Why Does Steinbeck Use The Motif In Of Mice And Men

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Stage One: Pre-English: Responding to Texts – Of Mice and Men
Question 1: How does Steinbeck use the motif of the American Dream as a means of combating the hardships of life? (Refer to the components of this dream, why does it seem far-fetched and yet how does it bring happiness to the impoverished characters?)

Thesis: John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella, Of Mice and Men, is set in 1930s America and portrays the struggles and hardships for people living during the Great Depression. Steinbeck conveys the importance of the American Dream in times of hardship, through the techniques of characterisation, foreshadowing and repetition.

Paragraph 1: George and Lennie (more about G & Lennie, less about Candy) (define the type of friendship – parental, …show more content…

He lived on a ‘chicken ranch’ with his parents and ‘two brothers’, and he would play with the ‘white kids’, completely oblivious to the racist society he lived in. The farm is a microcosm of society, where Crooks is segregated from the other men. This has left him with a longing for human company, because ‘a guy goes nut if he ain’t got nobody’. When Candy and Lennie are talking about the dream, Crooks becomes interested and says to Candy that he would ‘come an’ lend a hand’, however after being insulted by Curley’s wife, he says that ‘he didn’t mean it’. Behind the façade of Crooks’ anger is a longing for human company. Crooks is an extremely complex and detailed character, but like all the men on the farm, all he wants is someone to talk …show more content…

The friendship between George and Lennie is perhaps the strongest relationship in the novel. They have a symbiotic relationship, where George is presented as being the carer and protector of Lennie, who provides stability and company. George has always put Lennie first, even if it means missing out on something. Steinbeck characterises Lennie as being innocent and naïve, ‘jes’ like a kid’, but as ‘strong as a bull’. Lennie is a victim of his own strength, and it leads to him unintentionally taking the lives of several mice, his pup and Curley’s wife. After Lennie kills Curley’s wife, George shoots him in the back of the head to protect him from what would have been a horrible death at the hands of Curley and the other men. He tells Lennie about the ‘little place’ that they are going to get with ‘a cow’ and the ‘little piece alfalfa’ that is ‘for the rabbits’. He then raises the ‘shot-gun’ to the ‘back of Lennie’s head’ and with an unsteady hand, he pulls the trigger. The shaking of George’s hand shows how hesitant he was to kill Lennie, but George must do that in order for Lennie to have a peaceful death. George only had the best intentions, and did not mean or want to harm Lennie, but given the circumstances, he did not have any other

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