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To what extent is Of Mice and Men a pessimistic novel?

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English Assignment To what extent is Of Mice and Men a pessimistic novel? By Sion Brooks 11N To what extent is Of Mice and Men a pessimistic novel? Of Mice and Men is set during the depression of the 1930's in California in a place called Soledad. Men travelled around looking for any work they could find usually on ranches, they had to leave families and homes just to make money. Even firms and companies went bankrupt, these were depressing and desperate times with no hope and no future for the ranch workers at all. But does Of Mice and Men reflect these times? Does it offer a depressing, bleak outline on life and say that there's no future or hope for any of us? In other words is it a pessimistic novel? Or is Of Mice and Men just a sad and tragic tale of two friends having their hopes and dreams tarnished in the blink of an eye, similar in vain to Romeo and Juliet? At this point in time I would have to say yes, it is a pessimistic novel, well mostly anyway, but read on and see what you think. Lets look at the characters, George is not a strong man physically, but what he is lacking physically he makes up for in his mentality. Although his abundance of mental strength does not become apparent until later in the story, it is fairly obvious from the beginning that his physical strength is lacking. Lennie, on the other hand, is physically "strong as a bull", according to George, but mentally is a weak as George is physically. ...read more.


He appreciates all of the joy and loyalty that his once great dog has brought to him during his life and is ready to let his friend now live out the rest of his natural life. Unfortunately for Candy, that is not the way that some of the other people in the bunkhouse see it, Carlson says: "This ol' dog jus' suffers hisself all the time. If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head... right there, why he'd never know what hit him". Carlson even offers to give him a new dog to replace the one that he is about to destroy. The way that Candy sees it is that he is not hurting anyone and that there is no reason to have to end his life prematurely. But no one else in the bunkhouse agrees, Candy makes some desperate attempts at saving his dog but is unsuccessful, it seems that an old man has no chance of standing up to the younger men in this modern world and so the dog is shot. "The old dog got slowly and stiffly to his feet and followed the gently pulling leash...Candy lay rigidly on his bed staring at the ceiling" This scene like the fighting scene with Lennie and Curley both conjure up feelings of desperateness and hopelessness and just makes you ask the question, what's the point in living, if I'm living like this? Not all the characters on the ranch are aggressive like Curly and unfeeling like Carlson; Slim was very humane and very friendly towards George and Lennie and sticks up for Lennie during the fight scene between him and Curley. ...read more.


The tragedy, of course, is that no matter how much George and Lennie plan and regardless of how much they hope and dream, their plans never come true. This is a story of defeated hope. George and Lennie are poor homeless migrant workers, doomed to a life of wandering and labour. George and Lennie desperately cling to the thought that they are different from other workers who drift from ranch to ranch because, unlike others, they have each other and a future. But characters like Crooks and Curley's Wife serve as reminders that George and Lennie are no different from anyone else. By killing Lennie, George eliminates an immense burden and a threat to his own life (Lennie, of course, never threatened George directly but his actions had put George's life in danger). The tragedy is that George, in effect, is forced to shoot his only companion, who made him different than many other workers, as well his own dream and admit that it has his plans have gone hopelessly wrong. His new burden is now hopelessness and loneliness, the life of a homeless ranch worker. Slim's comfort at the end "you hadda George" indicates the sad truth that you have to surrender your dreams in order to survive. Sion Brooks 11N N.B I don't think I used the fact that Steinbeck describes a lot of the natural world very well in this assignment to create a positive atmosphere very well, please suggest ways I could improve that section. Also I added the evaluation part at the last minute as I found the meaning of the title at the last minute on the Internet and I didn't have time to rewrite the conclusion with this new information in it, sorry. 1 ...read more.

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