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What Effect does the Time they Live in have on the Characters in Steinbeck's 'Of mice and Men'?

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English What Effect does the Time they Live in have on the Characters in Steinbeck's 'Of mice and Men'? 'But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain; The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley, An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!' Within this verse, the cynical statement 'The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley' lays, the line which portrays the heart of the novel, and we foresee a bleak shadow that plagues certain characters throughout the novel. These characters are crucial to the novel, leading it swiftly through the highs and lows of this period. The Great Depression. A decade of devastation that swept through America leaving a trail of desolation and people with broken hopes. Perhaps it is this aspect of the novel that makes 'Of mice and Men' what it is, a vividly real drama with characters scattered with beauty and lost in their world of dreams. Characters, which, suppress the urge to leave this bitter and harsh world they live in, only masked by their shattered hopes. These characters dubbed 'the weak one's', who live in a world verging on the line between reality and fantasy, allowing them to escape their lives and think for one second, that they could have some value in their lives. They have one wish in the world that this cruel situation they live in would disappear and the prejudice that they experience simply because of the colour of their skin or whether they are male of female, would not be an issue. ...read more.


In this period there is also a great deal of prejudice about treating woman as sexual objects, yet it seems Curley's wife tolerates this role, she even dresses provocatively so she accentuates this prejudice by her body language and her overall appearance. 'She had full, rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up.' This is a way for Curley's wife to get away from the person inside, to mask her true self and beg others to see her, like Curley doesn't. Steinbeck uses her character also to show the weak points of the other characters, especially that of Lennie. We can see that because of the way she provocatively dresses is a way of reaching through all the prejudice she faces; she just wants to be loved. Curley's wife struggle through one hope, the lost dream of becoming a movie star, and she confides in one person in some of her last moments. Lennie. I think that Steinbeck directs this prejudice present in Curley's wife in a way that the reader can feel and see with her character as we progress through the novel. We can communicate with her feeling of loss as Steinbeck uses this image of depression to create a picture that moves us through Curley's wife's desperation. There are some incredibly moving key issues in 'Of mice and Men', one being plainly loneliness, and we have touched on this with Lennie and we can see the presence of loneliness has a huge emotional impact on Curley's wife, as we see her reaching out for ...read more.


' This offer seems to open a void in their relationship, he puts his pride aside and asks, this is a crucial part in Crook's character as this is a way out of this relentless life. But he is interrupted too late. Crooks can also appreciate companionship, that Lennie brings and so I think he has a kind of respect for Lennie and his openness towards such racial prejudices. He also has a respect for Slim, like every one at the ranch, but Crook's is different as though he is black Slim, with all his wisdom, realises that slavery was abolished and treats him as an equal. This earns him, in Crook's eyes, a deep respect. He is connected greatly with the racial issues of the time, and the time greatly affects him. As the other ranch workers treats him as if he is not a human. He is also like Candy is affected by the ranch workers narrow-minded views towards disabilities I think that the times of this novel greatly influenced and reflected the attitudes of the people of the period, and the situation just accentuated the position that people were in. I think the people that were affected in the novel by the prejudices of the time, were significantly distressed by the actions of others. I can see that they would have felt a lot of sorrow throughout their lives and one way or another their lives will end with nothing that distinguishes them from any other who lived in pain. English 'Of mice and Men' Page 1 of 3 Robyn Parker 10D ...read more.

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