John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men
There are many reasons why John Steinbeck added Candy to his book Of
Mice and Men. The first and foremost reason, which may not be so
obvious at first, is that Candy is in fact the narrator. He is the
narrator in a way because he is the one telling George and Lennie
about the ranch. Candy
describes to them the people, their
personalities and who to stay away from.
When Candy is first introduced, he is called the 'old swamper'. We
only discover his name after a while. The first person Candy talks
about is Crooks, the 'nigger' stable. From this you can make out that
the others on the ranch are prejudice towards the stable buck, ' Ya
see the stable buck's a nigger,' Crooks is clearly disadvantaged due
to his skin colour. When the boss
is finished talking to Lennie and
George, George tells Lennie off for talking. As Lennie is being told
off, George looked outside and found Candy standing there, thinking
Candy was eavesdropping, George repeatedly asks Candy why he was
standing out side, '…and peered out. "Say, what the hell you doin'
listenin'?' '"I wasn't listenin'. I was jus' standin' in the shade a
minute scratchin' my dog."' Candy says that guys on ranches don't
listen into things they shouldn't, ' "A guy on a ranch don't never
listen nor he don't ast no questions."' Candy tells George about
Curley and to keep Lennie away from him, '" Curley's like a lot of
little guys. Kind of like he's made at em' because he ain't a big guy.
You seen little guys like that, ain't you? Always scrappy?"' He tells
George to not tell Curley that he was talking about him because he
would get 'sloughed' by Curley and Curley won't get fired because he
is the boss' son. '"Don't Curley I said none of this. He'd slough me.
He just don't give a damn. Won't ever get canned 'cause his old man's
Candy also tells George that Curley has gotten even cockier than
before he was married, '"Seems like Curley is cockier'n ever since he
got married."' Candy tells George a secret about Curley's hand, '"You
seen that glove on his left hand?… Well that glove's full of Vaseline…
Well, I tell ya what, Curley says he's keepin' that hand soft for his
wife."' George is clearly not impressed by Candy's secret and tells
him '"That's a dirty thing to tell around,"' the comment by George
seemed expected by Candy who listened in delight. '"The old man was
reassured. He had drawn a derogatory statement from George. He felt
safe now, and he spoke more confidently."' Candy seems to know about
Curley's wife and her giving 'the eye' to Slim and Carlson. '"I seen
her give Slim the eye,"' '"An' I seen her give Carlson the eye."'
When the subject of Candy's dog comes up, they decide to put the dog
out of its misery and to kill it, '"This ol' dog jus' suffers hisself
all the time."' They all try to tell Candy that the dog won't feel it
after he admits that the dog should be put down, '"He won't even feel
Candy was standing outside Crooks' room and wanted to come inside. He
was asking Lennie about 'the dream' that George and he had. It seemed
that Crooks was trying to make negative remarks about the dream but
Candy seemed interested in it. Candy became involved because he
overheard a conversation between George and Lennie and was in, ' Candy
went on exitedly: "How much they want for a place like that?"'
When Candy saw Curley's wife dead on the floor he was clearly shocked,
'"Oh, Jesus Christ!"' and then he left the barn. Candy first response
to the sight was he asked George if they could still accomplish the
dream. It seemed to him not to prolong the inevitable because he knew
the answer to his own question, 'Now Candy spoke his greatest fear.
"You an' me can get that little place, can't we George? You an' me can
go there an' live nice, can't we, George? Can't we?" Before George
answered, Candy dropped his head and looked down at the hay. He knew.'
George said '"I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed
we'd never do her…"' '"Then - it's all off?" Candy asked sulkily.
George didn't answer this, as they both knew the answer. Candy felt
sorrow and anger at Curley's wife; he then expresses this into words.
'"You God damn tramp… You done it di'n't 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"' Candy clearly feels angry with Curley's
wife and why shouldn't he be, she shattered his dreams as if it were a
piece of glass into tiny fragments.
The way Candy behaves and speaks as if he were the narrator telling
the story, although he isn't. He speaks in a tone, which isn't with
any anger or conflict with anyone and is friends with everyone. As he
is the only one explaining what the ranch is like, what to do and what
not to do he is as if the narrator describing everyone's character and
who to steer clear of. He speaks as if an old friend of the person
listening in a soft and comfortable tone.
Of Mice & Men is set in California within the 1930's during the time
of the depression. During this time many people lived in poverty,
struggling to find employment, and had to resort to travelling from
ranch to ranch in search of it. Unemployment had risen to 25% in the
United States. At this time the 'American dream' that so many had
sought after out had become nothing more than a lost dream.
George tries to be a good example to Lennie of how a man should be. He
teaches Lennie from what he has learned himself through travelling
"You never oughta drink water when it ain't running, Lennie, he said
hopelessly." Lennie doesn't always seem to respond to George's
knowledge because of Lennie's mental state. George must teach Lennie
by example sometimes as Lennie often imitates George, like when George
washed his face and neck before they reached the ranch. After George
washed "Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly".
George will respect a group's leader, such as Slim, and will follow
advice and instruction but he is also strong minded himself and
dislikes unpleasant or unjust people such as Curley. George is wary of
most people he meets apart from Lennie and also Slim who he unusually
opens up to George is respected by others but also counted the same as
everyone else. Others do not think of him as a leader, except possibly
by Lennie. Most others see him as an honest peer. He is accepted into
George was never completely isolated because he always had the
constant companionship of Lennie. He was isolated in the fact that he
did not feel that he could open up to anyone, to talk about his
problems and Lennie's mental handicap. George did eventually open up
to Slim, unexpectedly. I think this is because George admired Slim,
"George looked over at Slim and saw the calm, godlike eyes…" George is
also isolated from others apart from Lennie because he is forced to
keep moving from ranch to ranch after Lennie destroys their
opportunity to work at every ranch the par visit. When Lennie is
killed, George is left all alone.
George is also a very brave man but not because he risked his life or
put himself in danger. George's bravest act in Of Mice and Men was
shooting his long-term companion, Lennie. George was both reluctant
and determined to shoot Lennie. Even though he didn't want to he knew
what he had to do. "The hand shook violently, but his face set and his
hand steadied. He pulled the trigger." By shooting Lennie, George lost
his closest friend and his dream for his own place. He had to work
alone now that Lennie had gone and became just another ordinary ranch
worker. George said on many occasions "Guys like us, that work on
ranches are the loneliest guys in the world… But not us". George and
Lennie were only different because they had each other. George was
also brave because he made sure it was he who killed Lennie. After
Candy let someone else shoot his dog he was unhappy and regretted not
doing it himself. Candy felt his dog was his responsibility and he
should have put him down. In much the same way George felt that Lennie
was his responsibility and so it should be him who ends Lennie's life.
