Authority In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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The theme of authority is presented in several ways in the novel Of Mice and Men. The novel is set in 1930’s when there was a great depression that left people vulnerable and jobless so there were many migrant workers and figures of authority were needed. Society was very much male dominated and racism was prevalent so social minority’s at the time had little authority. In the novel, authority is presented though characters with power such as Slim and Curley; Lennie and George’s friendship and a lack of power is shown through minorities like Curley’s wife and Crooks. The intention of the author is to show the reader what it was like to live and work in the 1930’s as Steinbeck was himself a ranch worker like the men and how authority was important as it decided your place in society First of all, George has authority over Lennie; we learn this from the opening scene when George and Lennie ‘walked down in single file’ George being in front showing he is predominantly in charge. As the section continues it is clear from the way that Lennie ‘Imitated George exactly’ that Lennie feels he has to or wants to follow George’s actions, the adverb ‘exactly’ is used to emphasize how Lennie is copying George…show more content…
Steinbeck doesn’t give Curley’s wife a name and this is important as it emphasises how she is seen as lesser in society as she is a woman. It reflects the inferiority of women in the 1930’s and makes her out to be an object of Curley’s. Her and Curley spend little time together and she ‘don’ like Curley’ so try’s to escape her loneliness by talking to the other men. The other men refer to her in a derogatory way calling her ‘tart’ and ‘jailbait’ because they are perhaps afraid of Curley as he has more authority and she is ‘his object’ and his ‘possession’ should be respected. This also shows the men don’t see her as an equal and she has no authority over them leaving her a very lonely
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