Many of the characters in ‘of Mice and Men’ are lonely and some have dreams to sustain them. Write about 2-3 of them and explain why we feel sympathetic toward them.
The book of Mice and Men was written by an American writer called John Steinbeck. He was born in Salinas, California and wrote this book from the theme ‘The Great Depression’. The title of this book got its name from a Scottish poet Rabbi Burns in one of his poems called “To a Mouse”; which means most plans from man or animal don’t work out in the end.
When I say the Great Depression, this was a significant world event which started on 29 October 1929, this day was-from then on-nicknamed black Tuesday because on that very same day the stock markets crashed, which meant that the money in there lost its value. Due to this, 9 million banks closed, which meant that about 86,000 businesses failed; for 2 reasons: firstly the businesses didn’t have the money to keep them going.
Secondly people didn’t have the money to buy the things the businesses were selling.
Because businesses closed, unemployment rate increased, in 1929, the percentage of unemployment was 3%. However in 1934, the unemployment rate was 26%+. This shows that there was a big rise for people losing jobs. By saying this, you must be honoured to keep your job (most people lost their jobs), although if your job was secure, your wages would decrease by approximately 60%, if you walked out on that job, it would be hard for you to find another job, the employer wouldn’t have to worry much since there were lines of people queuing up for jobs.
At 1 point, estimates say 34 million people had no income at all, thus meant that people lived in shanty towns. This not only was in the small cities, but developed in the major states such as New York and Washington D.C. People nicknamed these shanty towns as Hoovervilles, because it was nicknamed after the American president at that time, Herbert Hoover.
So how would this recession affect people? Some people couldn’t cope with it so they committed suicide. Marriages broke down due to the financial pressure. People became itinery/migrant workers. This means travelling round the country looking for work, if they did find work, it would be short term, unskilled, insecure and labouring. Most jobs were in California (farming area), 1000s of families lost their homes due to failing to pay mortgages, so people had to live in shanty towns. So soup kitchens were set up, and there would be queues of 1000s (maybe more) of mixtures of people in dirty clothes to people in business suits.
If these people were moving around they wouldn’t be able to stay with their families/friends. Because of this, people got lonely because they were looking for jobs, so they wouldn’t have any time for relationships, and as George says: “we ask no questions on the ranch” which means that you keep your self to yourself. No-one knows who you are or where you’ve come from, or what they’re planning to do next. If you knew these things about a specific person (or any person), they would tell you off for nosing around.
All of the things I have mentioned all come in the theme of the Great Depression, which is the thing behind the story that John Steinbeck is trying to tell. For example, most characters in of Mice and Men were migrant workers and before Lennie and George came to the ranch in Soledad. Candy tells Lennie about a blacksmith called Whitey, who came, got his money and left, “why he just quit, just wanted to move, didn’t give no other reason but the food just say gimme my time, the way any guy would”. Although George and Lennie travel around together, it would have been highly unusual for this to happen in a time like this, most men travelled alone. We see this in the novel like Slim, Crooks, and Candy, but I must say it is highly unusual that men travel around together, Slim says this in section 2.
This novel is set in California, which is situated in the southern state of the USA. If you were working in a place where Lennie and George were working- your friends and family is miles- maybe further- away. Your only alternative is to make friends otherwise you are walking a lonely road. Also a thing that you would have to take into consideration is the size of the place, the place that they (Lennie and George) were working was on a ranch. A ranch is the equivalent for a farm in England, but however, a ranch is much bigger than a farm that we refer to in England. The distance, as I’ve mentioned is pretty far- not to mention being cut off from your family and friends, they’d have to walk miles to the ranch, otherwise you’d have to hitch a ride from a passing truck.
From the way they live that I learned from chapter 2, firstly I learn that they are violent, I know this from when they let crooks- the black person- come into the bunk house for Christmas, sounds nice doesn’t it? Letting the black man come into the bunk house on this festive occasion, but from what I learn they only let him in to batter him black and blue! And enjoy it! “Yes sir, we had fun. They let the nigger come in that night. Little skinner the name of smitty took after the nigger.” I personally think that it’s horrible, but it’s true. Secondly I learn that they have very little privacy and basic living condition. For example, they have straws for mattresses and apple crates for bedside desks.
