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Describe the techniques Steinbeck uses to develop plot, theme and character in Of Mice And Men

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Introduction

Describe the techniques Steinbeck uses to develop plot, theme and character in Of Mice And Men Name: Matthew Joseph Addai Date: 3/3/11 Tutor: Natalie Masala John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" draws upon the economic hardships and struggles of the 1930's in America, as the "Great Depression". During this period of time, there was a massive surge in the level of unemployment and poverty as the result of the closure of many banks, factories and farms. Throughout the novel, the reader is given a feel of the harshness of this period through Steinbeck's use of various literary techniques to develop the characters, themes and plot of the novel. Imagery plays a key role in the development of the characters, plot and themes of the novel, particularly through the description of characters and their environment. In the early pages of chapter 1, Steinbeck gives a very vivid portrayal of George and Lennie's physical characteristics, the two characters that the novel primarily focuses on. Words that automatically catch the reader's attention during George's introduction include "restless eyes", "sharp, strong features" and "Every part of him was defined" (Chapter 1, page 2). The use of these words by Steinbeck help in defining George's character whilst at the same time, compliment his significance in the play. ...read more.

Middle

As a result of this, the room he occupies is off limits to everyone else on the farm, as they seem to do nothing but mistreat him, however Lennie in his usual simple-minded behavior, unintentionally trespasses Crook's territory. Crooks initially orders Lennie out of the room, considering him to be no different from the other ranch hands in the farm, although he later invites him to sit down after realizing he has no bad intentions. Shortly after, Crooks begins to taunt Lennie about his inability to comprehend much of what he hears others say to him, before cruelly playing with his mind through the following lines "S'ppose George don't come back no more."(Chapter 4, page 80). In this instance, we see Crooks attempt to impose a possibility of being abused and isolated upon Lennie, in a harsh attempt to make him understand Crooks' situation in the ranch. The reader is also given insight into Crook's inner anguish at the mistreatment that he has received through this, and his delight in experiencing the satisfaction of inflicting torment on others as seen through the lines "Crooks pressed forward some kind of private victory". ...read more.

Conclusion

Other examples of symbolism include the characters of Slim and Curly's wife. With regards to Slim, it can be said he represents the character of the typical sheriff or hero, a man who is calm and composed, who brings a sense of harmony to the otherwise chaotic nature of the ranch the characters work in. This is evident through some of the phrases used by Steinbeck in his introduction, such as "prince of the ranch" and "his word was taken on any subject". Through the use of such words, Slim is undoubtly presented as a well respected leader and authority on the figure, much of this quality been portrayed in his handling of the situation after Lennie broke Curly's hand. Curly's wife, can be said to symbolise those women who fight against the expectations of a patriarchal society and seek to discover their own self worth and gain independence, whilst at the same time portraying the the rather dangerous side to women. The former is made evident firstly, through the fact that she is never adressed by her name by the narrator or the other characters in the novel (displaying the insignificance of a women's identity within patriarchal society), as well as through her decision to confide in Lennie about her frustrations with her marriage to Curly, and her desire to be featured in the "pitchers". ...read more.

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