• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What does the novel 'Of mice and men' tell you about the way of life and social attitudes at this time in America?

Extracts from this document...


What does the novel 'Of mice and men' tell you about the Way of life and social attitudes at this time in America? 'Of mice and men' was set in the 1930's which was during the time of the Great Depression where there was high unemployment and harsh poverty. This novel explores several themes that are relevant to attitudes in America at that time and deal with issues such as The Depression and its consequences, the American dream, racism, discrimination and the treatment of women that bring about loneliness. The main characters in this novel are George and Lennie who believe in the American dream thinking that if they work hard enough they will one day have their own land and a house to live in. Due to the Depression many workers had to travel around searching for work. They were paid low wages as they were unskilled, but many hoped to one day realise the American Dream, however, very few were able to achieve this and as such there is much loneliness in this story caused by this itinerant lifestyle: 'Guys like us that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world.' Many of the characters suffer from loneliness including Curley's wife who is treated badly by her husband who never spends any time with her and beats her, Curley mentioned he kept his 'glove fulla Vaseline'. There's several racial comments in this novel and Crooks who is black becomes isolated as none of the white guys on the ranch want to be around him, he's banned with playing games with them and is called a 'nigger'. ...read more.


I believe that Curley's wife is one of the loneliest characters, as she is the only woman on the ranch and the men are all afraid to talk to her. Curley's wife dresses like a tart and wears lots of red; 'She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes heavily made up. Her finger-nails were red....She wore a cotton house dress and red mules, on the insteps of which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers'. I think this is to get attention, but also could resemble a theme of danger. She also flirts with the ranch workers a lot. All the men think that she has got 'the eye' and that she is a tart, but she is actually just an insecure, lonely woman and this is shown when she tells Lennie, 'I never get to talk to nobody, I get awful lonely'. To show the attitude to women in the 1930's Steinbeck used a character simply called 'Curley's Wife'. This illustrates that women weren't respected and was a possession to Curley and that no-one ever stays long enough to get close enough to her to find out her real name. The men on the ranch don't want to talk to her because they don't want to get into trouble with Curley, who is the son of the ranch's owner known as the boss. Curley is quite a violent man and in the story he ends up in a fight because he thought that Lennie was laughing at him, 'No big son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me'. ...read more.


He was incapable of looking after Lennie, even though he tried his best. Lennie needed someone to be with him 24 hours a day, seven days a week and in no-way could George possibly do that. What could of George done though? Society treated people like Lennie badly. He would have been treated like an outcaste, and nobody would have cared about him. He most probably of just gotten locked up and forgotten about. George never purposely meant to really hurt Lennie or cause him pain. Even to the end, he made sure Lennie never knew what was happening to him. He encouraged him to think happy thoughts, to think about their friendship and to let him know that he wasn't mad or angry with him for what he had done. He didn't shoot him because he had killed Curley's wife. He killed him because he simply couldn't cope anymore and he didn't want Lennie to have to face the angry mob that was after him, and possibly by lynched. George did his best, but it just wasn't enough. Now they will never be able to fulfil their dream, "An' live off the fatta the lan." In conclusion it is clear that all of the characters in ' Of Mice and Men' are lonely. Their loneliness is the evitable result of the society, which is made by the Great Depression. They all have dreams but none of them realise them and get nothing at the end and George and Lennie's dream was ruined the minute Lennie murdered Curley's wife. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rachael Carter English Essay ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. How does John Steinbeck use George as a symbol of good friendship in ...

    Ain't I got the right to talk to nobody? Whatta they think I am anyways? You're a nice guy. I don't know why I can't talk to you. I ain't doin' no harm to you" (Steinbeck 87-8). She feels that she should be able to talk to a variety of people.

  2. Explore John Steinbeck's presentation in Of Mice and Men of the culture and experience ...

    The Dream is nothing but a trick, an illusion. I think Steinbeck was trying to say this about the real American Dream as well, that it is just a dream, something for people to cling to in times of need and despair.

  1. Explore the themes of loneliness and isolation in John Steinbecks novel Of Mice and ...

    people on the ranch built up through forced isolation from everyone and the many times when he has been deliberately mistreated. Also Crooks may not be used to legitimate interaction with other people but he eventually grows to Lennie, and realises he has no interest in discriminating him so he accepts Lennie.

  2. Steinbeck's novel has been described as a protest statement. To what extent is this ...

    He knew that it was in his best interest to know the law, so that white men could not take advantage of him. Crooks has long been the victim of oppressive racist violence and prejudice. He feels that he is unwanted on the farm '"'Cause I'm black"', and, as a

  1. Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody never gets no land', says Crooks to ...

    Curleys' wife represents women at the time; she's displayed negatively in the novel as trouble "I never seen no piece of jail-bait worse than her." "She's a tat-trap if ever I seen one." This was what George said as his first impression of her which didn't change.

  2. Compare the American Dream with the real lives of the migrant workers in the ...

    One of these stockowners would have been the owner of the ranch where George and Lennie worked. Therefore George and Lennie had to find new jobs, leaving the "Dustbowl" and arriving in California. To help people during along the Depression, President Roosevelt constructed job agencies like Murray and Ready.

  1. Of Mice and Men is set in the American depression of 1937.

    "They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other. Both wore coats with brass buttons." (19) This quote shows Lennie's clear intentions to be just like George and helps us imagine Lennie's insistence of being just like George.

  2. How does Steinbeck explore different attitudes to women in Of Mice and Men?

    Even the two local whorehouse keepers look like the opposite, one is cheaper and funny while the other wants the money and hasn?t got time for jokes. We learn about other two women that are mentioned in the story who are considered trouble-makers as well: the girl in the red

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work