They have little comfort- like the bunk house isn’t well presented, no paint on the walls, crates for chairs table in the middle and a deck of cards for daily entertainment, nothing compared to the entertainment that we have today, like PS3s and Xbox 360s etc. also, anonymity, the way people keep themselves to themselves, how people don’t know where you’re from. Finally, how migrant workers move from place to place- as this is what migrant workers do. We see this in the novel from the beginning when Lennie got in trouble and they had to flee when Lennie sexually harassed a girl in weed.
Dreams help people achieve things in life, no matter what scenario you are in. they give people power and confidence. Although I state in the title of this essay “… and have dreams to sustain them”; the dream that they are referring to is the American dream. Before John Steinbeck wrote this book, he was interested in finding out about power, ownership and control and what it did on normal people. Due to the Great Depression, most people didn’t have jobs, so they relied on bosses to permit them to a job; but they manage to put all that stress aside towards a dream that they have. Most of who dream of a dream called the American dream. These dreams tell us about the life people are living. Most characters in the novel have dreams to. But Lennie and George’s dream are the most important because they tell us about the culture that has been created.
America has always been seen as the land of opportunity, freedom, a place to live and most importantly, a new life. A place for wealth and a place for real possibilities, this was referred to as the American dream. Immigrants moved to over America because they believed in this dream. So how was America founded? In 1607, people from Britain went to America to find gold; these people were known as the Virginia colony. Because the island they first found they named after the Queen Elizabeth, who of course, was a Virgin Queen. But of instead finding gold, they found tobacco (which was known a “black gold” in Britain-very popular.) and brought it back to England to sell. In 1620 a group of English Protestants who detested against the Church of England moved to America looking for religious freedom, these were known as the Plymouth colony or Pilgrims.
In the ‘Harsh Winter’ of 1620-1621, half of the Plymouth colony died due the coldness of the weather, when they arrived to America, it was full of wilderness and red Indians/Native Americans. In 1630 1000 more arrived to establish more colonies. In 1642, the Plymouth colony had 12000 settlers from Europe, again searching for religious freedom. By 1776, the colonies in America were fed up of the British monarchs ruling them and wanted their own independence, because the monarch of England was the monarch of America, and they had enough of this. In Britain the law was only set up for the landowners, if you wasn’t a landowner then you didn’t count. So 4th July 1776, the American colonies set up a universal declaration of independence. Here is an extract from it.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights. Rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The statue of liberty was a present from the French man Gustave Eiffel, due to the French revolution happening in France he set up the statue of liberty to symbolise this dream, because the American dream was similar in France. If you were an immigrant coming into America by boat, the statue of liberty would be the first thing that you saw.
However, this American dream inspired many people. By 1929, the Great Depression spoilt these dreams for many people since they didn’t have the money to live happily. As stated in the novel, George and Lennie- and Candy aim to get a ranch to themselves and Lennie wants to pet the rabbits. Some elements of the dream include: material comforts and financial security- not being in debt and having everything you need. Being in control of your destiny- you making the choices in your own life, not people telling you what to do. Gaining the respect of others- living in a peaceful society. Companionship and sharing good fortune- having friends and keeping each other happy. And last but not least; making your mark-something to be proud of- achieving things in life; getting the best in life. The American dream today isn’t all about freedom; it’s about money and fame. For example, if you look at Hollywood; actors and actresses etc.
When an author writes a book, they must make some important choices. For example, whether to base the story involving letters or e-mails or telling the story as a flash back/ flash forward. People write book for various reasons: to inform the reader- this might be something that has happened previously, or presently. Some people write books to persuade or entertain you-it might encourage you to change your life. John Steinbeck written this book to inform-recalling what life was like in the Great Depression for migrant workers. He also creates a description; he lets the action sink in for the reader, also he helps create a physical appearance in your mind, by using a wide range of onomatopoeia “and so crisp that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them” skittering is the sound that is being made.
