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“Of mice and men is a novel that presents both the barbarity and the beauty of human nature” Essay

I agree with this because Steinbeck shows barbarity in the characters. One example of this is when Lennie kills Curley’s wife by accident. I know this because it says “he quickly becomes excited and holds on too tight, frightening her… Lennie panics and clamps his strong hands over her mouth to silence her” This is effective because Lennie doesn’t realise that he’s killed Curley’s wife by stroking her hair but it shows that his actions were cruel and his chances of his American dream has been ruined. The words “holds on too tight” shows that Lennie had got over excited while touching/stroking one of his favourite things and he doesn’t realise that he’s held on tight and can’t restrain himself from letting go of her hair.

The word “panics” shows that Lennie didn’t know what to do as soon as he heard her screaming so he couldn’t help but keep holding on to her. We can tell that Lennie doesn’t choose to be barbaric towards people but due to his simple mind he just can’t help it. Another way we know Lennie is barbaric is because of his animalistic side, Steinbeck uses the deaths of the small animals to show that despite loving to stroke nice things, he ends up killing them.

Steinbeck also shows the beauty of human nature in the Novel. Examples of this is when Lennie constantly gets compared to animals with his actions. I know this because it says “He walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, way a bear drags his paws. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely.” This is effective because Lennie is being compared to an animal, a bear. A massive, sometimes violent creature. The word ‘hung loosely’ shows that he was simple minded in everything he did so he didn’t really think about the things he did. Another word ‘the way a bear drags his paws’ shows that he was compared to a bear because of his strength and movement. Another quote would be “His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse. The small man stepped nervously beside him” Lennie being compared to an animal but this time, a horse who has to be kept from drinking too much water. It at least shows that he has some responsibility to control the natural world.

Another way Steinbeck shows barbarity is with the character Crooks. He gives Crooks’ character a hatred towards the men in the ranch. I know this because it says “Crooks said sharply, “You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me” This is effective because it shows that Crooks didn’t like the other men because of the way they treated him so he has to be barbaric to them. The word ‘sharply’ shows that Crooks actually meant what he said although Lennie was being nice, it could also demonstrate that he wanted to take out his anger to Lennie because he realised Lennie wouldn’t understand what Crooks was actually saying to him. The word ‘nobody got any right in here’ shows that he wanted treat them the exact same way they treated him in the ranch. Crooks is barbaric because he was treated that way so he might aswell treat the others the way they’ve been treating him. In conclusion I think Of mice and men does present the barbarity and beauty of human nature because the characters always had two sides to them whether they were happy or not so it did make the novel very interesting to read.


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