Power Struggle In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

816 Words4 Pages
John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men follows George Milton and Lennie Small as they attempt to survive the destitution of the Great Depression. The two travel together, making them different from the rest of the ranch workers, who are alone in their hardships. However, their relationship is more complex than the surface: it presents a power struggle with the ulterior motive to help oneself. Through the characterization of the ranch workers, Steinbeck makes a claim about human’s innate characteristics: people in power will use their status in order to solidify their position over the weak. Through George and Lennie’s relationship, Steinbeck exemplifies a power struggle in which the stronger of the two, George, prevails over the other. George continuously uses his mental advantage to belittle Lennie; George states, “Used to play jokes on ‘im ‘cause he was too dumb to take care of ‘imself...Made me seem Goddamn smart alongside of him” (Steinbeck 40). George and Lennie’s relationship is particularly complex: it is not affectionate, but, rather, one of dominance. Both George and Lennie have very low positions in society; they own no property, have little money, and are migrants looking to work for someone else. Lennie is George’s only outlet for control. In a society that reveres masculinity and strength, this is of the utmost importance: having authority over Lennie gives George the illusion of control, which makes his pauperization more bearable. George takes advantage of Lennie’s mental handicap…show more content…
Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men presents complicated relationships that deal with power struggles and human nature. While Of Mice and Men only focuses on one small ranch, the ideas Steinbeck expresses can be related to society as a whole, then and now: those that have a higher position in society will continuously utilize their power to oppress the
Open Document