What does a reading of ‘Of Mice and Men’ reveal about the culture and experience of migrant employees in the 1930s America?Of Mice and Men is a novel set on a cattle ranch in the Salinas Valley in California throughout the Great Anxiety of the 1930s. By reading it, the reader finds out a lot about the lives of itinerant employees and society during that time. Steinbeck likewise communicates his views on society to the reader and how he feels society without law, morals and politics can not sustain itself and will collapse in on itself. He attains this through a range of techniques and techniques, which also make the unique an absorbing read.
Steinbeck’s novel stresses the solitude of its characters. Every character’s life presented in the story is lonely and empty in a manner whether it is apparent to the reader or not. “Hell, I seen a lot of people … appears like ever’ guy got land in his head”, this demonstrates how every ranch employee needs to bask from insubstantial imagine a better life in order to conquer their loneliness.
Steinbeck develops this idea of solitude to the reader right near the start of the book and reminds the reader once again at the end of the book, “People like us … are the loneliest guys on the planet … develop a stake and go inta town and blow their stake”. This once again illustrates to the reader how the isolation of an employee makes them ready to spend for a short-term relief which would cause just a brief duration of enjoyment.
Criminals, the only Negro, is separated by society’s partition, his solitude is emphasised by his different quarter where his bunk is positioned. Steinbeck explains in information his living conditions to show this to the reader, “… a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn … and spread about the floor were a number of personal possessions.”
The spreading about of Criminal’s personal ownerships demonstrate how Criminal’s is painfully conscious that this quarter belongs to him just. Steinbeck specifically utilizes small characters like Crooks to help bring forward the style of isolation to the reader because it strikes the reader as they realise how the flaws in society can also affect ranch workers that are as irrelevant as Crooks and produce pathos for their situation.
The characters all have a dream; especially the travelling cattle ranch employees who have a shared dream. The main dream in the novel is George and Lennie’s imagine having the ability to buy a farm with animals and living of the fat of the land. Sweet’s passion to become part of this dream demonstrates that this is a dream which most ranch workers share.
Even small characters in the story grip onto their own visions of a much better life for comfort and a sense of security. For Scoundrels, the lonesome Negro, this vision is a classic memory of his childhood, when he dealt with his bros and daddy on a chicken ranch, a location where he was not the only black man.
He likewise permits himself the enjoyable fantasy of hoeing a spot of garden on Lennie’s farm one day. Prior to her death, Curley’s wife admits her desire to be a movie star. Even Curley, the most uninviting and unsympathetic character in the book has a dream, which is to acquire regard from the other males on the cattle ranch. Steinbeck puts this forward by dedicating a whole page to how Curley attempts to prove that he is strong to the other guys, “He’s alla time choosing scraps with big men.”
Slim is the only character that does not seem to require an illusion to protect him versus the harsh realities of the world. Rather, the reader is led into believing that his skill in his work and how his fellow ranch employees see him is what brings him peace and satisfaction, “… the prince of the cattle ranch … for Slim’s opinion were law.”
To stress this a lot more, Steinbeck uses an exact list to explain Slim’s abilities, “… capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line … his ear heard more than was stated.” The emotions which Slim experiences are unfamiliar to the itinerant cattle ranch employee. However the dreams of the other characters are a failure, circumstances have actually taken these dreams away, Curley’s other half for example, has actually resigned herself to an unfulfilling marital relationship where her imagine ending up being a motion picture star can not become a reality.
George and Lennie’s imagine owning a cattle ranch and living on the fat of the land is also made unachievable due to the death of Lennie. Given that this imagine theirs is used as a representation of the American Dream. Its failure was inescapable due to the fact that the American Dream was not a success, so a reflection of the American Dream would be a failure too.
A great deal of attention is likewise paid to the powerlessness of the cattle ranch workers. Steinbeck shows clearly how ranch workers are not able to get any greater in society and are restricted to this sort of life, where dreams are unfulfilled and the only way to rise up in society is with money and regard. Steinbeck reveals this through in charge and the one in charge’ child, Curley, “Looks like Curley ain’t offering nobody a chance … will not ever get canned ’cause he’s the old man’s manager”.
