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What do we learn about the life of a ranch worker from the Novel “Of Mice and Men,” by John Steinbeck?

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Introduction

What do we learn about the life of a ranch worker from the Novel "Of Mice and Men," by John Steinbeck? The late 1920's and the 1930's were hard times in America. They were times of depression, poverty and hardship many millions of people were unemployed and looking for any work available to them. "Of Mice of Men," is set in this period of unemployment and depression and is about two ranch workers Lennie and George who are migrant workers. The majority of Ranch workers were migrant workers they travelled around the country looking for jobs this is because jobs were so scarce that in order to find work people had to travel around the country looking for employment. There was also the constant threat of being fired "canned," at anytime when Curley has a fight with Lennie and Lennie crushes his hand Gorge asks Slim ", are we gonna get canned now." This is because the smallest things could get a worker fired so they had to be careful. We also hear this from Candy when he is talking about his injured hand and how as soon as he no longer useful the boss will fire him. ...read more.

Middle

Everybody in the novel is lonely except for Lennie and George because they have each other. As George says ", Guys like us, that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world...They got no family. They don't belong no place...With us it ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us..." None of the workers stay in one place long enough to form permanent relationships. Candy is lonely because he is old. His only comfort was his old dog that kept him company. So when Candy's dog is dead he clutches onto Lennie and George's dream of being independent. Curley's wife is also lonely; she is forbidden to talk to anyone else by Curley and becomes bored all day in the house so approaches the workers for company, which results in them seeing her as a tart. Crooks is another character in the book that is lonely due to his isolation because he is different, he longs for human company but because of difference in race he remains alone and isolated. Whit a character that features briefly in the novel tells us a lot about the loneliness of a ranch worker. ...read more.

Conclusion

For Crooks this is his childhood, times when he used to play with white kids and he didn't understand racism. Lennie remembers his Aunt Clara and how she gave him mice. So in general childhood was a happy time. Another key theme in the novel is dreams. Everybody has a dream. Lennie and George's dream is a simple one: to be there own bosses and be independent and live within in their means. As Crooks points it is a very common dream for a ranch worker to have but none of them get the piece of land that they want so badly. But George and Lennie have heard this dream so many times that it almost becomes believable and it is so powerful that Candy having heard it once is then captivated by it even the cynical Crooks is believes in the dream for a short time. But it is this dream that keeps them going and motivated the idea of being independent. Curley's dream is to be able to beat everybody up and be one of the best welterweights. Even Curley's wife has a dream: to be a Hollywood actress, which she claims nearly, came true. But it is in these dreams the characters seek joy and happiness. But it is significant that none of the characters achieve their dreams. Edward Bird L5H1 ...read more.

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