Steinbeck’s had wrote “Of Mice and Menï¿½ in about the 1930s, he was a ranch hand himself so he knew clearly how lonely the itinerant workers were. So for the main theme of the book, was the loneliness of different characters. Apart from that, some themes were based on racism and discrimination against old people and women. The other main theme which was the American dream which had always appeared as George and Lennie’s little place that they dreamed about.
The way Steinbeck told the readers about the theme, was to show the themes which are mentioned above through the characters. For all the character, there must be some kinds of loneliness except Slim who we weren’t told about. For George, some people might think he was not lonely because he had Lennie to travel with him, but at some point Lennie was also a problem for him. When he was with Lennie by the river at the beginning of the book, George had been very
annoyed about how Lennie’s getting him went from ranch to ranch, travelling round the country and he also moaned about he could have spent money for drinks, or going to cat-house if only Lennie wasn’t with him, and also that’s why he wanted a little place of their own so much.
For Candy, Steinbeck showed the racism again old aged people. Candy was lonely because he had nobody, no friends, no family and all he had was the dog which got shot later in the novel and left him even more lonely. Also Candy was already very old and had only one hand, so he didn’t know when he would get canned and be “sent to the countyï¿½. He thought he would have a change for the rest of his life when George told him that they could do the little place and the dream would come true, he was very interested in it, but the dream was spoilt by Curley’s wife completely.
Racism against different coloured people was show on Crooks by the loneliness was describe by Steinbeck. Crooks had his own room, and wasn’t allowed to be in the bunk house, so he had no friends and had no one to talk to. He wanted to be like Lennie and George, to have another person to look after you when you were sick and maybe to talked to. Sometimes he didn’t even know if he was dreaming or not because he was on his own and had nobody to tell him was he dreaming, and that is loneliness. As he was so lonely, he was jealous of Lennie and George and he said to Lennie what would he do if George didn’t come back and pushed Lennie into a very panic situation and all he wanted to do was to let Lennie feel how bad it was for him. Steinbeck showed the racism again women through Curley’s wife.
At the ranch, everybody had kept a distance from her , the reason for that was because she was the only woman on the ranch, they didn’t want to get in trouble and also Curley didn’t like other men to be with her too. She had her own dream about how she could have been to Hollywood and how she could have been in the movies if only she hadn’t got married with Curley. The way Steinbeck didn’t give Curley’s wife a name seemed to show that she was not important and she seemed to be an object to Curley more than she was herself.
Friendship was another main theme which Steinbeck was writing about, the friendship between Lennie and George was very deep, Lennie couldn’t live without George and this showed when Crooks said to him about how he suppose George won’t come back and leave him forever. Lennie couldn’t take it, he become very scared, panicky and worried about George, he started to ask Crooks about why he said that because he couldn’t take suppose and he thought Crooks knew something was going to happen to George. For George, although he could live without Lennie, but he’ll be very sad and he had never though of living without Lennie. He never thought of it was showed when they talked about the little place, Lennie was always in his mind about how he had to tend the rabbits.
When Lennie killed Curley’s wife, he asked Slim about would there be any chance for not killing Lennie. He was very worried about what would Lennie feel and how he would be treated. This showed how much care he gave Lennie like a father to a son. Apart from the friendship between Lennie and George, there was also a kind of friendship between Candy and his old dog. He kept on saying how he had the old dog since it was a puppy, and also he was very proud about how the old dog used to be a very good sheep dog when it was young. The death of the old dog got him very upset, it seemed that he had lost everything in his world once the dog was dead. I think the shooting of the old dog had a bit of relation to George shooting Lennie at the end.
Those are all the main theme which Steinbeck was talking about all through the book, the reader can empathise both with the characters with their individual problems and the themes that Steinbeck writes about. The individual problems and the themes are universal and part of the
In the book, at the beginning at each section, there is a clear description of each setting which gives the reader a clear image of what it was like by the river, in the bunk house and in the barn. Some examples which I found gave you the clear image from the book was when it said in section one by the river : “the Salinas River in close to the hill-side bank and runs deep and greenï¿½.. One side of the golden foothill slopes curve up to the strong and rocky Gabilan mountains, but on the valley side the water is lined with trees – willows fresh and green with every spring, carrying in their lower leaf junctures the debris of the winter’s flooding; and sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs and branches that arch over the poolï¿½..ï¿½ Apart from the ï¿½rst section, Steinbeck also put great detail of the setting in each section which are all very well written.