George was braver than Candy in this respect as he killed Lennie
unlike Candy, who allowed Slim to do the deed. Both stories have very
sad endings. In Of Mice and Men, George is left without a companion,
as just another ranch worker, and is further away from his dream than
he ever was before.
A short synopsis of "Of Mice And Men" is that the two main characters
George and Lennie when we first meet them are looking for jobs on a
ranch. George was a small but smart person. Lennie was a large man but
he was mentally handicapped. The story ends tragically with the end of
a long friendship with the death of Lennie. Another life is also lost
and this is of Curley's wife in Lennie's hands.
In "Of Mice And Men" a clear image of the setting is illustrated thus
putting the readers in the shoes of the characters. The settings and
surroundings are described in a way I feel that I could close my eyes
and imagine I was there. Steinbeck's intense way of describing and
presenting the characters help create a familiarity with the reader
which enabled us to relate closely with the characters. Steinbeck's
uses a very vivid descriptive style of writing he describes each and
every part giving substance to each section of the novel, this is
important in creating an atmosphere for the reader. For example when
Steinbeck writes, "The Salinas River drops in close to the hill-side
bank and runs deep and green." (Pg 18) Instead of simple descriptions
Steinbeck uses powerful adjectives and makes the reader experience the
On the whole the first chapter consists of a similar style of writing.
Examples can be when he writes, "On one side of the river the golden
foothills 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," this statement goes in to a lot of
detail and it was made to seem that Steinbeck was present at the scene
in "Of Mice And Men" it is obvious that all the people on the ranch
were lonely and although George and Lennie had each other they still
possessed their own kind of loneliness. This is also the case shown in
the novel "Great Expectations". As I analyzed "Great Expectations" I
came to believe that Pip did not really have a family largely due to
the reason that his mother and father were dead. Although he did have
his sister and brother in-law however without his parents it was not
the same. In the theme of loneliness the relationships that the main
characters have in the two novels are very similar, although having
someone there in "Of Mice And Men" George and Lennie had each other
and in "Great Expectations" Pip had his brother in-law an overwhelming
sense of loneliness still existed.
For example, Lennie and George depend on each other and share things
with each other in the same way Pip and Joe Gargery the blacksmith
shared things with each other. I have also realised that the main
characters depend on either one. For example, George is Lennie's
nurturer meaning George looks after Lennie just like Joe Gargery looks
out for Pip. This shows me that John Steinbeck
and Charles Dickens
write upon many themes in their novels and that you cannot classify
there writing in a novel under one theme-lonliness John Steinbeck's
novel Of Mice and Men conveys the impression, that it is a novel of
protest. The character Candy suffers from discrimination because of his
age and his disability. Steinbeck uses this character to protest against
ageism and the treatment of the disabled during the Great Depression.
The repeated reference to Candy's hopelessness could be understood as
a protest against ageism. He says more than once that if he "can't
swamp out no bunkhouses, they'll put" him "in the county". His whole
life is based on one pillar, the kindness of the boss. He "wisht
somebody'd shoot" him, if he gets fired. He "won't have no place to
go" and is tied on the ranch. When Curley's wife says that Candy is "a
lousy ol' sheep", Candy "subsided". He suggests to tell the boss about
that dispute, but he knows that "nobody'd listen to" them. Steinbeck
uses these situations to protest against ageism.
The hopelessness is also used by John Steinbeck to protest against the
treatment of the disabled during the Great Depression. Candy knows
that he does not have a future. Crooks emphasises this fact, when he
says that Candy will be "a swamper … till they take" him "out in a
box". Candy swamps out houses, because he is not able to do something
else. Although he hopes that their dream will work, he recognises that
it is unrealistic. It is unrealistic because of his disability.
Steinbeck's protest against the treatment of the disabled is evident
from the way he describes Candy's hopelessness.
Through his descriptions of Candy's primitive working and living
conditions, Steinbeck protests against ageism. Candy is an "old
swamper", who lives in a "bunkhouse". His possessions are a "bunk" and
"an apple box". The reader interprets these facts as a protest against
ageism. Theoretically, one should treat aged people respectfully. In
our society, pensioners have a better life than employees. However,
Candy is a "swamper". He is not treated fairly. He lives in community
with "lice" and "roaches".
Steinbeck also uses Candy's primitive working and living conditions to
protest against the treatment of the disabled. Candy's job intensifies
the discrimination against him, because of his disability. The reader
finds out very fast that Candy is an "old swamper". He carries "a big
push-broom in his left hand". Of course Steinbeck emphasises that
Candy carries the "broom" in his left hand, because he lost his right
one. To portray the relation between his Candy's disability and his
job, Steinbeck juxtaposes these ideas. Directly after the mention of
the "big push-broom", he emphasises his disability. Obviously this
connection is a protest against the treatment of the disabled.
To some degree, Steinbeck uses the shooting of Candy's dog as a
protest against ageism. The link between the "old swamper" Candy, and
the "old dog" is obvious. Both, Candy and the dog are old. Especially
Slim hurts Candy, when he says that he "wisht somebody'd shoot" him if
he gets "old". Through this description, Steinbeck tries to simplify
the circumstances for the reader. He evokes an impression of a Candy,
who is very similar to his dog. That means that Slim discriminates
Candy indirectly. However, also Carlson classifies Candy. He says that
the dog "stinks to beat hell". In other words, Candy "stinks to beat
hell". The reader cannot miss that, because of all the similarities
between Candy and his dog. All in all, Steinbeck wants to protest
Steinbeck conveys the impression that the shooting of Candy's dog, is
symbolic to the treatment of the disabled. Slim discriminates Candy
because of his disability too. He says that he "wisht somebody'd shoot
him" if he gets "a cripple". That is another parallel between Candy
and his dog. Both, Candy and his dog are handy-capped. Carlson
discriminates Candy as well, when he states that the dog "can't eat,
can't see" and "can't even walk without hurting". The dog would be "no
good to himself". Candy receives these statements as discriminations
against him. What about him, if his dog has to be shoot? Steinbeck's
protest against the discrimination of the disabled is evident from
To some extent, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is a novel of
protest. When he wrote the novel, Steinbeck was sad because of the
horrible situation of the old and disabled during the Great
Depression. The themes of ageism and the treatment of the disabled are
protested through Candy. Candy does not play a very big role in the
story, but he plays a very big role in the background of the novel.
The Great Depression began the worst economic crisis in the history of
the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs
(including ranchers), businesses failed and financial institutions
collapsed. These people stood in long lines at soup kitchens to try to
get something to eat but many went hungry. The story Of Mice and Men
took place during the great depression. The author, John Steinbeck,
develops three characters in which come alive for us as individuals
during this horrible time.
