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Of Mice and Men - review

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Introduction

Steinbecks novel, Of Mice and Men portrays the idea of the "ordinary peoples" hard lives at this time and their struggle to survive in their mundain lives for fear of getting "canned". His perseption of the migrant workers living and working during this period is very accurate and he illustrates this through each individual character and their priorities and views on life. Steinbeck was born and raised within Salinas itself and chose to base and set his novel in this area due to his sheer cultural knowledge and strong feelings towards the place. Salinas is situated in California which was undergoing a lot of pressure from the great depression at this point in time. Due to the wall street crash of 1929, the whole of America's ecconomy crashed leaving thousands of people pennyless and with a vast struggle upon them. Many were left in debt, unable to stay in their homes and desperate for jobs. The unemployment rate was extautionately high leading to mass competition for work and the migrant workers were forced to travel miles just in the chance that a job working on the land may become available. John Steinbeck aims to depict people from a variety of different backgrounds and personalities having to share the life of a migrant worker with one another. He represents the white, black, handicapped, crippled and general so called "normal people" as well as the misfits of society and their toil to survive the migrant worker impersonal and lonely lifestyle. ...read more.

Middle

His "crooked back" that gave him his nickname also came, as a great disability to him as he was unable to perform tasks or work as hard as the other men. He was therefore treated much as Candy was - a dispensable, soulless nobody. With a job merely as a stable buck his life was forever in jeopardy as well as he depended on his job for money and lived life in "fear of getting' canned". Steinbeck attempts to show crooks actual humanity as he is left alone with Lennie, the first to talk to in depth for a long time. Crooks feels comforted by this after deciding Lennie is harmless and it enables him to open up and for us to see the true Crooks. Although he is very grateful to Lennie for the opportunity to share his feelings, he becomes aware that he is superior to Lennie in mental knowledge and sees a chance to feel more contented with his life and seeks it out. However his new found realisation, glimmer of hope and images of the possibility of becoming a part of the dream and a friendship are shattered when Curley's wife enters. She brings down his confidence and represents the whole of society's views upon blacks at this time of the great depression and their status in life. They are even considered to be lower than women which Curley's wife acts upon similarly to the way that Crooks did to Lennie as she sees an opportunity to feel authority over another being and takes it. ...read more.

Conclusion

George is most likely to be the only typical migrant worker featured in the novel due to his life being surrounded with work and the toil to survive these times. Constantly on the move and with little money he falls into the category of a 'normal' worker, however he had something that all the other men did not have and longed for; a companion. George and Lennies relationship although controversial and questionable during this period, was a point of great jealousy for the other men, someone to share feelings and a dream with. Lennie relied on George for everything and we see their father-son relationship remain consistent throughout due to the dream and hope for the future that they share. This enables their bond to grow stronger right the way through the novel and emphasised the other migrant workers loneliness more evidently. The wide variety of misfits featured in the novel could appear to be at an apposing amount and perhaps too many were added as the reader could be left with a miss understanding of the life of a normal, usual worker at this time. However every character is very representative of the different problems that people faced in society at this time, whether they be black, white, crippled, dumb, male or female, they all have a story to tell and share a struggle upon them to fight the loneliness and typical life of a migrant worker. Without characters like these the novel would be very limited and unable to explore the problems within society during the 1930's and the way that it affected the whole of America and it's people! ...read more.

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