Monday, October 28, 2019
In the novel of Mice and Men show how Steinbeck represents the theme of loneliness Essay Example for Free
In the novel of Mice and Men show how Steinbeck represents the theme of loneliness Essay The name of the author of this novel is John Steinbeck. He wrote this novel in 1936 and it was published in 1937. The novel is set in a ranch, which is near the town of Soledad, California. Steinbeck got the name for his novel from a poem by Robert Burns called To a mouse, on turning her up in her nest with the plough. At the time this novel was written America was in the period of the Great Depression. This meant people could not find many permanent jobs and so had to travel around the country looking for work. This meant that the workers were sometimes away from their families for a long time and had to travel alone just to try make some money. This was a very bad period in the American history with a high rate of suicide and many people got bankrupt. Usually the workers would stay in a job for a few weeks after which they would travel to find another job, this meant they did not have much time to make friends and so often were very lonely. The main characters in of Mice and Men are George and Lennie. The story is based around them and their time at the ranch. Some of the other important characters are Slim, Curly, Curlys wife and Candy. This novel has many themes in it which include loneliness, the dreams of the workers and also apartheid and sexism. Some of the characters who are lonely are Curlys wife and Crooks. These two are lonely because first of all Crooks is as Black person and at the time Black people did not have the same rights as White people. This meant that Crooks had no one to talk to and usually had to spend time by himself. After a while of spending time completely on his own Crooks thinks that he could be going crazy and he really wants some company. I know this because in chapter four Crooks is talking to Lennie and he say, I seen things out here. I wasnt drunk. I dont know if I was asleep. If some guy was with me, he could tell me I was asleep, an then it would be all right. But I just dont know. This shows that Crooks has been on his own for too long, and now he is not even sure of what is real and what is not. Crooks does not have any dreams because he has been at the ranch for a long time and has seen many peoples dreams destroyed. Another person who is lonely is Candys wife. She is lonely because she is a woman and so none of the men really talk to her. Also because she is the only woman on the ranch she has no other women to talk to either. This means she gets very lonely, however she does try talk to the men sometimes, but this has a bad affect. This is because the men think she is some type of whore or a slut who is trying to manipulate or use them in some way. This is unfair on Curlys wife because they do not know her and all she wants is some company. Also Curlys wife is from the city and so does not know how to do the ranch work and so she usually has to stay in the house on her own. Candy does not like Curlys wife because he thinks she is a tart. The ranch in the novel is near a town called Soledad, however because there are no buildings or people very close to the ranch itself, people inside only have each other to talk to and because Curlys wife is the only female she has no one to talk to and so feels isolated. This is also the case for Crooks because he is the only Black person on the ranch. In the novel, George is a migrant worker who has been traveling around America doing odd jobs with his fellow companion Lennie. George is a small man with small strong hands, dark face and sharp restless eyes. From his description I can see that George is a clever and careful character. Lennie on the other hand is a big man with large pale eyes, and sloping shoulders. His movement had a bear like quality and the way he is described in the novel makes him sound like an animal. George and Lennie travel together because they are friends and have known each other a long time. Also it would be better then traveling alone, because they would have no other companions and so would be lonely. At the start of the novel George and Lennie are in a natural clearing a few miles away from the ranch. They have not got any money because they had to buy bus tickets and had to flee the last town because Lennie got into trouble. George and Lennie have a good friendship but at times it seems that it is a relationship between and father and son. George seems to take the roll of the father and Lennie the son. Even though George complains about Lennie and says that he would be much better off without Lennie, he still needs Lennie for companionship. I know this because in chapter one George says, God a mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job a job an work, an no trouble. This shows that George sometimes does wish he is alone because Lennie is sometimes just too much trouble and he thinks that if he didnt have to look after Lennie then he wouldnt have all this money trouble. Although, even though he sometimes wishes that Lennie wasnt around he knows that he couldnt live without him. I know this because when Lennie tells George that he can leave if George wants him to and says he can go live in the hills. George apologizes to Lennie for shouting at him and tells him to stay with him. George and Lennie both share a dream. Their dream is to own a piece of their own land where they can live and feed themselves. This is the American dream. For George and Lennie the dream makes them think they are different to the other workers. George tells Lennie how most workers make some money then spend it all in some brothel or bar He then tells Lennie how they are different. He tells him how they have each other and they have a dream that they are working towards. For George and Lennie their dream is very important because it is a way they are getting through life. The dream gives them hope, and that is one human feature that always seems to make people believe that everything will be ok and they will be happy. John Steinbeck shows that their dream is an ideal because it is just too perfect. The dream is about George and Lennie having their own land on which they will have rabbits, a cow and grow vegetables. Also the ways Lennie describes the rabbits shows that it is just a fantasy. He says they will be all different colours, like yellow and green. The readers know that this is impossible and yet they sympathize with Lennie because of his child like innocence. In chapter four George is with the rest of the men at a brothel called Susys. Even though they have gone there to get some relief