A Harsh World and Culture on the American Ranch in Of Mice and Men Essay

A Harsh World and Culture on the American Ranch in Of Mice and Men Essay

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How does Steinbeck create for the reader a harsh world and culture on
the American Ranch in Of Mice and Men?

In chapter one of "Of Mice and Men", Steinbeck first of all describes
the beautiful scene, then the characters are introduced, Lennie and
George. The reader learns that they are on their way to a ranch to
work. They are making camp before they will go to the ranch the next
day. Lennie and George have hurriedly left their last ranch following
an incident involving Lennie. The next day they arrive at the ranch
where they meet the other characters, the old swamper Candy, The Boss,
the boss' son Curley, Curley's striking wife who flirts with all the
men. Also Slim the respected worker on the ranch and Carlson, another
worker. The ranch is obviously a harsh, uncomfortable place to live
and chapter two gives evidence of this.

Steinbeck begins to build up the harsh culture of the ranch by
building up a beautiful scene in chapter one. In the first chapter of
"Of Mice and Men", a scenic, calm and almost heavenly picture of the
surroundings is built up for the reader. He uses almost two pages of
the book in order to do this, describing the atmosphere about the

" The water is warm to, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow
sands in the sunlight,"

This creates a very sleepy and relaxing picture for the reader. The
fact that the "water is warm" and it "slipped twinkling" are important
in this sentence. They are peaceful words and help create the most
beautiful picture that can be created in the readers mind.

However by the end of chapter one, the picture of the beautiful
atmosphere is starting to slip unconsciously away:

"Up the hill from the river a coyote yammered, and a dog answered...

... middle of paper ...

...rsh environment. His
sleeping place is also in worse condition than the others'. It is "a
little shed". This builds a picture in the readers mind of a
ramshackle, leaning, hut, whereas the bunk house is not brilliant but
the picture built up is not as derelict as Crooks' hut.

In conclusion I think that there is two main ways that Steinbeck
builds up tension on the ranch to make a harsh environment. One is
contrast. Contrast between things that go on outside the ranch and
then similar things that go on inside the ranch, but they just happen
worse. The second thing is discrimination and hierarchy around the
ranch. It makes it seem to me like an unfriendly place to live. I
would not like to live there. The hostile ness is built up well in the
story and I definitely thought that the ranch was an unsociable harsh
place before we started to analyse the story.

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