One such character would be George. George shows cleverness in this
story in three ways. For one, he says " Well, look Lennie-if you just
happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to
come right here an' hide in the brush" on page 15, which shows that he
knows Lennie would stay safe there. In other words, he knows nobody
will find him there in the brush, but he would know exactly where to
find him. For a second way, George says "You crazy fool, don't you
think I could see your feet was wet where you went across the river to
get it?" on page 9, which shows that Lennie could not trick George. In
other words, George knows Lennie went to go get the dead mouse that he
took away from Lennie and threw across the river. For the third way,
George tells Lennie "Don't you even take a look at that bitch. I don't
care what she says and what she does. I seen 'em poison before, but I
never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her" on page 32, which
shows that George knows Curley's wife could get Lennie into a lot of
trouble somehow. In other words, she could get either one of them put
in jail. These are just some of the ways in which George shows
Another one of the characters in Of Mice or Men would be Candy. Candy
reflects thoughtfulness in three ways. For one, he says, "I ought to
have shot that dog myself, George. I ought not to of let a stranger
shoot my dog" on page 61, which shows that Candy thought of what his
dog felt. Specifically, his dog would have wanted to of seen Candy
last, not some stranger. Another way was when he says "S'pose I went
in with you guys", found on page 59, which shows he thought of how
much he could contribute to the dream house. Specifically, he had $350
to contribute towards the house. Lastly, he says, "If you was to do
that, we'd tell about you framin' Crooks" which shows that he thought
of Crooks before he thought of himself. In other words, he threatened
Curley's wife by blackmailing her so she wouldn't get Crooks strung
up. These are just a few of the times in which Candy has shown
The last character John Steinbeck has developed, Curley's wife, shows
loneliness for three reasons. For one, she states, "I get lonely. You
can talk to people, but I can't talk to nobody but Curley" on page 87,
which shows that she has loneliness because she doesn't have anyone to
talk to but Curley. Specifically, people won't talk to her because
they know that Curley will get jealous and want to start a fight. In
another reason, she says, "I'm looking for Curley" on page 31, which
shows that she, made up an excuse to talk to somebody. In other words,
she goes around telling people she's looking for Curley and then hold
a conversation with them just to be able to talk to someone besides
Curley. For the last reason, she states, "Sat'iday night. Ever'body
out doin' som'pin'. Ever'body! An' what am I doin'? Standin' here
talkin' to a bunch of bindle stiffs-a nigger an' a dum-dum and a lousy
ol' sheep-an' likin' it because they ain't nobody else", found on page
78, which shows that she has loneliness because like she said,
everybody's doing something and she was talking to a bunch of people
that don't want to talk to her, but there is nothing or no one else to
talk to besides Curley. Specifically, she likes talking to anybody,
even a bunch of bindle stiffs. Curley's wife could have been in the
movies, but instead married Curley, and now that she did, her life has
been very lonely.
Of Mice and Men took place during the Great Depression. The characters
in the story didn't lose there jobs, but were paid very little and
only once a month. They would generally spend it on cathouses, which
was the one of the few ways to have a good time. So, What would you do
if there was a huge stock market crash and you were left with very
little money or became unemployed? All of these characters went
through hard times but yet each was a different individual with
different traits. My grandmother is the only person that I can think
of that has all three characters traits. She is lonely because she
lives alone in her own apartment, she is clever because you can never
sneak something past her without her knowing what you are doing and
she is thoughtful because she thinks of other people or how she could
help before she thinks of herself. I think I am most like Candy
because I try very hard to think of ways I can contribute or help
someone in someway. I think that I have learned a lot from these
characters in John Steinbeck's novel, Of Mice and Men.
The book is set in southern California at the time of the Great
depression. It is about two ranch workers who constantly have to move
because of one's stupidity. George is a short man with strong
features. Lennie is his opposite, he is a huge man with big sloping
shoulders and when he walked he would drag his feet a little, "the way
a bear drags his paws."
A dream is a piece of your imagination that comes to life during your
sleep or something that you want in the future, that you think is of a
big importance to you, a dream is something you indulge in, to escape
momentarily from life.
They all have a dream, in the case of George and Lennie, that
something is to own a farm. They are not the first travelling ranch
hands to conjure up images of their own land, or of being their own
bosses. This dream is George and Lennie's great American Dream, this
is the idea that you can achieve anything if you have the mind and
desire to do it.
George and Lennie start off walking down the road to get to the ranch.
They decide to stay the night in the woods and they start to talk
about their dream. George and Lennie's dream is a simple one, they
want land to call their own and Lennie wants to tend the rabbits.
"'Some day-we're gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a
little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs and-'"
'An live off the fatta the lan,'"
This shows how Lennie is like a big kid and how George is the parent
telling the bedtime story to Lennie, the child. Lennie tells the bits
that he knows like a child would do.
They work at ranches because they have no money, and to accomplish
their dream they need to have enough money to buy the land. They have
no money because of the depression and to a certain extent because of
Lennie. George cannot get a reliable job and take care of Lennie at
the same time. and because of the depression it is hard to find jobs.
The American Dream is a belief that you can accomplish your dream if
you try hard enough to get it. In the USA everyone believed in this.
The farm is George and Lennie's American dream.
George's dream, although identical to Lennie's, is probably more
detailed and complicated. Lennie thinks as far as "tendin the
rabbits", but George has to worry about whether it would be possible
to really "live off the fatta of the lan", or would they starve?
Lennie, with his child-like mentality, believes whatever he hears, so
when George tells him that they will really get their own land, he
believes it with all his heart.
To Lennie, the question is not if, but when:
"George, how long's it gonna be till we get that little place an' live
on the fatta the lan' - an' rabbits?"
Lennie is fixated on rabbits and doesn't think about anything else for
a lot of the time. He didn't seem to concentrate when George told him
that they didn't have to work when they didn't want to or they could
have friends round or they could do what they wanted when they wanted,
the most important thing for him was to tend the rabbits.
Candy does not seem to have a dream until he meets George and Lennie.
He is swept up in the plausible reality of this dream, a dream he
would probably be too scared to initiate by himself. Candy is not
happy with his life on the ranch, but he doesn't think that there is
anything else that he can do. He has one arm and is quite an old man,
he used to have a dog that was also very old and someone else shot it
He was very miserable after the death of his dog and he said, "I ought
to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to have let no
stranger shoot my dog."
His dog was the only precious possession he had at the ranch and it
was taken away from him.
He overheard George and Lennie talking about their dream and later
approached them and told them his generous offer. He had more than
half of the money they needed to buy some land that George heard
about. He could ensure a piece of land for George and Lennie and
himself. There was only one problem, they had to work for another
month to get enough money and it depended on nothing going wrong.
At the beginning of the novel, there are already some doubts as to
whether the pair will achieve their dreams. Before the two arrived at
this ranch the two men had to leave Weed because of some trouble that
Lennie caused. He likes to touch and pet things, but he is a big kid
so he does bad things but he doesn't even realise it. Firstly, he held
on to the girl's dress in Weed and she got the wrong impression so,
she started to scream and they had to run out of Weed. Then on the way
to this ranch Lennie killed a rat by petting it to hard and he killed
the pup given to him as well.
