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"Of Mice and Men" is chiefly concerned with imprisonment and repression. How does Steinbeck present such themes within the novella?

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"Of Mice and Men" is chiefly concerned with imprisonment and repression. How does Steinbeck present such themes within the novella? All of the characters within Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" have a dream, yet this dream is unobtainable because they are trapped, inside the ranch and inside themselves. They cannot break out because of their lifestyle and their need for work and money. Lennie and George dream of having their own ranch and "live off the fatta the lan'" yet they hold each other back. George represses Lennie, he has become like a father to him but will not let Lennie grow up, Lennie cannot talk without George's permission. "What are you gonna say tomorrow when the boss asks you questions?" Lennie, however, realises that George cares for him and he has learnt to manipulate George, "If you don't want me you only jus' got to say so, and I'll go off into those hills right there." Lennie makes George guilty, so that George feels that he has to stay with him. Neither will let each other go, as neither knows about life without them. ...read more.


Curley, whilst he seems like he is in control of his life, is imprisoned within his personality. Curley is the Boss' son and feels that he must live up to the Boss' reputation and be an unofficial leader for the ranch workers, the fact that Slim seems to have taken this role angers him. He is married and uses this to his advantage, he has something that the others do not have and uses this to intimidate the others and show off, "seems like Curley is cockier than ever since he got married." However, Curley cannot control his wife and is paranoid that she may be seeing another worker, he is looking for her throughout the text, he knows her flirtatious nature and suspects others of being with his wife. It is pointed out by others that Curley is "like a lot of other little guys. He hates big guys" he feels that has to prove himself, just because he is mall does not' mean that he isn't' strong. Curley likes to be in control and make others fear him and this holds him back, if he behaved like any of the ranch workers then it is likely that he would be accepted but he cannot change himself now. ...read more.


Candy is not given chance to think or consider suggestions, during the conversation about his dog he seemed pressured into the decision. Carlson is speaking at him rather than to him and he is given very little time to form a counter argument. The town where the ranch is situated is called Soledad, which means, in Spanish, loneliness or secluded. George and Lennie have to walk miles to reach the ranch, suggesting that it is isolated. Once on the ranch workers are stuck doing the same monotonous tasks daily. Whilst workers could escape from that particular ranch, it would only be to find another. Because of the Depression, workers were stuck travelling from place to place in search of work and once they had found one place, some were reluctant to move on for fear of not being able to find any more work. Migrant workers were very low down in the social hierarchy and found it difficult to break out, as they needed the money. Steinbeck presents themes of imprisonment and repression well, with many ideas not apparent on the first read. His novella is a look at life in 1930s America and he manages to show how life was for many different types of people and shows how everyone was trapped in some way. ...read more.

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