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What do you learn from this novel about the lives and treatment of migrant farm workers and woman? The novel 'Of Mice and Men' written by John Steinbeck,

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Introduction

In' of mice and men ' the major characters act out their drama against the background of ranch in 1930s California. What do you learn from this novel about the lives and treatment of migrant farm workers and woman? The novel 'Of Mice and Men' written by John Steinbeck, explores life in rural America of individuals during the 1930's. It tells the story of George and Lennie, two migrant workers, and a range of other characters on a ranch. Steinbeck uses dreams of certain characters to give us an insight into their hopes and ambitions, but also how the period in which the novel is set, restricts them from fulfilling them. Steinbeck won a Nobel Prize Award for the novel. Giving his speech, he felt it a writer's duty to look at people's dreams to see how the world could be improved. George and Lennie are two migrant workers who differ from others. This is purely because they travel around together and trust each other. George and Lennie have contrasting personalities. Lennie has a childlike understanding of the world, whereas, George is more responsible and mature. Slim said that there "ain't many guys travel around together." This suggests that George and Lennie's relationship is very unusual, as it was a time of depression, and migrant workers move around a lot and become isolated. ...read more.

Middle

Candy then interrupted him by saying that he would "make a will," and leave all his share to George and Lennie in case he 'kicks off'. Candy needs no persuasion to be part of the dream, because he longs to make his life right and have something to look forward to. Crooks seems through most of the book to be the loneliest character due to his colour and because of his disability. He was excluded from the group and even George felt some hatred and dislike of him because he shouted at Lennie and was also influenced by the rest of the group. We don't meet Crooks until well into the book and we only have a few conversations to go from but the one he has with Lennie gives us a large insight to his loneliness. He describes his hate of all the other men at the ranch, "They say, I stink, well I tell you, you all of you stink to me." As the black man at the ranch, he is seen as a lower, less civilized person in the ranch and is only ever invited to a bunkhouse at Christmas, and only that is so Curley can beat him up. They treat him like dirt, and unsurprisingly he is bitter and angry towards all white men because of it. His bitterness is shown in the way he emotionally tortures Lennie, when he starts to put things into his mind about George never coming back. ...read more.

Conclusion

The characters have these dreams because they want something to look forward to, and all of them seem to want to escape 'ranch life' to do something they have always wanted to do. George, Lennie and Candy have money to achieve their dream, but their dream comes to a halt when Lennie kills Curley's wife. Following this, George decides he must take action. When George finds Lennie, he protects him from suffering, by killing Lennie, himself, before Curley gets to him. Lennie's death represents the end of the dream, as after this unexpected disaster, George finally gives up on the dream, as he now knows it would not be possible to fulfill it. Curley's wife is unbelievably desperate to escape her husband and the ranch, but knows she would not be able to, as time has passed. She solely blames her mother for what happened to her, as she still believes her "ol' lady stole" from her; the letter, which would have enabled her to become famous. However, this letter might not have been real and she may have just been quite gullible. All the characters' dreams signify hope, independence and friendship, but none of the dreams are realized because life in the 1930's meant they were restricted. Steinbeck uses the dreams of the characters to reveal hopes and ambitions, but also how the period of the novel's setting restricts people. As John Steinbeck was a migrant worker during economic depression, he felt it a writer's duty to look at people's dreams to see how the world could be improved. ...read more.

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