Realism In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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In the story Of Mice and Men, four living things are killed. Two are shot in the back of the head, and the other two are killed by somebody else’s bare hands. As strange as it sounds, the killings were solutions for some characters and complications for others. In this story by John Steinbeck, there are many different realism elements that are relevant. These elements include a few specifics like the rejection of the idealized, larger-than-life hero of romantic literature, the avoidance of the exotic, sensational, and overly dramatic, and the focus on the ethical struggles and social issues of real-life situations. Overall, the three points that will be made are the three different elements of realism. Those include rejection of heroes, avoidance…show more content…
This element means that the people in the story are ordinary, vulnerable, and do not save lives. If a character was in a big crowd of people, they wouldn’t stand out any more than anybody else. In realism, nobody stands out, and everybody is plain, ordinary, and simplified. George, Carlson, Candy, and Slim are in the bunkhouse together talking about somebody in a magazine article named William Tenner. William used to work on the ranch with Slim and all of the other workers. Despite hearing that his old co-worker’s letter is in a magazine, Carlson refuses to be a part of the conversation because of how bad Candy’s dog smells. Candy’s dog smells very bad and is getting old and worn down, so Carlson starts talking about how he can shoot the dog to end its and everybody else’s suffering. Candy has a strong connection to his dog that Carlson doesn’t care about. After the conversation about shooting Candy’s dog, Steinbeck says, “Candy looked a long time at Slim to try to find some reversal. And Slim gave him none,” (Steinbeck, 1937, p,47). Slim is a character who typically calls the shots throughout the story. He wasn’t the hero of Candy’s dog’s life. Candy’s dog is going to be shot in the back of the head because Carlson doesn’t like the smell and Slim isn’t a hero. Slim makes choices that he thinks will benefit the…show more content…
This element states that there is no ethical solution to any of the dilemmas and complications in a realistic literature story. The character has to find a solution to a problem while looking for the most ethical one. Problems in realistic literature typically don’t have an ethical solution. A social issue is an issue that affects many of the people in the society negatively. This includes, racism, poverty, violence, etc. George and Lennie and Candy are talking about the ranch they are going to buy and what is going to be on it. They say it will be in exactly one month that they will be buying the ranch/barn that they will then live on. They’re the only people that will be living on it because nobody else is participating in the purchase, nor was anybody else invited to participate. Right after talking about the ranch Candy says, “‘I oughtta of shot that dog myself, George. I should’t oughtta of let no stranger shoot my dog,’” (Steinbeck, 1937, p.61). Candy had the option to either shoot his own dog or have somebody else shoot it for him. That is an ethical struggle that Candy had to face. Neither of the options are ethical, but shooting his own dog would have been the better option. Candy’s dog was the closest thing to Candy, thus shooting the dog would have been the most ethical thing to do because Candy should’ve been the last person to see the dog. Candy
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