This shows clearly that those with cash and power are in control of those without who are lower in status. However, it can also be argued that the white ranch employees in the novel are the reason that they themselves remain in the hardship trap, since they are not able to save up.
They utilize all their money to buy themselves short-term entertainment, drinks and prostitutes, “… work up a stake and then go inta town and blow their stake. It is various for Criminals due to the fact that he has no opportunity of escaping the life he has, he is caught in it by his colour, the law and his special needs, “Sure. Ya see the steady buck’s a nigger.”
Steinbeck thinks that for the ranch employees to survive and to be able to live a better life, they have to co-operate and collaborate with each other, rather of taking on each other all the time. Nonetheless, he likewise visibly demonstrates how this is unattainable by the males in this society by highlighting their differences in status, understanding and intelligence.
The writer represents George, Slim and Crooks as intellectual and delicate, however for every one, there is a reason to why they are not able to co-operate to accomplish their hopes and dreams together. For George, he feels that it is his responsibility to look after Lennie, George is committed to Lennie due to the fact that Lennie is what puts significance into life for George to keep him going; but Lennie is also a drag to George and keeps him back.
Society’s segregation is primarily responsible for Scoundrel’s low status, however Steinbeck likewise leads the reader into thinking Crooks is partly responsible himself. His actions when Lennie enters his bunk, develops a barrier between himself and Lennie who was simply seeking companionship, “… get outta my room, you ain’t wanted in my space.”
A character such as Carlson, who is a prefect example of the reader’s view of a normal cattle ranch worker, is simply incapable of co-operating due to his absence of feelings and feelings. Steinbeck thinks that this kind of character has actually developed due to his lack of relationship.
There is a substantial link between Lennie, Crooks, Sweet and Curley’s spouse which the author uses to explain his point on how particular types of individuals can not survive in this sort of society. Theses three characters have something in common, they are weak, and Steinbeck makes their weak points quite evident to the reader, “They left all the weak ones here”, he also uses Lennie’s mice and young puppy to represent the idea of how the strong ones survive and the weak ones pass away.
However, in society, Lennie is not considered as strong, he is physically strong, however is mentally handicapped. Crooks is a Negro and Sweet is old and physically disabled. The reader’s impression of Curley’s spouse is that she is effective due to the fact that she is the spouse of in charge’ child, but plainly threatens to get Crooks fired, however is reliant on her husband to attain this. Therefore this reveals that the reader’s impression is incorrect.
Steinbeck makes the link in between these characters more apparent by 2 terrible deaths of Curley’s better half and Lennie. Though these deaths do not take place near the start of the unique, Steinbeck drops small tips to foreshadow these deaths using a well structured story. Right at the start, the reader finds out that Lennie likes to stroke soft animals, but has a tendency to eliminate them accidentally.
This foreshadows the later deaths of his young puppy, Curley’s wife and Lennie himself. Moreover, when George recounts Lennie’s occurrence with the female at the cattle ranch in Weed and how he warns Lennie not to consume the water, “You gon na be sick like you was last night”, the reader anticipates that comparable difficulty will arise at the ranch.
Likewise, Lennie’s panicked, however brutal squeezing of Curley’s hand prepares for the force with which he gets Curley’s spouse by the throat, inadvertently breaking her neck. Steinbeck’s repeated comparisons between Lennie and animals, “His fist lost in Lennie’s paw,” likewise reinforce the sense of doom. Finally, Steinbeck develops tension as the story nears Lennie’s death; he uses light to achieve this affect.
How light fades slowly gives the reader a sensation that it is completion of something else, “… the night came fast.” These deaths likewise assist demonstrate how Steinbeck feels that societies like this will self destruct. These deaths are because of society’s prosperity to solve issues with discrimination and violence, “Curley’ll get ‘im killed … an’ the other people will.”
Each of the characters in the unique represents a kind of individual in the American society and often one that is a victim of discrimination. In this novel, Steinbeck focuses on prejudice as the culture’s central shared value, each employee presented in this book are prejudiced. The white employees are racist towards black men and Steinbeck uses Crooks to represent this bias.
