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What does Steinbecks Of Mice and Men tell us about life in the 1930s

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Introduction

What does Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men tell us about life in America in the 1930s? 'Of Mice and Men' is a novel set on a ranch in the Salinas Valley in California during the Great Depression of the 1930s. George is 'small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features.' Lennie is 'his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide sloping shoulders.' They have just come from the town of Weed in Northern California where Lennie had got himself into some sort of trouble, forcing them to flee south. There they are now looking for new work on a ranch. As the two talk it becomes clear that Lennie is mentally handicapped: he cannot quite remember what had happened in Weed; he speaks with a child's vocabulary; him bursting into tears when George makes him give up the dead mouse is a good example of this. In the story Steinbeck shows how life was in the 1930s though out the whole novel. There are many instances of foreshadowing in Steinbeck's 'Of mice and Men'. While they may not be noticed at first, they stick out like a sore thumb in the end. In the beginning, it is apparent to the readers, that the dead mouse in Lennie's pocket is not just a trivial incident. ...read more.

Middle

'Well, you keep your place then, nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny.' This was typical of the 1930s America as black people were thought of as inferior to white people. This suggests that Crooks was friendless. He has his 'own bunk in a separate nigger room' and 'he scattered personal possessions around the floor; for being alone he could leave things about'. Crooks is obviously suffering from racial discrimination as he is the only black man on the ranch and is disgustingly not allowed in the bunkroom with the other men because of his skin colour. Steinbeck also uses Candy to portray loneliness. The disconsolate Candy becomes lonely after his beloved dog was shot. The men in the ranch describe the dog as an 'old bastard' and a 'stinking hound'. Candy feels dejected as he says 'I wish somebody would shoot me when I become useless'. This proves that Steinbeck describes Candy as lonely character. Personally I think the loneliest character, which Steinbeck creates in the novel, is Curley's wife. She is the only female in the ranch and although she is married, you never witness the distinct couple of Curly and his wife together; they are always searching for each other. Curley's wife is lonely and, as a result of this, she was endlessly trying to make friends with George and Lenny. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was better for George, who loved Lennie. Just like Candy and his dog George did the same. It is wrong to shoot anyone in general, but especially your best friend. Under these circumstances though, anyone would agree to George's choice, unless they couldn't see the whole picture. George's actions were the exactly right things to do at the time. Almost every scene leads to the ending. Pretty much every single thing is parallel or foreshadows what is going to happen. When George remembers that Lennie once grabbed a woman's dress and would not let go you sense the Curley's wife might be next. Last, Lennie's strong squeezing of Curley's hand shows how he could easily kill someone. The things that happen to Candy's dog, parallel to Lennie's fate. Candy loves the animal, just as George loves Lennie. When Candy feels sorry that he didn't shoot his own dog his words foreshadow the decision that George makes to shoot Lennie, life in the 1930s was hard, selfish and a merciless life even without the depression that was happening at the time. This is what Steinbeck is trying to tell us throughout the book, about America in the 1930s. Conclusion Overall Steinbeck demonstrates the hardship of the 1930's stating crewel and sadistic events that seem to be normal to everyday life and which shock us in our present lifestyles, this is what Steinbeck is trying and has achieved. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Jack Arran 14 Mar. 10 - 1 - ...read more.

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