Archetypes In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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John Steinbeck, author of Of Mice and Men, clearly and sharply creates his characters so that they can be interpreted - without surrendering individuality - as various archetypes. Steinbeck uses archetypes to enhance the fact that these characters do not belong in a normal society. On page 13, George says, “guys like us...are the loneliest guys in the world.” They move from ranch to ranch looking for jobs, but never “belong [to] no place.” A normal society contains people engaging with the trends and agreeing with the mainstream; contrarily, these characters are similar to outcasts. In addition to not fitting in with society, Crooks, Lennie, and Curley’s wife stand out since they all have become a specific archetype. Steinbeck describes his…show more content…
Lennie is an archetype of a wise fool, a person with a special ability; he is able to reveal either the best or worst in a person. Subordinate character Curley is known for being the boss’s son and for his hatred of “big guys.” This induces tension between the two men, foreshadowing a later conflict. Later, Lennie, smiling and laughing with a puppy, brings the worst out in Curley, who thinks that Lennie is laughing at him. Curley lashes out at Lennie smashing his nose inflicting pain. Lennie retaliates and injures Curley’s hand. This builds rage in Curley for Lennie; in other words, Lennie’s low intelligence brings out the worst in Curley. On the other hand, Lennie can also bring the best out in people. After Curley’s wife’s death, George admits that he knew that the dream ranch was not possible to achieve. He says to Candy that he got so used to telling Lennie that the dream ranch was achievable, that he got to “thinking maybe [it is].” Lennie brings the best out of George by giving him the hope that he lacked. It was the hope that Lennie gave George that motivated him to successfully complete a week of work. Lennie is the archetype of a wise fool, one who brings both the best and the worst out of
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