He doesn't know his own strength, he crushed Curley's hand and even
managed to break Curley's wife's neck and kill her without even
realising a long time after.
The problem was Lennie. Something was bound to go wrong and it did
Lennie, although killed by George, really died when Curley's wife set
her sights on the big man. When George meets up with Lennie after the
accident, he knows the dream is over for him too. He also knew what he
had to do as soon as he found out what Lennie had done, why else would
he have stolen Carson's Luger?
As George is preparing to kill Lennie, he tells him one last time
about "how it's gonna be." This last bedtime story for Lennie seems to
describe not a little farm that they might buy, but the heaven someone
might go to in their after life. As Lennie begs George "Le's do it
now. Le's go to that place now", and George replies "Sure, right now.
I gotta. We gotta", and then pulls the trigger, the pair seem at peace
with themselves, and each other.
George knows what he is doing is right, and he knows that Lennie would
agree if he had the time to explain his reasoning to him. If Lennie
could comprehend the reasoning behind George's actions, he would
realise that George was taking Candy's unknowingly offered advice:
"I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to have
let no stranger shoot my dog."
Rather then letting Curley shoot Lennie in the guts with a shotgun,
and leave him to die a slow and painful death, George decides to offer
his friend one last token of companionship, a painless way out into
the land of their dream.
John Steinbeck, The author of the novel 'Of Mice and Men', set the
book during the Wall Street crash, where thousands of people lost or
didn't know how much money they had. Many men were travelling all over
America in search for work, most of these men were searching for work
George and Lennie are searching for work on ranches in a place called
Soledad in the state of California. They travel together, they have
done for years. They have been chased out of their previous job
because of Lennie's confusion. We meet George and Lennie as they are
travelling to their new job. As George and Lennie enter the ranch,
they see candy, an old man who has worked there for years as a swamper
because of his injured hand.
They are then led to their living quarters- The bunk-house, as they
talk to Candy, Candy tells them about Curley's wife.
Candy tells George, "well - she got the eye." Candy means that even
though Curley's wife has only been married two weeks, she is already
flirting with other men as though she isn't married. Candy expresses
to George "I think Curley's married . . . a tart." Candy thinks that
Curley's wife is like a common prostitute. Candy is afraid of Curley
because he tells George "You won't tell Curley nothing I said?",
Candy says this as though he is afraid of losing his job or afraid of
In the Beginning of the second chapter, we are led to expect Curley's
wife as a flirty tart, who is unsatisfied with her new marriage to
Curley, she tries to emphasise the fact that she is the only woman on
John Steinbeck portrays Curley's wife as though she isn't important
enough to have a name, he tries to emphasise the fact that she's
When George and Lennie see Curley's wife for the first time, Lennie is
transfixed by her, Curley's wife is searching for Curley. She uses
this excuse lots of times in the book, George can see what Candy meant
when he was describing her as a tart. Lennie is gazing at her like a
snake glaring at it's pray. After Curley's wife leaves the bunk-house
George Warns Lennie "I seen 'em poison before, but I never seen a
piece of Jail-bait worse than her. You leave her be." George warns
Lennie about Curley's wife because that's how they got chased out of
weed, Lennie felt the fabric on a girl's dress, but as the girl
screamed, Lennie held tighter and tighter because that's all he could
think to do, then the girl cried "rape" and they were chased away by
men with guns and dogs, and George is worried that could happen again
to Curley's wife and they could lose their job due to it.
When all the men left the ranch, apart from Candy, Crooks and Lennie,
Lennie entered Crooks' room- The harness room, then Candy enters,
then Curley's wife appears in the doorway, Candy and Crooks tell her
that she has no right to be with the men and she should go back to her
home while Lennie just gazes at her silently. Curley's wife replies by
playing on sympathy by saying "Think I don't like to talk to somebody
ever, once in a while? Think I like to stick in that house alla time?"
Curley's wife tries to get the men to feel sorry for her.
Crooks then expresses his feelings and tells her that she has no right
to be in with a black man and the men, but Curley's wife retaliates and
warns Crooks by saying "I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it
ain't even funny." Curley's wife is abusing her power by using it to
threaten Crooks and make him understand what kind of position he is
The men in the barn would rather listen to a white woman over a black
Lennie is in the barn playing with his puppy, but he accidentally
kills it by petting it too hard. As he is crying over the murdered
puppy, Curley's wife walks in, Lennie remembers what George told him,
that he should stay away from her and not to talk to her, Lennie keeps
saying that he shouldn't talk to her so Curley's wife says "I get
lonely . . . You can talk to people, but I can't talk to nobody but
Curley. Else he gets mad" Curley's wife Plays on Lennie's
vulnerability. Curley's wife says this as though she has been
threatened by Curley. She tries to emphasise her lack of company.
Curley's wife tells Lennie "I coudla made somethin' of myself." She
explains how she could've been in pitchers, but she believes her
mother tore up the letter of the man that was going make her a big
Then she carries on about how nice hair she has, Lennie acts to this,
he says how he likes to touch silk and how he likes to touch nice
". . . You're a kinda nice fella. Jus' like a big baby." She says that
he is like a child on how he likes to pet nice things.
Reasons to dislike her
Curley's wife gives numerous reasons to dislike her, One of these
reasons are that she has only been married two weeks and she is
already flirting with the other men on the ranch, she makes all of the
workers frustrated toward her, she is always pestering them, she tries
to impress the workers of the ranch by making herself look prettier by
Curley's wife uses her power over the workers to do what she wants,
she tries to make the workers feel sorry for her by saying about
Curley attitude towards her.
Reasons to feel sorry for her
Curley's wife also gives equally as good reasons to feel sorry for
Curley's wife is being bullied into her marriage by Curley, she
doesn't get to talk to anybody apart from Curley.
Curley's wife gets thrown abuse by all of the workers because of her
foolish mistake of marrying Curley.
I believe that Curley's wife did not deserve her fate and therefore do
not agree to the title, because she made a foolish mistake from
marrying Curley in a short period of time, she tried to get the
workers to see her position with Curley but no one was seeing her
views. Curley's wife did not deserve her fate because she didn't
anything terrible to actually cause her death.
The book is set in the time of the depression. There was no work, no
benefits so the unemployed had to make do with what they could find.
For many this meant travelling many miles for simple jobs with low
pay. You were lucky if you could find a job. There was panic as people
tried to get their money. Companies and banks disappeared overnight.