Another thing that the writer must consider is to select whether to write in 1st or 3rd person. If you wrote in first person, you can fully understand what that person, what goes on in that particular persons mind. But the down side is that you can only see what is happening when that person is present. If John Steinbeck chose to write this novel in the 1st person, we wouldn’t see what would happen to George if Lennie wasn’t there etc. however if you chose to write in the 3rd person, you can see the minds of all the characters in the book.
Unfortunately 3rd person isn’t always in the full depths of understanding- meaning that although you can read everybody’s mind, it doesn’t provide in depth detail. John Steinbeck chose 3rd person; this is a good choice because you can see in everybody’s mind and John Steinbeck described the novel in full understanding in 3rd person, also he has put the plot in Great detail and has used a lot of wide range of vocabulary “slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to his master, Lennie approached, drew back, and approached again.”
Another interesting technique John Steinbeck has chosen to use is starting and ending the story in the same setting. He also set this novel in a rural location (in the countryside) and used adjectives, careful words and descriptions to this novel create an exact physical location. As well as this, the time scale of this novel is described for 1 week- this shows that George and Lennie haven’t moved very far in their lives, they haven’t moved forward.
Finally one of the things that you need to consider is how much direct speech you use, not too much or you will slow down the plot, too less will not move the plot forward. So it is essential that you use the right amount. In this novel there is a lot of blasphemy “‘Jesus’ he said ‘he’s jes like a kid aint he”- and swearing “listen here you crazy bastard”- and racist comments “Jesus how that nigger can pitch shoes”- Steinbeck used a wide range of direct speech, thus helps us understand the characters more. This kind of language is found in most aspects of this novel- it is commonly asked why it’s studied in schools- racism, blasphemy and swearing is the kind of language that was used in the Great Depression, this was because the characters were migrant workers and they were uneducated, manual workers and non intellectual.
Some of the characters in of Mice and Men are lonely; I am going to talk about 3 of them. The first character I am going to look at is Candy. Candy is an old swamper living at the ranch George and Lennie worked at. He is an old man with a missing wrist “the wooden hatch raised. The door opened and a tall, stoop shouldered man came in. he was dressed in blue jeans and he carried a push broom in his left hand and out of the sleeve came a round stick like wrist , but no hand.” Also he has a really old dog that evidently he has had since he was a pup “and at is heels there walked a drag footed sheep dog” he also has no relatives “cause I aint got no relatives or nothing”
I find that Candy is lonely; he is lonely in several ways. Firstly his disability, he lost his hand “I aint much good with on’y one hand, I lost my hand right here on this ranch that’s why they give me a job swamping an’ they give me two hundred and fifty dollars ’cause I los’ my hand” this makes you think that it was their fault that Candy has lost his hand; because if it wasn’t then they wouldn’t give an old folk money if they could avoid it! Especially in a depression!
So he cannot go out to ‘buck barley’ like the rest of the men because he hasn’t got the energy or strength like the other men have which means that he is lonely all day and has to wait for them to come back. He can’t go down to Soledad because he is too old “after that the guys went down to Soledad and raised hell, I didn’t go there, I aint got the poop no more”
Candy was very close to that dog, he had him since he was a puppy, and so that dog is important to him. Firstly, he spends all of his day with that dog. Also that dog is a link to all the memories he has “yeah I had him since he was a pup, god he was a damn good sheep dog when he was younger. When the dog gets shot Candy is desperate to leave the ranch, he hasn’t got any body to keep him there (since his dog was his only companion) now the dog has been shot he hasn’t got a friend anymore, which is why he is so desperate to leave the ranch. And follow Lennie and George with this dream that they have.
Candy has become so desperate to be part of Lennie and Georges’ dream that he is prepared to give all of his savings to them “s’pose I went in with you guys, that’s three hundred and fifty bucks I’d put in.” that is three hundred and fifty dollars that Candy is prepared to give- $50 a month- so he is prepared to give 7 months wages to two guys that he has met on that very same day! This shows that he is desperate.
