Of Mice and Men Essay
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Dreams are very important in the novel. Having dreams allows you to look forwards in life, rather than backwards. Dreams allow you to have an idea for the future. This can be seen the novella through the dream of George and Lennie who dream of owning their own land, without constantly having to work for someone else and not having money to save. Lennie really wants rabbits to look after. George, along with his new friend Candy, wants to have the freedom to do their own work, and be treated fairly.
The dream cannot come true as Lennie had accidently killed Curley’s Wife. As a result of this Curley wanted to make sure that Lennie died a slow and painful death. Luckily George found Lennie first and killed him in a way that Lennie was not scared, nor could he feel any real pain. Crooks in the novel has a dream of becoming equal with white people because he is black. This can be seen when he is in his room and tells Lennie, “S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ‘cause you were black…
A guy needs somebody – to be near him… I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick. ” He is also drawn to George, Lennie and Candy’s dream for a little while but then withdraws, because he realizes the situation, that being a black man he wouldn’t be treated equally. Another unfulfilled dream in the novel is the dream of Curley’s wife who is married to a man she doesn’t love and who doesn’t love her. There are no other women on the ranch and she has nothing to do. She tries to befriend the men by hanging round the bunkhouse.
She dreams of being a movie star. Her hopes were raised by a man who claimed he would take her to Hollywood, but when she didn’t receive a letter from him, she married Curley. The atmosphere that Steinbeck creates after the death of Curley’s wife is very still and shows us her true innocence. Steinbeck gives you an opportunity to be happy for Curley’s wife’s death because now she is out of her loneliness and depression. When she does die the whole ranch seems to settle down and become peaceful,“… the light was growing soft in the barn…
The quiet of the afternoon was on the ranch” and another quote which shows this is, “As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much, much more than a moment. ” The quotes show peacefulness and Steinbeck uses calming words, and he also uses a lifeless voice to even make it more long when you read it. Steinbeck’s language after Curley’s wife’s death captures the true sadness of her death and is very descriptive, but yet very positive. Another reason why the novel is tragic is because of the outsiders in the novel who have weak positions in society.
Firstly, there is Crooks who is especially important because he is an outsider in society because of his race. He is the only one of his kind and is also very lonely. Also his chapter is isolated in the structure of the book and he only appears in the fourth chapter. Crooks values his personal space and distance from others but he also understands the need for company and we can see this when he says, “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you.
” Secondly, there is Curley’s wife who is an outsider in society because of her gender. She is the only female on the ranch and is very lonely. We can see this when she says, “I get lonely. You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody? ” She is also only restricted to socialize with Curley but his failure to satisfy her, either emotionally or physically, leads her to seek solace with the other men, even those at the bottom of the social hierarchy of the ranch.
Due to this she has cultivated a reputation which she uses as a means of getting noticed, to talk to someone, and as a means of defence. Thirdly, we have Candy and Lennie who are physically and mentally damaged respectively. Candy has a damaged arm and is also getting very old. When he says, “You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like that. I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs.
” This shows us that Candy realizes that he’s weak and not really important to anyone on the farm. His future relates to the one of his dog who was also getting very old and was starting to become handful. Lennie is considered to be an outsider because of his mental age, and the fact that he does not understand everything that everyone tells him. He may also be considered to be an outsider because he travels with another man, George, and as the men say on the ranch “there aint alot of men that travel round together. ” Lennie’s sheer size may also have something to do with the fact that he is an outsider.
He is much larger than the other men on the ranch and is also much stronger. “Of mice and Men” contains indirect references to the American dream and how it sustains people through tough times. The American dream during the 1930s which was the time at which the Great depression was taking place, was to make on your own in life by owning your own piece of land and not having to be a migrant worker which relates exactly to the dream of George and Lennie who believe that they could make it with the help of Candy who makes it seem like it could actually happen.
Also the hopeful and optimistic friendship of George and Lennie was really strong and it appears that Lennie, because of his damaged mind is totally reliant on George for his survival, however, equally important is the extent to which George relies on Lennie for companionship in the generally lonely environment of a migrant worker. As George admits to Slim when discussing himself and Lennie, “It’s a lot nicer to go around with a guy you know. ” This proves that George is not only with Lennie because he takes pity on him or as a duty to Lennie’s Aunt Clara who is dead.
Also if it was under other circumstances, George and Lennie’s friendship would have not had such a tragic end but in this case there was no alternative and this can be seen when Slim says, “You hadda, George. ” In conclusion, the novel shows the hardships of the time and also of each of the individual characters. It tells us how parts of the novel were inevitable with dreams that were unfulfilled and shattered like in George and Lennie’s case but nobody ever gave up hope no matter what the possible outcome was.
Even the outsiders like Candy and Lennie were determined to follow their dreams in the pursuit of happiness. Of Mice and Men has the attributes of a tragic novel as the main characters suffer extreme sorrow and have to deal with unfavourable circumstances and also the novel has an unhappy but meaningful end. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.