At this time 14million people were unemployed. The government took
many people's homes away as bills could not be paid, people were
forced on the streets and many starved. There was no hope in people's
lives except for the 'American Dream'. This was that someday they
would be rich and famous and they would get there if they worked hard
enough. Millions each with its own variation shared this dream. This
stayed just a hope until a new light was shone. California 'The Golden
State' brought new hope in to peoples lives. There were many jobs
available, but even these were low paid with long hours. People didn't
care all they knew was this was a chance for them to pull themselves
up and out of poverty. Thousands of people flocked to California with
high hopes but jobs went quick and pay got lower and lower. The
'Golden State' was soon swamped with refugees.
George and Lennie are two migrant workers with the same dream. They
one day want their own plot so they can 'live off the fatta the lan'
and not have to work for anyone else. Lennie is not the smartest
person so George has to spend most his time watching out for him and
making sure he doesn't get into any trouble. This puts boundaries on
George's life and he often points out to Lennie how life would be so
much better without him;
'I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn't have you on my
George and Lennie are so sure that their dream is different to
everyone else's because it's all planned out. George claims he knows
where they can buy the land and if they work for a month they'll have
Candy lives at the ranch. He is very old and his only companion is his
dog. His dog means a lot to Candy. They are very alike, both old and
crippled. Candy's had his dog since he was a pup. He used to be an
able sheepdog but now in his old age he cannot work;
'That dog ain't no good to himself, I wish't sombody'd shoot me if I
was old an' cripple'.
Candy also only has one hand. This means he can't work properly and so
his only use is to clean the bunkhouse. He has no future to look
forward to that is until he meets George and Lennie. When Lennie tells
Candy about their dream to get a ranch, Candy jumps in;
'S'pose I went in with you guys'.
He helps them get closer to actually owning the ranch because he has a
lot of money saved away in his bank and offers it towards the ranch.
Crook's is also crippled in his back and because of this he works as a
stable buck. Like Candy he also has nothing to look forward to. When
Lennie tells Crooks about his and Georges dream of owning a ranch, he
is very cynical;
'Every damm one of 'em's got a little piece of land in his head. An'
never a god damm one of 'em ever gets it'
But after a while he believes that they might actually get their ranch
and decides he also wants in. His hopes are soon crushed by Curlys
wife's taunts and changes his mind;
'Well, jus' forget it,' said Crooks. 'I didn't mean it jus' foolin. I
wouldn't want to go no place like that.'
Curlys wife is always trying to get attention. The workers know she's
trouble and keep their distance. She's referred to as a 'bitch',
'Poison', 'jail bail' and a 'rat-trap'. They know if they try anything
they'll have to deal with Curly. Curly's wife is never named in the
book. This is because Curly's wife is what she is to the other workers
and it's all she's every going to be seen as. She is given the
appearance of being the bad guy, but when she dies we see her in a new
light. She's a human aswell, she has dreams like all the other
migrants but she never has any companionship so she gets lonely.
Curlys wife is very young, seeing as before she married Curly she was
only 15 and living with her mother. Her dream is to be in the movies,
she met a guy that said;
'He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural'.
But she never heard from him again and had to settle with Curly.
All these characters are either physically or mentally week. Even
Curly's wife knows it when she says 'They left all the week ones here'
she just doesn't realise she's one of them aswell. They will never for
fill their dreams because there are so many people with the same
dreams and not everyone will get them. There will always be setbacks
that will keep on stopping them and eventually take away even the hope
of their dreams.
For millions the 'American Dream' is just a myth its that last bit of
hope left in their lives. That maybe someday they won't be forced to
live in poverty and might actually have a decent life. America was in
a really bad state, but the sad thing is the whole thing could have
been prevented. If the government had introduced things like benefits
it would never have got to the state it was in and hundreds of lives
could have been saved. More people could have got jobs if an education
system was introduced. And things like unemployment benefits could
have saved families. But instead the government left the country to
rebuild itself. While they sat and enjoyed their riches millions of
people were suffering.
The novel Of Mice And Men is set in Soledad, California. John
Steinbeck, the author of the novel grew up by the Salinas River and
the setting of the story is that of his childhood memories. Steinbeck
wanted to explore the social problems and hardships that existed in
his native rural environment during the Great Depression years.
This essay will examine Curley's wife, Candy and Crooks. Curley's wife
is the only woman in the novel who has recently got married to Curley
for two weeks and already despises him. Candy is lonely and his only
friend is a dog. He is disabled as he only has one hand. Crooks does
not fit in as he is an African American, at that time all Negroes were
despised by most white men. He lived by himself on the ranch in the
barn by the horses and mules, mainly to keep check on the animals, as
he is the stable buck. He is classed as the lowest form of life on the
ranch, even lower than the animals by all the other characters in the
All the characters in the novel have some kind of a dream,
all-different in their own way e.g. why the dream, is important to the
character . Curley's Wife is a very interesting character although
appears a few times in the novel Steinbeck uses her to make specific
points a few examples are how flirtatious she is with the other
characters mostly slim, George and right at the end not exactly
flirting but she is in the barn with Lennie, the way Steinbeck
interprets her in these scenes is to show how lonely she is. She also
dresses in the most inappropriate way for life on a ranch, she dresses
in attractive clothes and plasters on make-up:
"Red dress, plastered with make up"
Which is to be in the movies as an actress as a man approached her
when she was fifteen and she apparently had what it takes. The
writer's intention here is to show how Curley's wife could have lived
instead of being on the ranch. It can be argued that Curley's wife is
not lonely as she has Curley as her husband. The reader feels sympathy
for Curley's wife as all the characters in the novel are interpreted
by John Steinbeck as misogynist
Candy, like all other characters, also has a dream, this dream is not
entirely recognised by the reader until part four of the essay when
candy becomes involved in George and Lennie's dream. Candy's first
hears about this dream when Lennie asked George
'Tell it how it's going to be George'.
Lennie always asks George this quite often, as it's the only thing he
can remember. Candy becomes excited and jumps into this dream almost
straight away. Even though candy is to be a handy man this does not
deter him from the dream as for the rest of his life he will be happy.
In Candy's dream he also will be tending the rabbits, as George and
Candy well know that Lennie is incapable of doing so.
Unbelievably Crooks, the stable buck, has a dream quite like Martin
Luther King's dream, but Crooks wants to be white and get along with
the other men on the ranch. It may be that Crooks would not like to be
white but just to get along with the white people. Crooks' other dream
is to get a big stake and buy a house. His dream is a lot like George
and Lennies dream. As mentioned before Crooks would like to be white
this is how the writer conveys how low black people where at that time
'He's the Negro'
The Negro of the ranch. If he was white he would have such a nicer
life on the ranch, knowing this he is depressed therefore like many
people the great depression. Crooks is a nice person but being black
the reader finds it hard to see that he has feelings and also his
arched back makes him look twice as bad of an outsider.