Candy sees no hope on the ranch “when they can me I wisht somebody’d shoot me” he’d rather be dead than stay on the ranch now his dog has been shot. He desperately wants something to look forward to, something to be happy about, and somewhere to belong to. The idea of this dream gives him hope. He wants to join the dream because his dog has been shot. Lennie and George accept him because he has got the money.
Because Lennie and George have accepted Candy into this dream, he begins to change. Firstly Candy has gained the ability to be self critical. He can see that he should have shot his dog himself “I ought to have shot that dog myself, George, I shouldn’t ought to have let no stranger shoot my dog” this shows that he has got over his dog being shot.
Secondly Candy has gained the confidence to join in with the other men, like when he joins into the attack with Curley (“glove fulla Vaseline” Candy said disgustingly). This shows that he isn’t scared to join in when everybody is cheeking Candy. He wouldn’t have done this before because he would have been sacked, but now he fells more confident and feels more part of the group; he only used to say things behind peoples backs, not to their faces (the swamper stood up from his box “know what I think” George did not answer “well I think he’s married a tart”) he only used to say things like that behind peoples back. Now he feels more confident, he will say it to their faces.
Thirdly, he starts to plan and look forward “I tell ya what Lennie, I’ve been figuring about them rabbits” he knows what his future going to be, he is looking forward to it. He wasn’t like this before because he couldn’t see any future, he had nothing to look forward to. His future seemed horrible “they’ll can me purty soon as I can’t swamp out no bunk houses they’ll put me on the county” he tells Lennie and George that he’s going to a county, no friends, no family, no entertainment, simple life, horrible experience.
Finally I found out that has got more confident when talking to Curleys’ wife when he backs up Crooks “if you was to do that, we’d tell” “we’d tell you up about you framing Crooks” he wouldn’t have done this before because it is the bosses sons wife that he is talking to and he would be sacked- and he cannot afford that to happen because he hasn’t got no place else to go, he had to rely on his boss to permit him to work on the ranch and he is quite confident that he his future is going to happen, so now he doesn’t care about being sacked, the fear of being sacked has left him.
When Lennie kills Curleys’ wife the dream that Candy was looking forward to have come to an end, Candy was really relying on that dream, it’s made him more lively, it’s helped him join in with the other people (“glove fulla Vaseline”) now Curleys’ wife’s death has caused this dream to fail. I know this from when he says to Curleys’ wife’s corpse “you done it di’nt you? I s’pose you’re glad. Ever’body knowed you’d mess things up.
You wasn’t no good, you ain’t no good now, you lousy tart” to say something like this to a dead body is highly disrespectful, like stealing candy from a baby it isn’t acceptable because it is impolite. But all of his anger has caused him to strengthen up; become more confident, when he says “if they was a circus or a baseball game… we would of went to her… jus’ said ta hell with work, an’ went to her. Never ast nobody say so. An’ they’d of been a pig and chickens… an’ in the winter… the little fat stove… an’ the rain comin’… and jus’ us settin’ there.” The dots between his speeches are called ellipses; these indicate that Candy is angry that his dream has been taken from him. And the ellipsis shows that Candy is trying to control his emotions, until he breaks down -“his eyes blinded with tears”.
After this incident , Candy isn’t just back to how he was before, I think that he would be more broken than he was because hew has lost his dog. When the dream was mentioned to him-it was like giving a child a sweet and taking it from him- he had his hopes up, now it looked like it was all over as if it had never begun. So his future seems quite dull for an old man. I think that he would be worse off.
The next person I would like to observe is Crooks. Crooks is a stable buck who also lives at the ranch where Lennie and George once worked. A stable buck is someone who looks after the horses and the mules; he is also a black man. He lives not in the bunk house where all the other guys live; he lives in a shed of a barn. The job of the stable buck is very important because it is vital for the horses and the mules to be kept in good condition due to that being the only transport, meaning that the horses and the mules must be kept well looked after. The reason why he is called Crooks is because he is disabled; this shows that he cannot work with the other men. He has a permanent Job looking after the mules and horses; this is a semi-skilled job because it requires skill to do this job.
