Critical response – Of mice and men Essay
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Within The novel “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck the reader is presented with a selection of sad, lonely individuals who have no families. As soon as the novel starts, the author creates a picture of the surroundings in the reader’s mind “the river drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green” this gives the reader a feeling of peace at mind. The reader is then presented with George, a small man with strong features, and Lennie, a gentle person who enjoys who enjoys the company of a pet.
In the novel Lennie continuously gets the pair into all sorts of trouble and by the end of the novel George has no choice but to shoot Lennie, due to the fact that he murdered an innocent woman, who happened to be Curley’s wife, the boss’s son. It soon becomes apparent that the theme of loneliness is illustrated through characterization between the main characters.
The first character we are introduced to is Lennie. Lennie’s character is illustrated by his mental immaturity. “Blubberin like a baby? Jesus Christ a big guy like you! ” The reader first sees that Lennie’s loneliness and need for companionship during his journey to the ranch.
“What you want of a dead mouse? “, to which Lennie responds “maybe I could pet it with my thumb while we walked along. ” Lennie wants to carry a dead mouse round as a constant companion. This shows how desperate he is to feel loved and to have a friend. One of the characters that illustrates loneliness is a man named Crooks. Crooks is a colored man s been isolated from the rest of the ranch due to the fact that he is a “nigger”. The reader feels sympathy for crooks because he has his own shelter and has no friends. As soon as a “white man” enters his shelter, Crook’s initial reaction is to tell them to “get lost I don’t want to know”.
This again shows the reader that Crooks is a lonely individual. Another character that emphasizes the theme of loneliness is Curley’s wife. To the reader’s surprise, the author never gives Curley’s wife a name. This reinforces the fact that Curley’s wife is there to look after Curley and that she is not important to anybody else but himself. It also shows that the other ranchers are not used to talking to other woman. Curley’s Wife is generally considered to be a tramp by the men at the ranch and shamelessly uses sex to intimidate the workers.
She married Curley so she could leave home and be spoilt with gifts and do whatever she wanted. However it is obvious that this did not happen and she hates her husband. . She still holds some hope of a better life, by claiming that she had the chance to become a movie star in Hollywood. Another interesting character is Candy, an old man who only has a dog to keep him company. Candy is the oldest out of all the other ranchers, who has only one hand because he lost the other hand in an accident on the ranch. Candy is a frail person because he has had to work on the ranch for so long because he has no friends.
There comes a sad point in the novel when candy’s dog is shot because he is giving off a bad odour. This shows the readers that the ranchers don’t care for anyone else but themselves and that they have a short temper. This incident seems to put Candy down more because he now has no companion. In addition to this, Candy feared that he was going to be on the ranch until he died. This image is reinforced when he ws caught ease dropping on George and Lennie “I didn’t here nothin you guys was saying. I was just standing in the shade scratching my dog”.
Although the novel is filled with men trying to earn money so that they can fulfill their dreams, it is obvious that the main theme of the novel is loneliness. This is illustrated through the sad, traumatic, lonely characters that work on the ranch. The entire novel is devoted to reinforcing the main theme, loneliness, and therefore creating sympathy for the characters on the ranch.