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To what extent can Of Mice and Men be described as a tragic novel?

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Ravi Kadiwar To what extent can ?Of Mice and Men? be described as a tragic novel? The novella ?Of Mice and Men? tells us about the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small; two migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California. The Great Depression was a time of hardship for everybody especially ranch workers. It prevented people from living the life they desired. If there was an opening for one man, there would be ten men competing for it. They would work for extremely low wages or even just for food. Many people lived in poverty bartering between jobs. The story also took place during the time of The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, which was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage. Millions of acres of farmland became useless, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes; many of these families migrated to California and other states, where they found economic conditions little better during the Great Depression than those they had left. Owning no land, many became migrant workers who travelled from farm to farm working hard at starvation wages just like George and Lennie. ...read more.


Lennie really wants rabbits to look after. George, along with his new friend Candy, wants to have the freedom to do their own work, and be treated fairly. The dream cannot come true as Lennie had accidently killed Curley's Wife. As a result of this Curley wanted to make sure that Lennie died a slow and painful death. Luckily George found Lennie first and killed him in a way that Lennie was not scared, nor could he feel any real pain. Crooks in the novel has a dream of becoming equal with white people because he is black. This can be seen when he is in his room and tells Lennie, ?S?pose you didn't have nobody. S?pose you couldn't go into the bunk house and play rummy ?cause you were black... A guy needs somebody - to be near him... I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an? he gets sick.? He is also drawn to George, Lennie and Candy's dream for a little while but then withdraws, because he realizes the situation, that being a black man he wouldn?t be treated equally. ...read more.


Thirdly, we have Candy and Lennie who are physically and mentally damaged respectively. Candy has a damaged arm and is also getting very old. When he says, ?You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn't no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody'd shoot me. But they won't do nothing like that. I won't have no place to go, an' I can't get no more jobs.? This shows us that Candy realizes that he's weak and not really important to anyone on the farm. His future relates to the one of his dog who was also getting very old and was starting to become handful. Lennie is considered to be an outsider because of his mental age, and the fact that he does not understand everything that everyone tells him. He may also be considered to be an outsider because he travels with another man, George, and as the men say on the ranch ?there aint alot of men that travel round together.? Lennie?s sheer size may also have something to do with the fact that he is an outsider. He is much larger than the other men on the ranch and is also much stronger. ...read more.

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