There are several reasons why Crooks is lonely. Firstly he is black, the only black on the ranch “and now there aint no coloured guy on the ranch” he grew up as the only black family in Soledad “there wasn’t another coloured family for miles around.” There is only one coloured family in Soledad “an’ there’s jus’ one family in Soledad”. This makes him lonely because he hasn’t got anybody like him, nobody black like him. He is the only one.
Segregation means separation, separated from the others, this is what happens to Crooks. He isn’t allowed in the bunk house, he lives in a little shed led off the barn “a little shed led off the barn” since he been separated from the others, he feels that white people have no right in his room “you got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room; nobody got any right in here but me.” From this, Crooks feels rejected “I can’t play cards because I’m black. They say I stink, well, I tell you, you stink too” Crooks is a victim of institutional racism- this means that the law cannot protect him. I know this from when Curleys’ wife says to him “I can get you strung up so easy it ain’t even funny”
The word “nigger” can be said in two ways-to describe “sure, ya see, the stable bucks a nigger” this shows ignorance, this shows that people do not know that it is an offensive word- and hurtful “then you keep your place then nigger, I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” what she said was true backthen, if a black man looked at a white woman funny then (no matter what personality she is) she can get him strung up and the law cannot protect him. Crooks is isolated, no-one comes into his room except for Slim and the boss “guys like you don’t come into a coloured mans room very much. Nobody been in here but Slim, Slim and the boss.”
Experts say that being isolated can affect your mental health, which evidently it has done to Crooks. He is quiet, aloof (keep yourself to yourself) and depressed. He was not always like this. In his youth he was part of a loving family “remember when I was a little kid on my old mans chicken ranch. Had two brothers, they was always with me, always there” this makes Crooks lonelier than he is now because he had a family, he had a life, he had a future, but now it has been taken from him.
America was a far more racist community than it was now. I know this from the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) this was (and still is) a white supremacist organisation, which has an aim of striking fear and intimidation into black people. The KKK believed that blacks were like animals and had little rights due to the fact that they are black-terrible, but true- black people were routinely dragged out of their homes and beaten, raped, castrated (cutting off penis and testicles) or possibly murdered. Slavery was abolished in America; it was very strong in the southern states. This is why Crooks says that he isn’t a southern Negro “I ain’t a southern negro” this shows that Crooks was born a free black. Crooks (as far as we know) hasn’t suffered from the KKK but it could still effect him because he know in theory what will happen to him.
Being isolated is not good for people. As I’ve said earlier, isolation can affect your mental health. He is also the only character in this novel that knows what loneliness does to you- Steinbeck’s message has been put into Crooks’s mouth “a guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody”. From suffering from isolation Crooks begins to get his own back and scare Lennie “want me ta tell ya what’ll happen?
They’ll take ya to the booby hatch. They’ll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog”. From this he has become cynical (this means that you believe things will always go wrong, what ever the scenario) and pessimistic (always looking on the down side of things “you’ll talk abut it a hell of a lot, but you won’t get no land”. Yet he may be black, but he is brighter than all the other men in the novel “And he had a book too; a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905” he hasn’t got the right to fulfil his intelligence, this shows what racism was like and what it did.
When Lennie and Candy mention the dream to Crooks he offers to join it immediately “if you…guys would want to work for nothing-just his keep, why I’d come an’ lend a hand. I ain’t so crippled I can’t work like a son-of-a-bitch when I want to”. The way he asked it was to hint to them, try not to give them an excuse to punish him. He really wants to be part of the dream, we never hear Crooks speak of his dreams, when Lennie and Candy talk about their dream, Crooks springs up and wants to become part of it. Crooks has the same dream, but he never shows it, because he’s black. In the ellipsis he is trying to hint to them for them to accept him. We want Crooks to be accepted because it would be a better life, possibly a better ending.
