Of mice and men Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 14 September 2016

Of mice and men

Steinbeck presents us with a bleak view of the world where individuals have little hope of achieving their dreams. Discuss the accuracy of this statement with reference to at least three literary techniques. In the novella Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck presents the view of individuals having little chance of achieving their dreams due to the cruel society. George’s dream of owning a ranch with Lennie is unattainable as society does not provide support for the mentally disabled. Curley’s wife’s dream of becoming an actress is also unachievable because she is a woman in a sexist society.

Being an African American man in a racist society, Crook’s desire of companionship is also unreachable. Literary techniques such as foreshadowing, symbolism and character name amplify the message in which most individuals are unable to fulfil their dreams and desires. Through the failure of George, Lennie and Curley’s wife in achieving their dreams, Steinbeck clearly convinces the reader that individuals have little hope of achieving their dreams in the harsh world that they live in. Steinbeck presents the view of dreams being unattainable through.

George’s failure of achieving his dream of owning a ranch with Lennie using the technique of foreshadowing. Their aspiration is to own “a little house and a couple of acres an’ s a cow and some pigs (…) and a rabbit hunch and chickens”, which would enable them to “live off the fatta the land” (p. 16). George’s dream was unattained because Lennie had a mental disability and kept getting them in trouble. They live in a society where there are no benefits and support for people with disabilities, which ultimately caused the failure of George’s dream.

The failure of George’s dream was foreshadowed by Crooks telling Lennie about how he has “seen hundreds of men come by on the road” with the same dream but “nobody gets no land” (p. 73). Through the experience of Crooks, it is shown that the failure of George is not uncommon but instead is expected. Through George being unable to live the life that he had envisioned, Steinbeck clearly conveys the message that individuals are unable to accomplish their dreams due to the harsh society.

The idea of individuals having little chance of achieving their dreams is also apparent in the character of Crooks through the literary technique of symbolism. Crooks desires companionship as he tells Lennie that “a guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody” (p. 72). The company that Crooks craves so deeply is never received throughout the novella as he “couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ‘cause [he] was black,” reflecting the discrimination he receives due to his race (p. 72).

Just like his back, society is crooked. It is bent out of shape, out of alignment with its original created intention (equality). The pain and suffering that Crooks experiences due to his back symbolises the pain and suffering society Of Mice and Men: Stage 1 Text Response endures due to racism. It is the racist society that limits Crooks from obtaining companionship.

Steinbeck also uses the books read by Crooks as a symbol to represent his loneliness as he complains to Lennie about “books {being} no good” and that he “needs somebody to be near him” (p. 72). Due to the racist society, Crooks remains lonely, indicating his dream never being met which displays the message of individuals’ dreams being unreachable.

The failure of Curley’s wife’s dream shows that the chance of an individual reaching their dream is near impossible through the choice of character name. Curley’s wife dreams of a better life and ponders about how she “coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes” (p. 87). Being a woman in a sexist society causes her to not be able to achieve her dream. After marrying Curley, Curley’s wife no longer has the freedom to “{make} somethin of {her}self” as she becomes Curley’s possession and is obligated to tend to his needs.

Steinbeck does not inform the reader of her name but instead refers to her as “Curley’s wife”, symbolising male oppression in 1930s USA. The apostrophe of possession indicates that she belongs to Curley: she is his possession just like his horse, his hat and his hand-gun. Curley’s wife couldn’t achieve her dream because she is a woman in a sexist society, supporting Steinbeck’s message that individuals have minor hope of reaching their dream.

George’s dream of owning a ranch with Lennie is unattainable as society does not offer support for the mentally disabled. Curley’s wife’s dream of becoming an actress is unachievable because she is a woman in a sexist society.

Being an African American man in a racist society, Crook’s desire of companionship is also unreachable. Literary techniques such as foreshadowing, symbolism and character name amplify the message in which most individuals are unable to fulfil their dreams and desires. Through the failure of George, Lennie and Curley’s wife, Steinbeck clearly convinces the reader that if the “thing they had never really believed in was coming true”, then it is not the end of their story.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 14 September 2016

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