How Does Steinbeck Use Power In Of Mice And Men

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Power is one’s ability to control someone and influence their behaviors; many different types of power exist and can be gained through different experiences and one’s status. In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck illustrates his view of power through George, an able-bodied man that controls the actions of his mentally disabled friend, Lennie. Through his characters, Steinbeck conveys how some may take advantage of their superiority and abuse their power, therefore mistreating those with less power. George, for instance, uses his power to frequently remind Lennie, who is mentally disabled, that he will always be a burden to him. At night, by the river, after Lennie complains about a foolish inconvenience, George screams, “‘An’ whatta I got,’ … …show more content…

In the bunkhouse, as Candy is getting ready to sleep, Carlson forces him to give up his dog: “Candy said, ‘Maybe tomorra. Le’s wait till tomorra.’ ‘I don’t see no reason for it,’ said Carlson. He went to his bunk, pulled his bag from underneath it and took out a Luger pistol. ‘Le’s get it over with,’ he said. ‘We can’t sleep with him stinkin’ around in here.’ He put the pistol in his hip pocket. Candy looked a long time at Slim to try to find some reversal. And Slim gave him none. At last Candy said softly and hopelessly, ‘Awright—take ‘im.’ He did not look down at the dog at all. He lay back on his bunk and crossed his arms behind his head and stared at the ceiling” (Steinbeck 3.5). The conflict between Carlson and Candy characterizes Candy as powerless, but very protective at the same time as he is trying to stand up for his dog. The dog is very important to Candy, therefore, he does not want to let go of him. Candy is also very dependent on others that hold more power, but is often disappointed. Carlson, on the other hand, is characterized as demanding and determined because he pressures Candy into letting go of his dog. This shows that Carlson is unsympathetic as he does not care about Candy’s feelings or the dog himself. It also can be inferred that Carlson is lonely since he does not understand Candy’s …show more content…

At night, Crooks attempts to get rid of Curley’s wife, who is in his bunk, as a result, Curley’s wife “close[s] on him. ‘You know what I could do?’ Crooks seemed to grow smaller, and he pressed himself against the wall. ‘Yes, ma’am.’ ‘Well, you keep your place then, N*****. I could get you strung upon a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.’ Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego—nothing to arouse either like or dislike. He said, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and his voice was toneless” (Steinbeck 4.7). Through Curley’s wife and Crooks’ conflict, Curley’s wife is presented as an intimidating and dangerous character. She is not afraid to viciously threaten and humiliate Crooks. Crooks, on the other hand, is powerless and defenseless as he cannot protect himself. He is intimidated and nervous after being threatened. He also feels criticized and loses his confidence after Curley’s wife threatens him. This is ironic because, during this time, men were considered to have more power than women. However, Curley’s wife has more power over Crooks because of his race. The powerlessness he has due to his race overtakes the powerlessness she has due to her gender. A setting is also present as power is only dependent on one’s status because of the time period. When one is powerful, they often control those they deem inferior through

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