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Points of comparison between 'Of Mice and Men' by john Steinbeck and 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy.

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Introduction

Points of comparison between 'Of Mice and Men' by john Steinbeck and 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy. Include social and historical context, setting, plot, characters, theme and language. 'The Withered Arm' written by Thomas Hardy and 'Of Mice and Men' written by John Steinbeck have many differences in their social and historical background but similarities can be seen between the two. Of Mice and Men' is set in Soledad, California during America's great depression in the 1930's. Transport was very different then, most people travelled around on foot or by horseback. There were busses but very few of them and if you were a couple of 'bindle stiffs' like George and Lennie you never got a full ride or taken to where you wanted to go. A train were available but for people like George and Lennie hiding in boxcars and riding for free was more common. As it was during the great depression many businesses went bankrupt and many people lost their jobs. This was the reason that many people, including George and Lennie, travelled around so much looking for work. Work was mostly found on farms and ranches but pay was very little. Wages were $50 per month with food and accommodation included. However the accommodation was very basic, they were communal bunkhouses so George and Lennie and anyone else had little privacy. Jobs on the ranch weren't that glamorous either, 'barley bucking' was the most common then there were skinners, stable bucks and swappers. There were few employment rights and no job security because as soon as a job was finished workers were just dropped and had to move on to find other jobs in other places. ...read more.

Middle

So I married Curley. Met him out to the Riverside Dance Palace that same night" Curley doesn't seem to pay that much attention to her or care about her, as he doesn't hesitate to go to the 'cat house' in town with all the guys and leave her on her own. In 'The Withered Arm' the incomer in this story is Gertrude. She enters the story as Farmer Lodges new wife. Unlike Lennie and George, Gertrude enters the story at the top of the social scale. However, like George and Lennie she also doesn't receive the friendliest of welcomes and all the villages are very curious about her on her arrival, " 'Well, did you see her?' ". In 'The Withered Arm' there is also an injury but this one is very different to the one in 'Of Mice and Men'. This injury has a strange, paranormal meaning to it as the dream Rhoda had about hitting Gertrude's arm mysteriously comes true when a hand mark appears on her arm and it starts to wither, "She uncovered her left arm, and their outline confronted Rhoda's gaze as the exact original of the limb she had beheld and seized in her dream". In this story there is also an unhappy marriage of Gertrude and Farmer Lodge. At the beginning of the story they seem like a happy couple in love but he only really sees her as is pretty girl to go on his arm, "you must expect to be stared at just at first, my pretty Gertrude". When Gertrude becomes marked and her arm begins to wither, Farmer Lodge begins to loose interest. As Gertrude becomes imperfect the marriage begins to fall apart, "'six years off marriage and only a few months of love' " The female characters in both stories have many differences through how they live but some similarities can be made between the three. ...read more.

Conclusion

" 'We'll take 'um into Soledad an' get 'um fixed up' ", all 'um means is him, and the 'd' is misses off of 'and'. Using the actually dialect and slang makes the story sound more real and to try and give you more of an idea about what each character is like. In 'The Withered Arm' Hardy also uses slang and dialect to bring his characters to life and make them sound more realistic through the way they speak. Nineteenth century 'Wessex' has a very different dialect to 'Of Mice and Men'. " 'He do bring his bride home tomorrow' ", almost doesn't make sense but it just mean that 'he will bring his bride home'. " 'Ah- 'tis all a-scram' ", just means that 'it is all shrivelled up'. The dialect in this story also has completely different word for things like 'chimmer' means bedroom and 'fancied' means imagined. Hardy uses all this language to make his story and characters more believable and to give the effect of the place it's set in. Out of these two stories I preferred 'Of Mice and Men' by john Steinbeck. I think that this story has more of a powerful ending than 'The Withered Arm'. I think that 'Of Mice and Men' is more realistic than 'The Withered Arm' because in 'The Withered Arm' the ending is all tied up neatly and really that's not like real life. Where as in 'Of Mice and Men' it just ends and is left open like it can carry on, just like life really is. "Curley and Carlson looked after them. And Carlson said, 'Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?' ". I think that 'Of Mice and Men' has a more interesting plot that keeps your reading till the end unlike 'The Withered Arm' that I found got a bit boring. By Lorna Peltell 11T1 ...read more.

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