The Use Of Barriers In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the author uses the motif of barriers to demonstrate what may cause the failure of the hopes and dreams of the characters. The ability to own land is the main dream held by three of the characters in this book. There are two other unattainable dreams that are held by Curley's wife and Crooks. Curley's wife once had an offer to become an actress in Hollywood; however, the director never bequeathed the job to her. Her other major barrier is her gender, which constricts her social life. Another character is Crooks, who is a crippled, African American man whose only dream is to be treated as an equal. Crooks’s permanent barrier is his race, which impedes his dream. All four of these characters have hopes for a new life, which eventually evolves to nothing because of the obstacles in their way. The book begins with the two main characters, George and Lennie, hiking miles to their new job, where they are hoping to hide Lennie’s disability. George asks Lennie what he is going to say if the boss asks him a question. Lennie responds, “I ain't gonna say a word”(15). In this instance, George is…show more content…
The greatest barrier that is illustrated throughout the book is her gender. The men working on the farm avoid her in fear of her jealous husband becoming enraged. In the barn house, Curley's wife engages in a conversation with another man, at which point he says, “you better go along to your own house now. We don't want no trouble"(77). Men on the farm will not talk to her because gender. This leads her to become lonely, thus gender is a social barrier. Her other barrier is her inability to move on with her life. Curley's wife never received a letter back from the movie director who promised to make her a starlet in Hollywood. This is a mental barrier from her past that prevents her from achieving her future
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