When Crooks wants to be part of Lennie and Candy’s dream, he has his hopes up, but when Curleys’ wife enters the scene and threatens him “I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” he changes his mind- not as if he wants to- but for protection. What Curleys’ wife said was true, so Crooks loses all of his confidence, and backs out of this dream. So what will happen to him is that he will be exactly how he was before lonely, aloof, intimidated. We will feel sorry for him because now he has ended up worse than he was before, now he knows that things will always go wrong for him
In a Depression everybody suffers. If you were black or disabled you suffer even more because nobody would want to employ you. Employers want white, fit and young workers, if they were fit to get that job, it would be low payed, you would suffer either way, but if you was black or disabled you would be less likely to get that job, Candy only got that job because he lost his hand under their behalf. Crooks only got that job because he’s been there a long time and he’s got skill. If Crooks and Candy were kicked and had to start again, it wouldn’t be easy for them to get another job.
The final character I am going to look at is Curleys’ wife. Curleys’ wife is the recent bosses sons wife on the ranch lennie and George worked at- so the men on the ranc will look at her as the “new kid”. “whit picked uphis cards and examined them “seen the new kid yet”. She looks probally 16-17 years old. I know this from when an actor said she could go with them.
She says that she is only 15. “he says I could gowith him on that show. But my ol’ lady wouldn’t let me. She says because I was on’y 15”. Also she is pretty but in an artificial way- this means that she pretends to be beautiful “a girl was standing there looking in. she had full rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her finger nails were red.her hair hung in little rolled clusters like sausages. She wore a cotton house dressand red mules, on the insteps of which were little bouquettes of red ostrich feathers” back then respectable women didn’t wear make up how she does, this is why the men refer her to as a tart “I think Curley’s married… a tart” she is never refered to as a name- just an individual.
Also she can provokes strong feelings in both readers and characters (sympathy and hostility) to lennie, who thinks she’s georgeous- “she’s purty”- and George- who thinks discustingly of her- “don’t you even take a look at that bitch”- the readers feel the same more-or-less. Steinbeck had a more sympathetic view of the character of Curleys’ wife- I know this from the Miss Luce letter. When Steinbeck adapted this novel into a play, the actor playing Curleys’ wife wrote to him because he did not know how to play her. So Steinbeck wrote a sympathetic letter back to Miss Luce explaining that her character in more detail.
There are a number of reasons why Curleys’ wife is lonely. A womans role at that time was far different than today. Women those days had to stay in the home; cook meals and look after the kids- Curleys’ wife can’t do this because she is living with Curleys’ father, she can’t cook there is a cook that cooks all the meals on the ranch.
Today women own companies, go to work etc. Curleys’ wife cannot get a job because in a depression, all the jobs would go to the men, plus women weren’t seen as workers, their job was to stay in the home.
Also respectable women didn’t wear make up, if you did then the men would think bad of you. Yet also there isn’t another woman on the ranch for or nearby-so she hasn’t got any support, girls and boys like the company of people their age, girls share make up, clothes, talk to each other, and chat about life. Curleys’ wife can’t chat with other girls since there isn’t anybody; Curleys’ mother seems evidently dead or doesn’t live with them, so she can’t talk to her. She cannot go into town to meet other girls because she cannot travel alone, if she does then society will disrespect her.
She is treated by Curley as a sex object, as a possession- a perfect example of this is when she dies, Curleys’ reaction to her death, there is no weeping, no remorse, Curley goes straight for revenge “I’m gonna get him. I’m going for my shotgun. I’ll kill the big son-of-a-bitch myself. I’ll shoot him in the guts. Come on, you guys” he only goes for revenge for Lennie because he hates big guys. Curley sees his wife as a sex object from when he brags about his ‘glove fulla Vaseline’ Curley says this because when the men ask him why he is wearing a glove full of Vaseline, he says he is keeping it soft for his wife. He only says this to make the other guys jealous.