For the bunk house, it said: ” a rectangular buildingï¿½ ” the wall were white-washed and ï¿½oor unpaintedï¿½ just from these two description you can see how bleak the bunk house was. And it certainly wasn’t good conditions to live in. Another setting which was very well described was Crooks’ room at section four. It said: ” one side of the room was a square four-panned window, and on the other, a narrow plank door leading into the barnï¿½.ï¿½ “Crooks’ bunk was ï¿½lled with straw, on which his blankets were ï¿½ung.ï¿½ these descriptions also showed how unfairly Crooks was treated.
Not only settings were in detail, but also when characters appear for their ï¿½rst time, there was also description about their appearance and and clothes they were wearing. Lennie was described as a huge man, shapeless of face, large pale eyes, wide sloping shoulders and he was described as if he was a bear by the way he drags his feet when he was walking. Candy was described as a tall, stoop-shouldered old man in blue jeans and without a hand. The description of Curley’s wife was in more detail than others, it said: “she had full rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her ï¿½nger-nails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. She wore a cotton house dress and red mules, on the insteps of which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers. She had a nasal, brittle voice.ï¿½ It showed what a show off Curley’s wife was, wearing all those in a ranch. For Curley, it said: ” A thin young man with a brown face, brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair.
He wore a work glove on his left hand, and like the boss, he wore high-heeled boots.ï¿½ also the book had mention that he his glance was “calculatingï¿½ and “pugnaciousï¿½, this showed he wasn’t a good character and was going to get in some kind of trouble with Lennie and George. This was also showed in the beginning when Curley tried to pick on Lennie because he didn’t like big guys. Candy had told George: “He hates big guys.ï¿½ This sets Lennie in a very bad situation against Curley when he had done nothing. For all the main characters like Lennie, George, Candy and Curley’s wife, their feelings were all described in detail so we how what they feel. These feelings were also based on the main themes, loneliness and discriminations. Through his vivid style of writing and the realistic way in which he describes his characters, Steinbeck’s brings the novels alive for the reader which is part of its appeal.
In the book, there was tension created by Steinbeck except in section one. In section two, when Lennie and George ï¿½rst met Curley, there was a kind of tension from Curley to Lennie, he disliked big guys so he picked on Lennie,when he saw Lennie and George, the book described Curley as: “His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into ï¿½sts. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch.ï¿½ This give us the image of a nasty man trying to make big guy be scared of him. Later on he tried to pick on Lennie by making him talk but George helped him out then just before Curley went out of the bunk-house he said to Lennie: “Well, nex’ time you answer when you’re spoke to.ï¿½ This was an order from Curley as the boss’ son. And so the tension didn’t last very long at this section.
In section three, until the shooting of Candy’s dog seemed to be normal, but Steinbeck had created the atmosphere had lots of tension and quietness which makes not only the character but the reader feel uncomfortable as well. He created the tension by keep putting silence in the room after Carlson had taken the old dog out. It said: ” The silence fell on the room again. It came out of the nigh and invaded the room.ï¿½ Later on George tried to break the quietness by asking would anyone want to play little euchre but he didn’t shuffled the card and then the book said: “He rippled the edge of the deck nervously, and the little snapping noise drew the eyes of all men in the room, so that he stopped doing it.ï¿½
Then it mentioned that: ” The silence fell on the room again.ï¿½ Another disruption came and it said: “There came a little gnawing sound from under the ï¿½oor and all the men looked down toward it gratefully.ï¿½ This showed that the men there couldn’t stand the quietness in the room. Then After this little disruption had gone, again it said: “the silence was in the room again.ï¿½ After all those silence we ï¿½nally get the shot from Carlson, it said: “A shot sounded in the distance.ï¿½ This section keep on going like that because it is the way Steinbeck tried to keep the reader to carry on reading to ï¿½nd out what will happen next by putting the atmosphere from tense to relax.
The tension which was created in section four was when Crooks got very jealous of Lennie has George so he stated to tell Lennie what will he do without George. Of cause this was too much for Lennie and he though Crooks knew someone was going to hurt George and become panicky. In the book it said: “Suddenly Lennie’s eyes centred and grew quiet and mad. He stood up and walked dangerously towards Crooks. “who hurt George? …ï¿½ This reaction of Lennie makes the reader feel as if he was going to kill Crooks. But after Crooks had calm Lennie down, everything were ï¿½ne. Apart from Lennie was still a bit scared. Another tension in this scene was created by Curley’s wife when she went into Crooks’ room and started being horrible. When Crooks’ started to tell Curley’s wife to go away she said: “You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?ï¿½ then Crooks’ was scared and said: ” Yes ma’am.ï¿½and she went on: “Well, keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.ï¿½ She used her superior social status as a white women to frightened Crooks. Here not only was the feeling of tension created, but the loneliness and the helpless situation of Crooks too.