after the long day they have had, it is quite hypocritical of George to be going to this brothel because he says that he is not one of the men who just goes there and spends all his money. Although we are not told if he does spend any money there it is quite likely he does spend some. This means he is being a hypocrite. In chapter four Lennie goes into Crooks room without being invited. In this chapter Lennie is in Crooks control and when Crooks starts telling Lennie that George has left him and wont come back Lennie believes him and then gets angry. Crooks calms him down because Lennie can be very dangerous when he gets angry or upset. After a while Candy comes in and he and Lennie start telling Crooks about their dream and how it will come true. Even though George told them not to tell anyone they tell Crooks anyway because he is Black and they think it wont matter if he knows. Candy is an old man who has been at the ranch for a long time. He has been allowed to stay there because his hand was cut off in one of the machines at the ranch. At the ranch he works as a floor sweeper. Candy is lonely because he is considered just to be an old man and none of the workers really talk to him that much. He did have a dog which was very important to him because he was his only companion and he had owned the dog since it was a puppy, unfortunately for him the dog became too old and so had to be shot. Also it hurt him more because he was not able to shoot him and the dog was shot by someone else. Crooks is lonely because he is a Black person and on the ranch he is the only one. They do not let him stay in the barn with the rest of the workers and so he has no one to talk to. He only has his books and they are very important to him because they are a form of companionship. Crooks and Candy are both lonely because they have no one who they can really talk with and make friends with. In chapter four they have been left behind while the rest go to Susys cathouse because Candy is considered to be too old and Crooks is Black and so cannot go into many places. Candy gets involved in George and Lennies dream because after his dog gets shot, Candy over hears George and Lennie talking about it and asks them if he could be apart of it. He says he is willing to pay and pays much more ten both George and Lennie combined. This dream gives Candy new hope and therefore feels livelier. When Crooks first hears about the dream he is quite critical about it but the further he hears about it the more convinced he becomes. However he has seen too many peoples dreams broken and so he says he does not want to be apart of it. Steinbeck shows that without dreams people have no hope and without hope life seems to be worthless. He shows that people need dreams, however farfetched they are, so that they feel they have goals and something to look forward to. Crooks has a more realistic attitude towards dreams, he says in chapter four that dreams get destroyed and it ruins people lives. I can show this because he says, an every damn one of ems got a little piece of land in his head. An never a god-damn one of em ever gets it. This is proof that Crooks is more realistic and he knows how the world works. He knows that people never seem to make their dreams come true. Curlys wife is quite young and beautiful. She is lonely because she has no one to talk to. She married Curly because she was upset with her mother and so does not really love Curly. She is a trophy wife for Curly. In chapter four she is the one in charge of all the misfits. She knows this and so she behaves quite badly and is mean to Crooks. When Crooks tells her to get out she tells him to be quiet or she will get him hanged. She tells him that all she has to do is scream rape and he will be hanged. This shows that Curlys wife also has an evil side. In this novel Steinbeck is sexist to women. He does not even give Curlys wife a name, and makes her look like a tart. Also most of the other characters think she is a bad woman, George gives her names such as jail-bait and tart. Curlys wife also has a dream. Her dream is to become a star and become rich and famous. She is quite gullible, we know this because she tells Lennie about a man telling her he would take her to Hollywood and make her a star, but in reality he just wanted her. Curlys wifes loneliness leads to her to own death because she is so desperate to talk to someone she starts to talk to Lennie. Lennie has a childlike mind and so does not really understand her and they both talk about two different things, but for Curlys wife just being with someone is good enough. She then lets him stroke her hair and when Lennie does not let go, she starts screaming, this makes Lennie confused and frightened and so he suffocates her. The writer has shown loneliness in this novel through the actions the characters take and the things they say. Some of the similarities between the lonely characters are that, that both Crooks and Candy are treated differently. This leads to them wanting to get involved in George and Lennies dream. Also Curlys wife is similar to these two characters because she is a woman, but between the three characters she is the most powerful one. Lennie and Candy are similar because they are both coping with life through their dreams. The writer is saying that loneliness is a curse itself and people react in different ways to it. He is trying to say that humans cannot survive when they are lonely and sometimes can go crazy. The novel of Mice and Men is a tragedy and the writer shows that George and Lennies friendship is doomed from the start. He shows that even though they need each other they will never be successful with their dream. With Lennies death the dream is over for both George and Candy. Without Lennie George will have no companionship and so he will be the same as the rest of the migrant workers. George shot Lennie because even though Lennie did not realize it, he had committed a crime and taken a persons life. George knew that Lennie had gone too far this time and knew that he had no other choice. Also he did not want the others to find him because they would have made him suffer and George would not have been able to see that happen. I think that in some ways he did do the right thing because if he let the others find Lennie they would have put him through trials and tortured him, however maybe he should have let the justice system deal with the case instead of taking matters into his own hands. The theme of loneliness in this novel is a very good reflection of the social and economic settings of the 1930s. I think this because many of the issues it covers are typical of the 1930s, such as racism and sexism.