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What do we learn about Steinbeck's views of human nature from reading 'of mice and men' ?

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Introduction

What do we learn about Steinbeck's views of human nature from reading 'of mice and men' ? Steinbeck, like many others believes that everyone, including those who do not deserve it, needs affection and attention. This shows us that Steinbeck sees humans as social beings, in the book he defines this as 'people go crazy if they are alone and have no contact with others'. Two characters from 'of mice and men' that are examples of this are: Crooks and Curley's wife. Crooks is alienated and marginalised because he is coloured and is a cripple, Curley's wife is alienated and marginalised because she is a woman. In 'of mice and men' there are three main themes that we can use to analyse Steinbeck's views: Loneliness, hopes and dreams, and violence. Steinbeck shows that some of the characters are marginalised and alienated by the other ranch hands because they are different to themselves. ...read more.

Middle

Crooks was confided to his own room, which made him even more lonely and spiteful. The men marginalise Crooks by calling him derogatory names like 'nigger' and other racist comments and not letting him into the bunkhouse too play cards. A quote given by Crooks 'they play cards in there, but I can't play because I'm black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all stink to me'. This shows how Crooks reacts to these comments, he gets defensive and becomes spiteful, yet in the company of Curley's wife (after she launches an attack on him) he becomes very quiet and curls himself into a ball. We could say that Lennie is lonely but he has George and is only Lonely in his head. Steinbeck describes that people have hopes and dreams. I feel that people have these hopes and dreams because there is something that is missing from their lives and they need these dreams to feel complete in themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

He shows this to us in the form of George who is constantly forgiving and sympathetic to Lennie because he knows, that he can't help being like he is, Slim who sits down and talks to George, and Lennie who gets to know Crooks. Yet in characters such as Curley, Curley's wife and Carlson, they don't know Lennie or Crooks and don't want to. So they judge him in a spiteful, uncaring and unfair ways, an example of this is the last line of the book where Carlson says ' now what the hell ya think is eatin' them two guys?' after George has just killed his best friend. I know that if I had just done that I would need a shoulder to cry on. Steinbeck shows us that some of the characters - Crooks and Curley's wife - were victims of their age by making Crooks suffer from racism and Curley's wife suffer from sexism both of which occur but less often. Zoe Wheeler Miss Biggs G59 29/10/02 ...read more.

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