Steinbeck has written this novel in the hope that people would
understand what happened back in his child years. He also wanted to
convey his feelings of the violence and anger in the 1930's he had
experienced. In the novel the violence mentioned is where curly
exhibits himself in the bunk house because he does not like big
'No big son-o-fa-bitch is gonna laugh at me'
He starts this fight as Curley does not like people bigger that
himself. Firstly when Curley hits Lennie he cowers and curls up in the
corner and was beaten until he was bleeding all over his face and
body, its at this point where George tells Lennie to start fighting
back because Lennie could be killed. This scene is very dramatic
mainly because Lennie is a nice person being beaten up, maybe it is
dramatic because fighting is dramatic, everyone has different views of
the situation but the writer's intention here is to show how the ranch
workers turned to violence, in this case probably because they were
bored. There is actually no reason for Curly to just come up to Lennie
to start a fight is unlikely but maybe Curly thought Lennie as a
threat to him or his wife!
Crooks has been involved in many scenes of violence but are not very
detailed In the novel. One very sad fight is input into the novel
towards the start of the novel, the ranch workers had a bit too much
to drink that night and started to push the Negro around and it built
into a real fight, of coarse he only picked on Crooks because crooks
is black so it was a racial attack. Also Curlys wife picks on crooks
but also candy at the same time so it does not seem like a intended
racial abuse but still an undeserved form of adult bullying.
The Great Depression was a major issue of about this time after the
stock market crashed and the companies' shares went down by a vast
amount over night. People lost interest and confidence in the
companies and every one lost a lot of money.
All of the shares that were worth over one hundred thousand pounds
turned into nine pounds instantly making some people homeless, in need
of jobs and most likely hungry. This is where Crooks and Candy come in
to the story they probably lost money this way to and had to find a
low aid job else where just to live. Every one had been made redundant
hence the Great Depression. Most people were not used to working hard
labour and tended not to stay on one ranch too long, but Crooks and
Candy were different they were both disabled meaning they were
entitled to stay till they die. Crooks, the stable buck was kicked in
the back by a horse when he was young limiting him to the amount of
work he could do and Candy also being disabled with only one hand
limited him to the amount of work he could do too. Candy, in he novel
tells us that he only has three hundred dollars in the bank this seems
like a very little amount to have in the bank and it is that is all
the capital he has raised since the start of the Great Depression.
John Steinbeck was born and raised in Salinas, in 1902. Steinbeck was
of German and Irish ancestry. His father was the county treasurer and
his mother was a teacher. Steinbeck attended Salinas High School and
went on to study Marine Biology at Stanford University, but failed to
finish his course. He travelled to New York and worked as a reporter,
unfortunately he was fired. After he took on many different jobs and
became an apprentice, a painter, a caretaker, a surveyor and a fruit
picker. He married three times in 1930, in 1943 and in 1950. During
the World War Two, Steinbeck became a War correspondent. In 1960 he
toured 40 states of America and was awarded with a Noble Prize in the
same year. Steinbeck later died in 1968, at the age of 64.
In the 1920s share prices in the USA rapidly increased year after
year. Many Americans believed that by investing money in the stocks
they could make quick and easy money. The selling and buying of shares
almost became uncontrollable, many people brought shares without
realising that they could easily loose it. Some companies were totally
false and others lied to their customers in order to take advantage of
the money hungry people of the USA. On the 24th and 29th of October
1922, share prices on Wall Street fell dramatically. This fall became
known as the Wall Street Crash. This crash became the main cause of
the nationwide depression. The depression hit America first then
spread to other countries around the world. People began to lose their
confidence in the stock markets and embarked on saving as opposed to
buying stock. Many banks collapsed as people withdrew their money, and
saved it at home.
"Of Mice and Men" is a very famous story written by John Steinbeck in
1937. It is set in different parts of Southern California. It is a
deep and poignant story, which focuses on many different controversial
aspects of America in the 1930s. It is about two close friends who are
migrant workers. They travel from ranch to ranch looking for work.
Unfortunately one of the two, Lennie, is slow witted and has the
mental age of a child. Lennie's aunt asks George, to look after him
and he makes it his duty. George takes responsibilities over him and
the two become very close. The two find work on a ranch together and
meet people whom they either work with or share a bunkhouse.
"Of mice and Men" shows how life was hard for the migrant workers of
the 1930's. The migrant workers are very lonely and travel America on
their own to find work on ranches. In the story the two migrant
workers, George and Lennie, have a friendship that is hard to find.
All the workers and other people who come across this friendship do
not understand it and question it. When they first see the ranch boss,
he comments on how the two are friends and says George, "…what stake
you got in this guy? You takin' his pay away from him?" This shows how
people thought a friendship like George and Lennie's was hard to come
George and Lennie think that they are different from other workers
because they have a dream, to have their very own ranch and work for
themselves, the American dream. They also think they are different
because they have each other, Lennie says, "…because I got you to look
after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why". The
workers were extremely poor and sometimes wore the same clothes over
and over accept on special occasions. The workers had little
entertainment and went to whore houses and spent most of their
earnings on the women there. They had no privacy and had to share a
cramped bunkhouse with over five other people. The workers only
occupied a small space and kept their washing equipment and personal
belongings their. Steinbeck describes their space, "Over each bunk
there was nailed an apple-box with the opening forward so that it made
two shelves for the personal belongings of the occupant of the bunk.
And these shelves were loaded with little articles, soap and
talcum-powder, razors and those Western magazines…"
The bunkhouses were small and cramped; there were over 5 people to a
room. At the beginning of chapter two there is a very clear
description of the bunkhouse. Steinbeck writes, "The bunk-house was a
long, rectangular building. Inside, the walls were whitewashed and the
floor unpainted. In three walls there were small, square windows, and
in the fourth a solid door with a wooden latch. Against the walls were
eight bunks, five of them made up with blankets and the other three
showing the burlap ticking." This is a clear description of the room.
Steinbeck adds, "Near one wall there was a black cast-iron stove, its
stove pipe going straight up through the ceiling. In the middle of the
room stood a big square table littered with playing-cards, and around
it were grouped boxes for the players to sit on." This suggests that
the workers lives were based on the ranch and if they were not working
then they would be playing cards or going to a whorehouse on a
There was a ranking system in America that was similar to an unwritten
law. This ranking was used on the ranches and unfortunately put Crooks
at the bottom. In America black people were oppressed and were not
allowed to prosper. On the ranch Crooks had his own bunk and kept
himself to himself. In the story Crooks is inside his bunk, Lennie and
Candy come to visit him because him because the other men have gone to
the whorehouses for the night. Curley's wife is lonely so she comes to
Crooks' bunk for some company. Unexpectedly Curley's wife enters the
room, she disguises her need to be around people and asks "Any you
boys seen Curley?" but Crooks and Curley rudely welcome her and says,
"Curley ain't been here." She defensively calls them the weakest of
the bunch. Crooks raises up to his feet and tells her to get out, but
Curley's wife calls him a nigger and threatens him. She claims that
she can arrange for to be lynched and says, "Well you keep your place,
then Nigger. I could get you strung up so easy it ain't funny." Crooks
becomes silent again and sits down on his bed. This shows how Crooks
was easily discouraged by a white woman and how he hardly had any
rights. Crooks is clearly one of the most intelligent on the ranch but
is oppressed by the hierarchy of America and the ranch.
