Theme Of Power Imbalance In Of Mice And Men

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Every relationship must face a power imbalance because power is never shared equally. Anyone holding power can control those who do not, which causes the powerless to be resentful. During the 1930s when both of the works were set, the Great Depression was taking place. This caused an unequal power for the citizens. In Of Mice and Men, the battle for authority is a never-ending war. While in "The Harness," one character mainly carries the influence for the greater good of the other. Steinbeck elicits a similar theme of power imbalance to both “The Harness” and Of Mice and Men. For instance, in “The Harness” Emma controls how her husband Peter acts. Emma forces Peter to wear a harness, leaving him unable to show his true self and restraining his real feelings. Peter restrains his stomach with a harness, his shoulders being held “back as though they were braced” (“The Harness” 77). The harness is the hold Emma has on him, which keeps him from being himself. Peter has the potential to be a very cruel man, but Emma keeps him honest and put together. The anger he has inside is a “force held caged” (“The Harness” 77). Emma traps him with the standards she has for him. Peter’s only sign of straying from her plan for him is when he goes on the business trips where he “[gets] drunk” (“The Harness” 83) to cope with always having to be someone he is not. He tells his friend Ed about how his life has been “dribbled out” (“The Harness” 85) and how he has been living is
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