Although the white employees identify Scoundrel’s compassion and skills, “Great fella … Jesus, how that nigger can pitch shoes”, they still segregate him in the exact same way society does. This is revealed through Scoundrel’s description of rejecting Lennie when he visits his quarter, “… I can’t play due to the fact that I am black. They say I stink.”
With the concept of racism, Steinbeck is trying to put forward his view on how he feels society is unjust. Those with cash and power do not deserve it and those without do. The reader is made to sympathise with Criminals because in the story, he is made to appear innocent and helpless. The men on the ranch are sexist towards Curley’s spouse. She is not provided a name throughout the entire novel and is referred to only as “Looloo”, “floozy” and other insulting names. This shared value again represents Steinbeck’s idea of how society can not make it through without ladies.
Despite the fact that the reader is made to sympathise with Curley’s better half prior to she dies, the males’s impression of ladies in this novel is minimal and unflattering. The reader learns that George and Lennie are on the run from their previous cattle ranch where they came across problem with a woman who misinterpreted Lennie’s love for soft things.
The ranchers also spend a great deal of their money on women and these females belong to the reason these guys can not conserve up their money. Lennie’s unintentional killing of Curley’s partner also damages the only hope left in George of their dream becoming reality. However, it can likewise be argued hat the men’s vial treatment of Curley’s better half is what drives her to Lennie and therefore her death. Steinbeck utilizes females as an alerting to society, how this kind of society can lead to undesirable deaths.
Scoundrels also shares a worth between his white fellow ranchers. Steinbeck puts this concept forward with the description of Criminal’s room, “… there was a small four-paned window”, and the description of the bunkhouse, “… there were small, square windows”. The novelist utilizes these little sized windows to signify that hope and chance for these guys is just really small.
Steinbeck underlines this little hope by providing the reader occasional impressions that George and Lennie’s dream might become a reality. An obvious example of this is when Candy is presented into their dream and cash appears not to be an issue any longer. This instantly makes their dream seem attainable, become reality and hope increases for the 3 characters.
However, right after this scene, Steinbeck utilizes the fight in between Lennie and Curley to take this hope away once again, “We need the stake. Will Curley’s old male can us now?” through thoroughly structuring of the narrative. The abrupt loss of hope is what emphasises the small hope ranch employees have, how delicate possibilities are.
Law does not exist in a cattle ranch employee’s mind; they are able to take justice into their own hands. Steinbeck establishes this concept right near the beginning and completion of the book. He does this to signify the cyclical procedure of the story and society, how society repeats its mistakes, how guys don’t’ discover and are unable to fix their errors.
In chapter 3, George discusses to Slender the incident that took place in Weed, “The guys in Weed begin a search celebration out to lynch Lennie”; and the story ends with a comparable group of guys who seek Lennie. Dullness is likewise a shared worth for guys on a cattle ranch. Along with discussing how guys are desperate for short term entertainment, Steinbeck also utilizes the chase after Lennie to show this.
This chase is an excitement for a travelling ranch worker, “… I’ll go get my Luger, and he went out.” The reader would not anticipate going after someone to lynch them would be a type of excitement and home entertainment and yet a bloody thirst for revenge, in the guise of justice, appears to unite them.
The truth that the novel is framed by the natural environment in chapters one and six emphasises that Steinbeck was interested in the natural order of things where the fittest endure and being fit is frequently just luck or fate which can not be fought or modified. How fate can not be controlled is just plainly demonstrated to the reader by the heron and the snake just before Lennie’s death which is near completion of the novel.
A water snake swims to a heron without realising, and is consumed by it, “the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved anxiously”. Steinbeck utilizes particular descriptive words to describe the water snake, making it seem helpless and helpless, ‘little snake’, ‘frantically’. In this society, Sweet’s pet represents the fate awaiting anybody who has outlasted his or her function.
The pet was once a great sheepdog that worked on the cattle ranch, Sweet’s pooch is now weakened by age. What Steinbeck is attempting to get across the reader is that to endure, an individual has to ‘fit’, which implies male, young and white. The events surrounding Sweet’s pet dog also parallels Lennie’s fate, Candy is committed to the animals simply as George is devoted to Lennie, however both have to endure the death of their buddies.