As for the other men on the ranch, they see her as someone who is dangerous, she is judged by her first appearance “well ain’t she a looloo?” they say this because she doesn’t fit into the men’s category as normal, respectable women didn’t wear make up- she wears make up- respectable women didn’t leave the house- she’s in their faces. When Whit says “I bet she even gives the stable buck the eye” when he says this, it is a major insult to a woman. For a woman to sleep with a black man is seen as the taboo, it just wasn’t right back then. They refer her to a tart (prostitute); however they talk about the actual tarts at the cathouse with real warmth and pleasure “we go to old susy’s place. Hell of a nice place. Old susy’s a laugh- always cracking jokes.” They talk about tarts as if they like them. But they don’t like Curleys’ wife and call her a tart, when she isn’t one. It seems as if she cannot win.
When you are a married man, you work and look after your wife. Curley has only been married for two weeks and he’s going to the cathouse! Curleys’ wife hasn’t done anything. This does not pass unnoticed; Curleys’ wife tells Lennie how she feels about it “I get lonely” she said “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?”
So what has loneliness done to her? It’s made her desperate; she ignores the voice inside her head that something is wrong. “She took Lennie’s hand and put it on her head”. This shows that she is desperate for company. She also has become cruel “listen nigger” she said “you know what I can do to you if you open your trap” this shows that she feels as if she can get her own back on them, she feels as if- for the first time in a long time I suppose- she can take control. Eventually it kills her. She got that desperate for company that she stayed in that room with Lennie; and got herself killed.
Many people have dreams, Curleys’ wife has a dream, and this dream means a lot to her. Curleys’ wife wants to be a movie star; this was because the film industry was just starting. This was a dream for most young girls back then. Like of how girls of 16-17 want to become models. Evidently this was a realistic dream for young girls back then. She got this dream from when she was 15; an actor said that she could be in the movies “‘nother time I met a guy an’ he was in pitchers. Went out to the riverside dance palace with him.
He says he was going to put me in the movies. Says I was a natural. Soon’s he got back to Hollywood he was going to write to me about it” what this man really wanted to was to sleep with her. I don’t think he was in the movies at all, I think he was just claiming, it would be highly unnatural for a Hollywood film producer to turn up in a small place like Soledad, like a famous person turning up in Bloxwitch, it wouldn’t happen on an everyday basis. This is why her mother wouldn’t let her “my ol’ lady wouldn’t let me” her mother wouldn’t let her go with him because he wanted to protect her. This shows that Curleys’ wife is shallow- cares about her appearance, gullible- believes everything that she is told, and naï¿½ve- meaning that she is too trusting to people.
She hasn’t got any real talent because we haven’t really seen her act out before, so the probability of this dream becoming true is highly unlikely. But she doesn’t want to be in the movies to act. No, she wants to be famous; she wants to be admired and to wear flashy clothes. The affect of this is that she wants to be like how the actresses are, trying to impress the men- just the sad thing is that the men don’t refer her as an actresses, they refer her to as a tart and vow to keep a distance form her.
The effect of this is the total opposite of what she wants (of how they look at her as a tart) she doesn’t want that, she wants to be respected by them. She wants to make something of herself “well I wasn’t gonna stay no place where I couldn’t get nowhere or make something of myself” this ties up with the American Dream. This is great proof that the dream actually exists.
When Curleys’ wife dies, Steinbeck presents her death in a sympathetic and descriptive manner- “now her rouged cheeks and her reddened lips made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly…” when he presents her death, we- us and the characters- see the real woman. We see her no more than a tool to be polished and maimed, never to be respected nor confided in. And when she described her dream beforehand, this is a sympathetic ending to her life.
For the final part of this essay I will talk about who I personally think is the loneliest. I think that the loneliest character is Curleys’ wife because she is the only woman on the ranch and everybody looks down upon her as something disgustingly on a lavatory seat. She is also the loneliest because even her own husband doesn’t particularly respect her.
I think this text of Mice and Men was an interesting and mind bending book with a gripping and plot. There are some things that I know now that I didn’t now before, for instance the Great Depression, I knew roughly what it was but I never knew that this book had the theme of it. Also, loneliness, the other theme, also happens today. Like how it drives people crazy. Like the message John Steinbeck is trying to put out.