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“Of Mice and Men”: Naturalism Essay

Naturalism is a very intense style of literature that an author can use. With naturalism, the author is trying to convey knowledge acquired through the senses and experiences they them selves have been through. In the novel of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, he portrays elements of naturalism through his very own sights and experiences. During the depression John Steinbeck got a first hand dose of what it meant to deal with sordid aspects of life. Just like his book, he portrays his accounts using highly realistic settings, and brutal characters with foul mouths that deal with depressing issues of life. In the real world things happen, but in the world of Mice and Men, nothing ever seems to happen the way the characters hope.

Steinbeck wanted his characters to be brutal and fail to achieve their goals they worked so hard to get. He wanted the characters to have foul mouths and have bleak views of what life really is. As said from the genre paper of naturalism “Characters in naturalistic literature are trapped by their heredity and environment and end in failure.” Dealing with vast emotions and massive challenges, characters like George and Lennie in the novel, ended in failure because of their brutal surroundings. If Curly’s wife never intervened with Lennie after he killed the young pup, then she would not have ever died. Lennie was only driven by his basic urge to touch soft things. ” Lennie’s big fingers fell to stroking her hair. “Don’t you mess it up,” she said.””( Steinbeck 91 ). Steinbeck really placed the characters with brutal settings among brutal characters.

The setting of the book is highly realistic and greatly portrays what the time period truly represented. Steinbeck, once a migrant worker too, lived the experience of his literature. He knew exactly what the environment should be like too and what it shouldn’t. “Chapters one and six take place by the river, two and three in the bunkhouse, four and five in the barn.” All of these setting are settings you would not likely find through out our time period but in the life of a lonely migrant worker. It is quit creditable for Steinbeck to instinctively return to the earlier forms of literature of drama, epic and parable. His use of literary devices to describe his settings are remarkable. “

A few miles south of Soledad the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool.”(Steinbeck 1). Steinbeck is not making just plain ordinary descriptions of this scene-setting, but is revealing a sense of freedom and joy before tragedy and hate that’s burred farther along the book from the sordid aspects of life.

Dealing with dirty aspects of life was all just another part of naturalism in Steinbeck’s scheme. He wanted the reader to greatly feel the depression and madness their society had to endure. He wanted the reader to end the book sick to the core from the gruesome dream that was crushed with just one accidental murder, and one gunshot to the head. “And George raised the gun and studied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head. The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand studied. He pulled the trigger.” (Steinbeck 106 ).

This was already evident to some of the characters in the book. Crook’s for instance, foreshadowed what would happen later on to people with dreams. “”I never seen a guy really do it,” he said ” I seen some guys nearly crazy with loneliness for land, but ever’ time a whore house or a blackjack game took what it takes.””(76). This book really showed that fate is eminent and no matter how you try or what you do, something will always try to stand in your way.

Naturalism is portrayed in the novel of Mice and Men through the author’s own sights and experiences. Just like his book, Steinbeck emulates his life experiences with highly realistic settings, and brutal characters with foul mouths that deal with depressing issues of life. Steinbeck truly pushed beyond the limits of standard writing, and showed us a side of good and evil like never before.


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