Light And Dark In Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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Desmond Tutu, a South - African social activist and retired Anglican priest once said “ Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”. Of Mice and Men is a novel which revolves around the lives of struggling farmers and how they still maintain hope despite their hardships. The symbolic representation of light embodies the hopes and the American Dream, whereas the dark epitomizes the harsh realities and truths of their lives. Steinbeck uses light and dark to foreshadow the upcoming events in the forlorn lives of the migrant workers. He also combines aspects such as the setting and characters with light and dark to paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind as to how the world of the migrant workers looks like.
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Curley’s wife is portrayed to be a “tart”, someone who is always flirting with other people. When she is first introduced, Steinbeck writes “ The rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off”, which gives the impression that Curley’s wife is ominous and perilous for Lennie and George. The imagery implies that Curley’s wife is the darkness in their lives and that she is the obstacle in the journey of accomplishing the American Dream. During the climax of Steinbeck’s novella, he writes “ The light was growing soft now” represents the slow release of her soul and that darkness slowly filling the barn and their lives. It also indicates the gradual discharge of hope and belief from the minds of Lennie, George and Candy. However, Steinbeck also uses light and darkness to show the hidden sides of neglected characters such as Crooks. Crooks, the negro stable buck, is portrayed to have died from the inside and is living merely as a breathing corpse. Not because of the fact that he could not achieve the American Dream or live a lavish life. But, simply because of the fact that he is a negro who is surfeited of being ill treated and discriminated. “His eyes lay deep in his head, and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity.”, give the impression that inside Crooks is full of anger and indignation. The fact that he has his own room does not mean luxury or…show more content…
Steinbeck may also be using the word “fire” to foreshadow that George and Lennie’s American Dream might not come true and will die away just like the fire . When Curley’s wife is blocking the sunlight from entering, by standing in front of the doorway, Steinbeck is using darkness to foreshadow that she is ominous and dangerous for George, Lennie and their dreams. The sun streaks were high up on the wall now, the light was growing soft now”, this symbolizes that Curley’s wife’s soul was rising up and away from the Earth, taking George, Lennie and Candy’s dreams with it. “ Sun streaks” represents Curley’s wife’s soul and their dreams. “Already the sun had left the valley to go climbing up the slopes of the Gabilan Mountains, and the hilltops were rosy in the sun.”, gives the impression that something malicious was going to take place. Steinbeck uses personification to give the effect that the hope and sun are slowly “climbing up”. “The sun had left the valley”, implies that all the light and hope had left and all that was left was darkness and calamity. However, Steinbeck’s use of “rosy” gives the reader the impression that the upcoming event is going to be lighthearted, in the sense that it will abolish pain. Steinbeck might also be referring to the fact that after Lennie dies, so do George and Candy’s dreams. After Lennie dies, Candy’s dreams of having a peaceful and
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