In section ï¿½ve is when Lennie killed Curley’s wife this was the most tense part. Lennie didn’t mean to kill Curley’s wife, only because Lennie wouldn’t let go of her hair then she started to scream and got Lennie more and more nervous then he tried to keep her quiet. Curley’s wife was in a great panic so she continued to struggle. At ï¿½rst Lennie begged her to be quiet but as she wouldn’t do it, he grew more and more angry: “He shook her then and he was angry with her. ï¿½Don’t you yellin’.’ he said, and he shook her; and her body ï¿½opped like a ï¿½sh. And then she was still, for Lennie had broken her neck.ï¿½ Here was the part clearly showing how Lennie could lose his control of power and do things were very wrong.
In section six, the tension was mixed up with sadness, but it was still there when George found Lennie and he was trying to make Lennie to remember about their little place. He tried to shoot Lennie a few times but he couldn’t, it said: “George raised the gun and his hand shook, and he dropped his hand to the ground again.ï¿½ Then he goes on about the place again and told Lennie to keep thinking, also he told Lennie they were going to that place and he said: “Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta.ï¿½ he was prepare to do it: “And George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head. The hand shook violently, but his face sent and his hand steadied. He pulled the trigger. The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and rolled down again.
Lennie jarred, and then settled slowly forward to the sand, and he lay without quivering.ï¿½ Apart from that there was the sound of the men shouting to remind the reader that the people at the ranch were still looking for Lennie and it make the reader to think will they ï¿½nd him to create tension. When he talked to Lennie about the little place, he wanted him to think as if they were going there to make Lennie die in a more happier way. The way in which Steinbeck varies the pace and mood of the novel, from reï¿½ection to great tension keeps the reader’s attention focused and is part of the novel appeal. Steinbeck’s used of imagery and symbolism adds depth to the story and character of the novel. They add to the vividness of his description and to the reader’s enjoyment.
After all the tension Steinbeck had used, he also used some slang and colloquial language, like when Slim said: “You hadda, George. I swear you hadda.ï¿½ Also when George said: “I gotta. We gotta.ï¿½ Apart from that, Steinbeck also used lots of double negatives like when Lennie said: “I don’t want no ketchup.ï¿½ and when George said: “I ain’t done nothing like that no more.ï¿½ They all make the novel more dramatic and more real as if they are talking in front of you.
Steinbeck used quite a few of juxtaposition which is to put some background sound with another thing which had nothing to do with it together and to make the reader think as if they really heard it. When Curley’s wife was dead, there was the clang of horse-shoes out side the barn. When Lennie and George was by the river, there was some background noise of men shouting to remind George that he had to kill Lennie or he’ll get killed in a more horrible way or get locked up. Not only what we heard, also what we saw. Steinbeck described some of the event very clearly about what was happening, for example the ï¿½ght: “Curley was balanced and poised. He slashed at Lennie with his left, and then smashed down his nose with a right. Lennie gave a cry of terror. Blood welled from his nose.ï¿½ The description was so clear that it give you a very clear image of what was happening.
Other things which gave you a very clear image was the animal imagery. It described the snake like this: “a water snake glided smoothly up the pool, twisting its periscope head from side to side.ï¿½ Others are about the shadow: ” the shade climbed up the hills towards the top.ï¿½ this was personiï¿½cation which described things as though they are human.
Nearly at the end, Lennie had the vision of seeing his Aunt Clara and a giant rabbit which talked to him using Lennie’s own voice. I ï¿½nd it really weird, my ï¿½rst though was what was that doing there? Then I though the things which the rabbit and aunt Clara said was all the things which George always nagged to Lennie about. Lennie was so scared that he didn’t know what he was doing, all he was worrying about was what would George feel and will George get mad at him. He was just like a kid who had done something really bad and worrying about will his father come and punish him. Although it was odd but it really told you a lot about how much Lennie cared about George.
Steinbeck used the language symbolically about the light was blocked out by Curley’s wife. When Lennie and George was in the bunk house, she was standing in the door way and blocked out the light, this refers to how Lennie killed her and too the light(hope) away from Lennie, George, Crooks and Candy. The whole situation was alright until Curley’s wife had appear and all the things had been ruined by her, nothing was left but more sadness and loneliness in many people. Steinbeck has taken a very dramatic story which makes the reader want to carry on reading and ï¿½ne out what will happen next. Into the story he has put characters at the way his readers will care about and made them speak vividly in the language of the time. This description make events, places and people come alive in the imagination of the reader.It is this combination of things which has made the novel so popular for over sixty years and have made it so successful both as a play and film.