greatest sacrifice for Lennie when he kills him, as he saves him from a merciless death, but in doing so he loses his best friend. This friendship causes lots of questions from the characters they meet in the novel. Steinbeck includes these to show the reader what a migrant worker's life is like. However through this friendship the reader learns that not all of society is unwilling to include a misfit like Lennie. Three other characters in the novel are represented as neither cripples nor misfits except for being ranch workers. Curly is privileged in being the boss's son and has prestige as a prize-winning boxer, yet he is still isolated from the other men by his status and his suspicion of them regarding his wife. Carlson is a loner due to his insensitivity In conclusion, I do not consider that there are ''too many cripples, misfits and unusual characters' in the novel to consider Steinbeck's portrayal as true to life' as although each character is unique, they all possess characteristics which are totally believable and representative of a cross-section of American society. The characters portray the importance of true friendship, loneliness, a man's ability to dream and having someone to share the dream with, in addition to the vulnerability of being an outsider. ...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 ain't a southern Negro. I was born right here in California'. This shows that Crooks doesn't seem himself as a Negro, he sees himself as an equal because he was born here, where they are born. Crooks tells Lennie about his past; how he use to play with other

  2. "Hopes and Dreams Help People to Survive, Even if they can Never Become Real"How ...

    those bigger than himself "He's alla time picking scraps with big guys." His own hope is that he can prove himself to be a big tough guy and get the respect of the other men, he tries to fulfil this with his boxing but still he is a laughing stock with the workers, as he cannot control his own wife.

  1. Free essay

    Discuss the themes of loneliness and dreams in the novel Of Mice and Men ...

    He taunts Lennie about George not returning. When he does eventually allow himself to be drawn into the dream of working on George and Lennie's farm, he is immediately shut out by George's anger. Crooks feels "...A guys goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he with you...I tell ya...

  2. Prejudice Within The Novel Of Mice And Men.

    This shows that whilst Curley should be mourning the death of his wife, instead he is more interested in causing hurt and damage to whoever was responsible. Also, Curley's wife position as a wife is belittled, as she knows about Curley's visits to the whorehouse making her feel inadequate and insufficient.

  1. How does John Steinbeck present the theme of loneliness in his novel 'Of Mice ...

    But that doesn't mean that George doesn't think about what life would be like without Lennie. I think he secretly fantasises about what his life would be like, without Lennie pulling him down. However, he also knows that he wouldn't be able to leave Lennie, because Lennie is weak and vulnerable.

  2. Compare the Ways in which John Steinbeck and Thomas Hardy Explore the Theme of ...

    As always the men are wary and bid her leave and in response her bitter temper rises. Crooks stands up to her, thinking outside his place in his newfound happiness, and she drills into him, makes him again realise just who he is, how little all he says and thinks is valued and how much power she holds over him.

  1. How does John Steinbeck convey the importance of the American dream in his novel ...

    George's version of the dream is more centered on the idea of owning land and controlling his life. He wants to live somewhere where nobody has any hold of him. He is aware that while he is working on someone else's land there is always a slight possibility that he will be 'canned'.

  2. How does Steinbeck portray life on the ranch in Chapter 2 of "Of Mice ...

    Steinbeck also presents George as an exception to the filthy ranch workers as he ?made his bed up neatly with blankets?.

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