‘Of Mice and Men exposes the harsh realities of a cruel world’ Throughout the novella of ‘Of Mice and Men’ the audience is made to desire Lennie and George to live their ‘American dream’. This idea however is turned on its head when Steinbeck reveals the harsh realities of life in the 1930’s. Almost all the characters are yearning for someone to talk to and live a happy life with, and all of them remain lonely by the end of the book.
Steinbeck does this to clearly outline the loneliness that was experienced in this era. During the depression in the 1930’s when money was tight, farmers had to find work quickly and work for any hours to even sustain a living for themselves. This creates the attitude that everyone had to fight for themselves or seek shelter through the kindness of others.
These unfortunate events were displayed throughout the book to show how a harsh, unforgiving world it was. Firstly and most obviously ‘Of Mice and Men’ is most cruel when Crooks and Curley’s wife are constantly ridiculed for their differences.
For Crooks it was because of being the only worker of African-American decent, and for Curley’s wife she was being excluded from the main group because of being the only woman in the book that is around the workers. Crooks’ clear acceptance of his exclusion is apparent when he says, “They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black”. This event in the book shows that time that this story took place was a senseless, merciless life to live in if you were different.
Curley’s wife was rejected from the group because of being the only woman that lives on the ranch.
The men that work on the ranch find her desperate for attention and someone to talk to. Steinbeck never mentions her name in the book because it is a literature technique to make the audience realise she doesn’t deserve her own identity. Page: 1 of 2 Also the men don’t even use her name, often calling her mean things, in which showing how the people around us can be so cruel. Many times in “Of Mice and Men”, the worker group rejects Lennie because he is intellectually hindered. This occurs when Curley attempts to pick a fight with Lennie because he thinks that Lennie isn’t very strong, and how wrong he was. Also another instance when the farmer group ridicules Lennie is when the all go into town to the brothel and leave Lennie behind. Even George says he doesn’t want to be with him at times because he is such a hassle to George. “When I think f the swell time I could have without you, I go nuts”, this quote shows that George is at times quite harsh towards Lennie because he mentally challenged.
Also the world is often cruel to Lennie when he was chased out of the town of Weed because he was falsely accused of rape. It goes to show how that era wasn’t empathetic and understanding at all of others differences. Although the world that “Of Mice and Men” was set in was very harsh, all the men on the ranch hold the false hope of ‘the American dream’, where they can all one day live happily if they work hard until they retire. This even though is false for he majority the men, it gives them hope and a goal to work for. Also most importantly it encourages the workers to make alliances to buy a property quicker. This creates a friendlier environment to work in. This hope is illustrated when George explains to Lennie, “we got a future, we got someone to talk to that gives a damn about us”. This shows that George is confident the he and Lennie can make a living together if they work hard, just like the American dream.
Also when Candy finds out that they have a good plan to live sustainably during the depression, he immediately jumps at the opportunity and pleas to George to let im in on the plan. The idea of ‘ the American dream’ is beneficial because it gives the struggling Americans something to work for, even though it is deceiving. During the 1930’s when America recorded its most catastrophic recession, when the majority of the workers lost their jobs, all the farmers had the survival-of-the- fittest approach to living. Steinbeck beautifully displaces this when he captures the workers struggle by showing their desperate race to make enough money to survive. This turns them all to selfish people, wanting only the best for themselves, making that era a brutal and cruel world.