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Of Mice and Men is set in the American depression of 1937.

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Introduction

Of Mice and Men first draft The novel of Mice and Men is set in the American depression of 1937. The American depression was a hard time for the American people. Steinbeck was inspired by the experience he undertook during 1919 to 1926. He worked as a manual, unskilled farm labourer on ranches in northern California. The book was written after 'In Dubious Battle', which caused scandal left, right and centre. It inspired Steinbeck to write this book. The book is about two ranch workers who travel together and they both long for a farm of their own and are great friends. George and Lennie are the main focus of the story and live an unfortunate life. They work all day and play cards and drink most the other time. The book also includes other characters such as Crooks, Curley, Curley's wife, Slim and Candy. In there own way each of these characters help to keep the book flowing. Crooks is a stable hand that looks after the stables. He is often singled out, as he is black. Curley is the son of the boss who owns the ranch. He is an ill-tempered person who is feared by others throughout the book. Curley's wife is never referred to by her real name because Steinbeck is trying to portray an image of her being un-important and like Crooks is singled out as she is of a different sex to every other person on the ranch. Slim is the man who keeps everything running smoothly and is often the person everyone turns to for support. He is a lonely person who does not make friends quickly. He tries not to get to close to a person as they often leave after a couple of weeks. Candy is an old man who is one of the most important characters as he is the gossiper who lets the characters and us know what is going on. ...read more.

Middle

He's a lightweight and he's handy." I used this quote to show how friendly Curley is by warning them against the people who could get them in trouble. He does this so George and Lennie will be grateful and friendly towards him. Candy is a kind, old man who has no limit of friendship towards people who want to be friends with him. He like George wants to do the best by everybody but he finds that hard as he gossips non-stop. Candy confesses to George and Lennie that he hopes for a similar fate in which his dog died. He wants this because before George and Lennie arrived he had no aims in life and was lonely and miserable. He thinks that he can be peaceful again. When he overhears George and Lennie talking of their dream, Candy offers all his money to be in on the dream. He wants to be in on the dream because totally out of the blue when his life had run its course, a chance to make something of himself pops up and he jumps at the opportunity to distinguish his aims in life. Candy clings to a hope of a future because before Lennie and George came along he was just going to die an old man with no meaning in his life. He never really was going anywhere and settled for what ever seemed to be around. He tried to get out of this by entering into the dream that George and Lennie shared. "Candy sat on the edge of his bunk. He scratched the stump of his wrist nervously. 'I got hurt four years ago,' he said. 'they'll can me purty soon. Jus as' soon as I can't swamp out on no bunk houses they'll put me on the county. Maybe if I give you guys my money, you'll let me hoe in the garden." ...read more.

Conclusion

"Strong as a bull," (43) Steinbeck often uses animal imagery to describe Lennie, as he wants to portray him being strong like a bear or as big as a bull. "Dragging his feet a little the way a bear drags his paws" (19) Animal imagery helps us understand Lennie more as a person because it highlights his strengths and not his weaknesses. At the end when he is stroking Curley's wife's hair he snaps her neck like a bear would if he was killing something big. In conclusion I think that most of the characters are lonely in one way or another. George is lonely because his best friend has died and his one bit of happiness has been snatched away by a 'tart'. Crooks is lonely because he is black and is a victim of racial discrimination. He is also un-equal to everybody else because he's black and disabled. Candy is lonely because he has no family, he's getting old, he's disabled and his dog was brutally and unfairly killed. He is also un-equal because he is old and disabled. Curley's wife is lonely because she has a bad husband; she's the only woman on the farm and has no company. She is un-equal because she is female and suffers sexism. Slim is lonely because he has no real friends or family to talk of and throws himself whole-heartedly into his job. When migrant workers come to a ranch they are often lonely because they are displaced from families, broken up by need for work and have little hope of settling down with a wife and family or even to have friends. Against this atmosphere the friendship between George and Lennie is more special because it's rare. Steinbeck often draws attention to how unusual their friendship is merely by making the other characters comment on it. "Ain't many guys travel around together,' Slim mused 'I don't know why. Maybe ever' body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.' (57) Steinbeck also finds another way of symbolizing 'loneliness'-Soledad in Spanish means 'lonely'. Nicole Appleby 08/05/2007 1 ...read more.

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