Thursday, 12 January 2012

Of mice and men

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Throughout the novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck explains that companionship is one of the most meaningful things in life. Steinbeck achieves this by showing situations in which characters that do not have companions are unable to cope. One character is George. George is a pretty good man but at times can be very hard on the man who he looks after. The man who George looks after is Lennie. Lennie has a mental disability and, therefore, cannot support himself. George and Lennie travel together; they are always moving from job to job. Although these two characters have their difficulties, they have a very good relationship. Candy is another character that Steinbeck uses to illustrate his views on companionship. Candy is a very old, and nearly useless, ranch hand. He has no companions except for his dog. The other men on the ranch do not like Candys dog because he smells, is old, and is not any good to anyone. The other character that Steinbeck uses is Curleys wife. She is the only woman on the ranch and is always hanging around the other guys. Even though she is married to Curley, they do not have a good relationship.

George and Lennie are the main characters through which Steinbeck expresses his views. George and Lennie are always on the move in search of jobs. This is mostly due to Lennies mental handicap. In Weed, Lennie started touching a womans dress because he likes to touch soft things. The woman got frightened and spooked Lennie. This caused him to clench onto her dress because he did not know of anything else to do. She accused him of assault, and they were chased out of the town. It is inferred that this has happened before. This adds a layer to the relationship between Lennie and George. George is always there to protect Lennie. This point is illustrated when George tells the story about the ranch they were going to have together. George then proceeds to tell Lennie the story. He began by saying, Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They dont belong no place…. With us it aint like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us.(1). This explains the relationship between George and Lennie. Since they have each other and believe in their dream, it is a lot easier for them to get through rough times. This quotation also explains that because they have each other, they are different and more apt to succeed.

One character who demonstrates what not having a companion can do is Candy. When we first meet Candy he does have a companion. His friend is a very old, smelly, and useless thing he likes to call a dog. Even though no one else sees the value in this dog Candy does because he has had him since he was a puppy. The other men on the ranch finally convince Candy to let them kill his dog. When he hears the gunshot he is completely devastated. He feels like he should have killed his own dog because the dog was his responsibility. Slim, the ranch role model, says that Candy can have one of his puppies. Candy accepts, but he realizes that it will not be the same as his other dog. One other way that Steinbeck uses Candy to show that not having a companion is bad is by making Candy only have one hand. This is a subtle way of saying that if you do not have any companions in life you will struggle more than average to survive.

The third major character is Curleys wife. She and her husband do not have a very good relationship. They hardly ever talk or do things together. Curley is not a great husband because he does things like go out to the whorehouse with his friends, leaving her at the ranch to twiddle her thumbs. To add to her situation, she is the only woman on the ranch. She is always hanging around the guys because she just wants some company, but Curley always assumes that she is up to no good. Curley has a very short temper, and if he can get a fight, he will have a fight. The way that Steinbeck shows that loneliness is bad with Curleys wife is when she talks to Lennie in the barn while the guys are playing horse shoes. When talking with Lennie she says, Whas the matter with me? Aint I got a right to talk to nobody?(87) This shows that she is neglected and just wants someone to talk to. She is being nice when she decides to allow Lennie to touch her hair. (Because he likes soft things.) When Lennie grabs her hair too tightly she screams, which frightens Lennie, causing him to try and quiet her so he does not get into trouble. While doing this, Lennie accidentally kills Curleys wife by breaking her neck. This shows that not having a companion can be extremely harmful to a person because if she had had someone to talk to and be social with, she would not have engaged herself with Lennie.

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In his novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck expresses that it is necessary for humans to have companions in order to survive. The dramatic conclusion of the novel is the strongest example of why companions are important. After Lennie kills Curleys wife, he goes to the meeting spot that George told him. George tells the other men who want to kill Lennie the wrong way to go. He does this because he knows that if they get to Lennie they will torture him until he dies. George tells Lennie that everything will be okay and calms him with the story of the ranch. George then shoots the unsuspecting Lennie in the back of the head. This fatal shot kills him instantly. George did this so that Lennie would die happy and not feel any pain. If George and Lennie were not companions, Lennie would have been put through excruciating pain before finally being killed. Steinbeck believes that companionship is necessary in human life.

He was so little, said Lennie. I was jus playin.

This is what Lennie says to Curlys wife, coincidently, just before she dies. Going by what he said, I dont believe that Lennie killed it purposely because he sounds sincere.

Finally, this is what Lennie says to George when he sees him at the Salinas River.

I done another bad thing.

I think that Lennie knows what he has done is wrong but not what is going to happen to him.

Curlys wife is also another example of the plot developing which leads to the ending. Her interest in Lennie starts off as a simple interest but because Lennie seems really interested in her, she becomes more interested. Also I think that Curlys wifes view of Lennie crushing Curlys hand was a sign of him protecting/defending her. This makes her interest in him develop so ...

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