For most people who were affected by the Wall Street Crash were
motivated by the American Dream. It was the dream that they could have
the chance to excel and work for themselves and that they would be
successful in whatever they do. "Of Mice and Men" shows this in George
and Lennie's dream of owning their own farm and living off their land.
George describes their dream to Lennie because he forgets. George
says, O.K. Some day-we're gonna get the jack together and were gonna
have a little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs
and-." Lennie interrupts and says, "An' live off the fatta the lan'."
This was even popular around the whole world. People would move to
America from places like China, Russia, Italy and many more places, to
own businesses like food restaurants, but some of them ended up doing
organised crime and living on the dangerous streets. The story shows
that the dream was popular, when Lennie let the secret of the dream
slip out, Candy is quick to consider and joining and explains to
George how he can help with his savings. Candy says, "I ain't much
good with on'y one hand. I lost my right hand here on this ranch.
That's why they give me a job swampin'. An' they give me two hundred
an' fifty dollars 'cause I los' my hand. An' I got fifty more saved up
right in the bank, and I got fifty more comin' the enda the month.
Tell you what-' He leaned forward eagerly. 'S'spose I went in with you
guys. Tha's three hundred an' fifty bucks I'd put in. I ain't much
good, but I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some.
How'd that be?" This shows how Candy is willing to join George and
Lennie's dream and bargains with them.
In the 1930's Hollywood was an industry that was growing rapidly.
Young girls would dream of becoming actors and musicians. Their
heroines would be famous stars female stars. Some women and teenagers
would spend most of their lives preparing for a career in Hollywood.
Producers and talent spotters would spend travel and search for
potential stars and actors. Some people would pretend and take
advantage of the women, they would tell the women how they could make
them famous and use them. The story mentions this using Curley's wife
when she tells Lennie how she could have become a famous Hollywood
film star. Curley's wife tells Lennie and her chance to become a film
star and says, "Well, a show come through, an' I met one of the
actors. He says I could go with that show. But my ol' lady wouldn' let
me. She says I coulda. If I'd went, I wouldn't be livin' like this,
"Of Mice and Men" is an excellent reference for information on the
1930's. It helps us to understand what was happening in the 1930's. It
gives us a clear idea of white people's attitude to black people and
everyone's attitude towards The Great Depression. This story is a very
good reference of oppression in the 1930's. Candy describes the
bosses' behaviour to George and says; I guess the boss'll be out here
in a minute. He was sure burned when you wasn't here this morning.
Come right in when we was eatin' breakfast and says, 'Where the hell's
them new men?' An' he give the stable buck hell, too." This shows how
even though Crooks' work was good and that even though he was much
liked around the ranch he did not seem to be much appreciated. The
1930's were a very hard period for black people and women of all
colours. I think that "Of Mice and Men" is an excellent source for
information on the 1930's.
For example many men in 1920's America had to leave their family to
earn money to work on ranches because the stock market crashed and
they lost their jobs. This is what George and Lennie had to go
through. George and Lennie are the two main characters in the novel
"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck. George in Lennie had to leave
their Aunt Clara in search for work on a ranch.
Dreams are something that a lot of the characters in "Of Mice and Men"
have most of them is of doing something with their lives instead of
being stuck on a ranch all the time. George and Lennie's dreams are a
good example of this.
"OK, Someday were gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a
little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs and…"
That shows us that George and Lennie have a dream or call it a
"Fantasy" about being away from it all and relaxing on their own ranch
were they make the rules"
Yet another character that has a dream or an ambition is Curley's
"Cuda been in the movies an had nice clothes like they wear an I cuda
sat in one of them big hotels and had pitures took of me"
Curley's wife has a dream that she could have been in the movies and
she actually thinks she has the ability to be in the movies as well.
George, Lennie and Curley's wife are not the only characters that have
dreams in "Of Mice and Men" Crooks has them as well. He probably has
these dreams because he is coloured and at that time in the 1920's
there was a lot of racial tension. So he probably wishes he could just
get on with people like a normal white man would.
"If you … Guys would want a hand to work for nothing, why I would come
and lend a hand.
This shows that Crooks is quite desperate to lead a normal life and he
would do anything to not to be judged by his skin colour.
Dreams are not the only thing that many of the characters in "Of Mice
and Men" have in common as most of them are lonely as well. This is
probably for the same reason that they have a dreams; the fact that
living at the ranch means leaving your family and friends. I would say
that loneliness is one of the main themes throughout the novel and I
also think that Crooks is defiantly the loneliest. He is a "Negro
stable buck" and the only reason he does not get beaten up is because
the ranch the hands are not aloud to use their feet to fight because
Crooks has a bad back.
"I aint wanted"
"I can't play because I am black"
Those quotes show that Crooks is feeling lonely and un-wanted and that
he was treating equally.
Another character that's lonely in "Of Mice and Men" is Curley's wife.
Her loneliness stems from her being in an unhappy marriage and because
she is the only woman on ranch full of men at a time of sexual
"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 it not to talk to
Curleys is also adding to his wives loneliness by not letting her talk
to anyone so she feels very isolated.
All the characters that have dreams are lonely as well, this is
probably because when your lonely and have nothing to do you think
about things you could be doing if you'd thought harder about what you
wanted to do. But disappointingly dreams rarely become reality and
this is what happens in "Of Mice and Men" when George shoots Lennie
the dreams they were both heading for faded away. This shows us that
even if things look like there going to be ok they can quite often
turn out badly and it's normally just by a stupid careless mistake.
Overall I think that "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck is excellent.
It has a very clever story line but is easy to understand. I also got
a feeling of what it would be like to live in 1920's America and how
lonely and desperate people get. Im glad that times have changed since
then and it's become easier to get a steady job and that there is
little racial and sexual tension now. The only bad thing I can say
about "Of Mice and Men" is to short and sudden. Other than that its an
Of mice and men was written by author John Steinbeck, the title of
mice and men orientated from poem writing by Robert Burns.
The book "of mice and men" is based in the 1930's during the time of
the "great depression" Best friends Lennie and George find themselves
unemployed and unable to maintain a stable working pattern for long
because of Lennie's childlike acts. When they're hired at the Tyler
Ranch, they thrive on the work despite the strict supervision of
Curley, the boss's son. But their world is ripped apart when Curley's
unhappy wife becomes the innocent victim of Lennie's compassion,
forcing George to make a compassionate decision of his own.
