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Essay Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck uses the convention of Character, supported with techniques of conflict, dialogue, foreshadowing, symbolism and tone. This encourages the reader to respond to the themes of Friendship and Loyalty, Loneliness and Prejudice; and lastly Feminism. These are all found in this setting of the Great Depression, directing the reader to find the deeper meaning behind each of these themes, by making it easier to relate to, making the novella come alive, revealed through the use of Steinbeck chosen characters in this tragic novella Of Mice and Men.
Firstly in the Great Depression many experienced Loneliness and Prejudice, seen through the characters of Candy an ‘old swamped’ and Crooks a ‘black stable buck’. Steinbeck uses the conflict both Internal and external found as the effect of racism and ageism on these characters. The reader is disgusted at the amount and degree of discrimination, while others may dismiss it as the past. From catching the grunt of the prejudice this forces both Candy and Crooks into a life of loneliness and isolation, lacking in a hope or future.
These characters are overlooked as inferior, unimportant despite what they eave to offer past their age and skin color. Steinbeck reveals that Crooks can read, shouldn’t that be worth something, no, ’cause I’m black’, Crooks feels unwanted confirmed by Curlers wife’s threats found in dialogue aimed at Crooks, dismissing the fact that he was born there, just like them. Candy gets pressured into putting down his dog that he has had since a pup. “Maybe tomorrow, Lee’s wait till tomorrow” Candy is trying to avoid losing his dog and sadly realizes that his future isn’t much better, when he is no longer useful will they get rid of him to? Nobody’s listen to us. Why would they listen to a Niger and lossless? Candy and Crooks experience this abuse every day, making the reader feel empathy. Anger and Is encouraged by this insight of mistreatment. Secondly Friendship and Loyalty were very rare in the Great Depression where it was every man for one’s self, but George and Leonie are lucky. Steinbeck uses imagery and emotive language to emphasis the importance of true friendship, the reader sees this and appreciates their relationship and bond, realizing It’s all they have.
George and Lien’s friendship you see their close bond ND connection, through George’s gruff affection of a hearty pat on the back, or the sympathy and understanding when Leonie does something wrong, George has a loyalty to Leonie because he promised Lien’s aunt. Leonie depends on George and George needs someone, “Because I got you to look after me and you got me to look after you. ” Leonie keeps George away from the lonely life of statehouse, poolrooms, hotels and whiskey bottles making him special from all the others.
Although Leonie doesn’t have much to give, he adores George and would do anything or him, “But I wouldn’t eat none, George. I’d leave It all for you” even give his imaginary ketchup to George. They share a dream that gives them a united purpose, a goal to work to. “An’ rabbits” Leonie with his childlike faith that’s contagious, making George believe that it could in fact be possible even though the reader just sees it as a silly bedtime story, that would be almost impossible in the time of the Great Depression, but it would be a pleasant dream.
The dream that seems even more likely when Candy Joins, offering his funds In return for somewhere to stay. Until chance of their shared dream. Resulting in George shooting Leonie to spare him the brutal death Curler would give him, the reader sees this as a merciful death and understand the tough decision this was for George and his courage, but also realizes that George is now ultimately like everyone else, alone.
Lastly the treatment of women in the Great Depression through the theme of Femininity seen in the only woman, Curlers Wife who doesn’t even have a name because she is Curlers property. She’s limited in choices, to be a prostitute or Curlers Wife both undesirable. Steinbeck uses a negative tone towards sexism, the symbolism of red and foreshadowing. The reader sees how dire Curlers Wife situation is and feels sorry for her, but she doesn’t do herself any Justice through the way she acts creating doubt and disappointment towards Curlers Wife.
Before the protagonists meet Curlers Wife they are warned that she is ‘Purdue but a tart’ who’s ‘got the eye’. When they do meet her she lives up to her reputation if not making it worst. In Curlers Wife introduction there is a repetition of red, “rouged lips” “red mules” “red ostrich theaters” and “with her red fingernails” symbolizing temptation, lust and forbidden fruit to blood, danger and foreshadowing, a very bad end for her.
After meeting her George thinks she is a “rattrap” “Sailboat” and overall Just trouble to stay away from. The reader expects a bad end and that they get, Leonie kills her. Steinbeck throws in “the ache for attention were all gone from her face… Her face was sweet and young. ” Creating an unexpected sympathy for her from the reader and understanding of the difficulties for women in the Great Depression, but many still think she had it coming.