Nature has a substantial role in this novel. Steinbeck utilizes nature to signify again the cyclical process of society. The unique starts with the natural description of the environment and ends with the description of the same environment. Steinbeck uses this cyclical procedure to demonstrate how males in this society do not learn from their errors.
This therefore provides the reader an impression that society will duplicate itself again with the exact same mistakes it has made prior to. This society is unnatural and to show this, the author utilizes the characters to reveal the disturbance of nature. The pool described at the start of the very first chapter is a location of sanctuary away from the world of people, “the Salinas River runs deep and green.”
But this is soon disrupted by 2 characters, George and Lennie, who enter into the scene causing animals to flee, “The rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover.” Near completion of the novel, Lennie avoids a water snake from being eaten, “Suddenly Lennie appeared … the heron jacked itself clear of the water”, this implies that Lennie has disordered the natural way of interaction and Steinbeck uses Lennie as a device to represent how this society is against nature.
The cautious attention paid to the descriptions of the bunkhouse and the natural surroundings reveals that they are significant to the story in the future. Nature is likewise a representation of flexibility and the description of this setting contrasts the bunkhouse’s description; Steinbeck uses this contrast and how George wishes to sleep out there, “It’s gon na be great sleepin’ out here”, to show how the cattle ranch does not have freedom.
Steinbeck fills the text with signs and symbols to offer hints about the future. The unfavorable signs clearly exceed the favorable signs which reveal that something terrible is going to happen. The images of light explained at the start of the novel, “the mountains flamed with the light of the sun that had gone”, represents George’s last day of liberty.
Steinbeck utilizes this to show how flexibility is an opportunity, but is limited for a ranch worker. The repetitions of specific animals are utilized to as concepts. The water snake and the dead mouse are duplicated numerous times in the novel. Snakes are typically used to symbolise evil or misfortune and in the unique, Steinbeck utilizes it to suggest something negative for George and Lennie.
As for the dead mouse introduced at the start represents the failure to learn because the reader later on discovers that Lennie has eliminated a number of mice currently. Like the little window of hope, Steinbeck uses the bunnies to represent to same idea of how hope is little and the dreams for the future are far from reach. “… and how I get to tend the bunnies,” every time the rabbits are described, it is constantly George or Lennie thinking or informing the reader about them; in the novel, the reader never ever encounters a genuine, live bunny.
Steinbeck utilizes this novel as a sympathetic and sensitive discussion of travelling workers, and to reveal the reader that all cattle ranch employees can not be dismissed as one type. Although Slim is a proficient mechanic on the ranch, he is the complete opposite of Carlson, the only case in point of a travelling rancher in the book who is self-centered and cares just for his own convenience.
He represents the insensitivity which most ranch employees have. He convinces Sweet to have Sweet’s dog killed. He informs Candy that killing the pet dog would put it out of its torment, but it is clear to the reader that it is simply an excuse to hide his selfishness, “God awmighty that dog stinks.”
Candy plainly describes how the canine is his closest companion, but Carlson still talks him into killing it without even considering Candy’s sensations for the canine. Steinbeck likewise concentrates a lot on the other characters, such as George, that do not have the personality of a travelling worker.
George is a clever individual with feelings, he has a friendship and tie with Lennie, making it hard for him to kill Lennie, “… brought the muzzle to the back of Lennie’s head, the hand shook strongly. The contrasting views that the reader gets of these characters makes it clear that cattle ranch workers can likewise be delicate, emotional and smart. For that reason, they were undeserving of such a tough life.
Steinbeck’s text is an allegory which is both polemical and didactic. He utilizes his character types, areas, animal imagery and the natural surroundings to attack society and to demonstrate to the reader that these cattle ranch workers dream about lives of terrific significance, however all experience limitations that keep these dreams from becoming truth. He likewise provides an insight to the reader about the lonesome, empty lives of itinerant migrant workers and the home entertainment and relief they are desperate for to conquer this emptiness.