In "Of mice and men" dreams becomes a substantial factor in the lives
of Lennie and George, through out the story we are frequently reminded
about their own personal dream of Lennie's and George. This dream was
a of a perfect life, it would also give them enough strength of mind
and determination to keep them on trying through the hard times, I
feel as if it wasn't for this dream I feel they would have given up
already, and possibly their lives sacrificed.
'Of Mice & Men' by John Steinbeck is set during the depression and
highlights the extreme economical and social problems through each
character. We see them all aspire to live the 'American Dream', while
in pursuit for this life disregard one another and do not acknowledge
the importance of friendship, in the world of isolation. Loneliness
and dreams are recurring themes through out the novel. Curley' s wife
is a key figure with in the novel. On a social level she embodies the
position of women during the depression and the way in which their
emotions had been ignored.
George and Lennie are warned of her by candy when they first reach the
ranch. He describes her as ' tart' because she's only been ' Married
two weeks and got the eye?', we already have am instant dislike about
her and we still haven't met her.
Steinbeck has purposely not given Curley's wife a name, which
highlights the concept of women's social position during the
depression and how they seemed to be viewed as nothing more than a
mans possession. In this case she is nothing more than Curley's
We first meet Curley's wife in the barn house; her presence is almost
striking. Her appearance seems to embody the image we had constructed
from candy's description; provocative and very suggesting.
"She had full, rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made-up. Her
fingernails were red".
The use of the colour red puts emphasis on the idea of her being a
seductress and like a scarlet woman. However it also represents
danger; and we are already aware of Lennie's attraction to red. The
description of her movements is a projection of her sensuousness yet
playful attitude towards men; "her body was thrown forward" her body
language is very provocative. She is aware that Curly is not in the
barn, and even more aware that they are new ranchers. When she hears
that Curly is looking for her she becomes "suddenly apprehensive".
She is aware of her appeal and enjoys the attention she is getting
When she leaves, Lennie seems to have been transfixed by her presence,
George however is almost to aware that she is a potential threat, he
begins to call her a "bitch" "jailbait" and even "poison".
Before we are re-joined with Curley's wife we hear the same names
George called her,from the other ranchers. We begin to have a more
unfavourable attitude towards her; she makes us question her morals.
We hear her being called the same name as Candy's dog, which is
significant considering the dog has been given a name yet Curley's
This stresses on the theme of loneliness; Curley's wife begins to
reflect the rancher's loneliness. Before Curley's wife's entrance, it
opens in the harness room of the barn where crooks sleeps. We see him
put down his guards and begin to open up to Lennie, his self-esteem
grows and in the process is drawn into the dream of companionship and
a better life. Yet this is destroyed by the interruption of Curley's
wife. Curly seems to have abandoned his wife while visiting a brothel
with the other ranchers. We question why curly who has a wife at home
needs to go to a brothel?. We than begin to consider whether her
suggesting appearance is to convey her sexual desires or indeed her
desire for companionship:
" Think I don't like to talk to somebody ever' once in a while? Think
I like to stick in the house alla time?"
Curley's wife and Crooks appear to resemble one another in their
situation. They have been made outsiders and been isolated by the
other ranchers in effect of their physical appearance. Their
appearances stand as obstacles in their way of making companions;
crooks due to his disability and the racial-prejudice of the time and
Curley's wife who is female and married to the boss's violent son.
Curley's wife resents this comparison and tries to differ herself by
reminding them that she could have been famous "I tell ya I could have
went with shows …An' a guy tol' me he could put me in the pitchers".
She becomes bitterer of the 'Weak ones' growing companionship, and
uses her authority to re-establish the power of a white woman over a
black crippled, by calling crooks cruel racist remarks. In her heap of
envy she goes to the extent of threatening to 'Frame' Crooks. From her
actions we can conclude that Curley's wife craves attention and
companionship, to the extent that she would deprive someone else of
In the final section we see Curley's wife confide in Lennie in a '
passion of communication', although Lennie shows no interest like
Crook's she feels overwhelmed by having someone to confide. We begin
to see a more vulnerable and naive side to Curley's wife. She mirrors
the other ranchers dreams "He says he was gonna put me in the movies"
we know that the men who told her she could be famous were abusing her
youth and innocence by promising her every young girls dream. She
doesn't have the intelligence nor wisdom to understand the man's
intentions; "I always thought my ol' lady stole it."
We learn from her short soliloquy that she is no more than a naive
young girl who aspired to the glamorous life of a Hollywood actress,
it is as though she doesn't want to let the dream dwindle. So in
result dresses in this provocative manner to almost keep this dream
alive, for without it she has nothing. Her dreams of a better life are
just as those of the ranchers, however she dreams more of being
recognised by the masses, she craves the attention that she lacks in
the farm. She seemed to view Curley's proposal as a chance for an
escape to a better life. We begin to feel sympathy for her, she is
trapped in a marriage were she doesn't like her husband, and can't
make friends due to his tight rein.
Although her fate is tragic, the way in which Steinbeck describes her
in the moments after her death is as though she is the opposite person
we met in the beginning of the novel. This is significant description
in the play; it helps define what Curley's wife and many other woman
of that time were, beneath the clothes and make-up. Beneath the
actress and the role she played into, was nothing more than a young
girl; "The ache and attention were gone form her face. She was very
pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young".
When writing "Of Mice and Men" John Steinbeck draws the reader in by
mainly describing the setting. In the first two pages a very
descriptive and lyrical style of language has been used to give a
calm, peaceful atmosphere and to give a strong visual effect of the
Willow Pool. John Steinbeck chooses to start at the Willow Pool
because this is a very important setting, as the story begins and ends
there even though the violent end chapter is in contrast to the calm
and peaceful atmosphere of the first. The reader is able to imagine
the atmosphere and feeling through the use of descriptive language and
therefore immediately the author has captured the reader's interest.
Also by using present tense John Steinbeck suggests a real
geographical location "the Salinas river drops close to the hill-side"
and also presents nature's permanence in contrast human frailty and
vulnerability, which is one of the novel's themes.
John Steinbeck raises hopeful expectations in the beginning of the
novel by suggesting that it is spring "…green with every spring."
Spring is the first season therefore this shows the beginning of a
cycle. The cycle will be of a new beginning and of hope because when
George tells Lennie (and the reader) about the dream "We'll have a big
vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch" This adds realism and people's
expectations are raised, feelings of hope are dominant, but with an
under - current of fear that the dream will never be raised.
He also uses the beginning to introduce the two main characters,
George and Lennie This is mainly done to show their relationship and
how Lennie is like a child "Look George, look what I done" and how
George is the more dominant of the two - "For God's sake don't drink
so much." There are many more examples of how the reader can relate to
each character by the hints given by John Steinbeck. Expectations are
again raised here about forthcoming events, in the plot for example
when Lennie gets them into trouble "An you ain't gonna do no bad
things like you done in Weed." This makes the reader wonder what will
happen in Weed and whether it will happen again further on in the