Of mice and men: a pessimistic story Essay
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The story is set during the Great Depression, a time of poverty, homelessness and pain in the United States. With impending war in the air, a job would have been a prized thing. Each character in the story lives a life that is full of hopes and dreams, which are coupled with the knowledge that they can never be realised; George’s ‘Holy Grail’ is to his own farm, which he knows he can never have as long as Lennie is present to hinder his successes.
Right at the beginning of the story, we learn that George and Lennie have already had to flee from their previous job in a town called Weed since Lennie would not let go of a girl’s dress.
George has to look after Lennie as though he were an infant or a pet; Lennie almost has obliviousness to the world around him. Thus George, like a mother who is bound to her child, has no prospects apart from his devotion to Lennie even though he constantly hinders George with his unending string of ‘bad things’ Similarly Curley’s wife also had a dream, she wanted to be in the movies but had that chance taken from her by her mother. Curley’s wife has been forced to exchanges a life of glitz, glamour and fame for one of poverty, constraint, anonymity and a marriage in which she is unhappy.
Curley’s wife still fantasises about the possibility of being in a movie, even though that moment has long gone. Crooks wishes he had the same respect his father had when he was a landowner, when he is talking to Lennie he says: “If I say something, why it’s just a nigger sayin’ it. “; Crooks craves his voice to be heard, for people to recognise him as a person and not just a ‘nigger’. To Crooks, it must have seemed like his one dream would never materialize.
Moreover, the story portrays each character as the ‘Common Man’ who will always be relatively anonymous and powerless, even though dreams are made and plans are prepared, Steinbeck sets each characters position and makes sure that I t never does and never can change. A lonely and antisocial air haunts all of the characters all appear suspicious of George and Lennie’s friendship and none of them appear to have a good relationship with their ‘fellow man’. Even the name of the place in which the story is set, Soledad, is Spanish meaning loneliness or lonely place.
Curley does not have a good relationship with his wife: “I don’ like Curley, he ain’t a nice fella'”, she continually wanders about the ranch, seeking some kind of familiarity; Curley himself is always one step behind whenever he is searching for her. It seems as though no one is safe from the solitude that engulfs them all, not even in the institute of marriage. Crooks is underlined as an outsider because of the segregation that exists in the bunkhouses, his anti social actions are fuelled by his seemingly utter contempt and hatred of friendships and people behaving amicably toward each other.
He avoids contact with other people and will even go as far as to avoid it. He has effectively stated, ‘this is my space, keep out of it’ Crooks emphasises his will for solitude by tormenting Lennie and asking him what he would do if George left him. Crooks revels in his torment by frightening Lennie onto the threshold of isolation, something for which, George and Lennie have unique resilience. Even George eventually succumbs to the atmosphere of loneliness and frequently plays Solitaire whenever Lennie isn’t around.
Also, no one in the story seems to be allowed the human comfort of his own possessions, except Crooks, who substitutes friends for his belongings. Candy is denied his dog, his only true companion, Curley deprived of his wife and George who is continually refused ‘the good life’ of a more fixed home and continuity in life. 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.