Opposites In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

Superior Essays
John Steinbeck is an influential writer that is considered the author of the 1930s. His most famous works are all inspired by the struggles in the Great Depression. All of these works illustrate the importance of relationships. One theme that he depicts is the theme of how opposites do not attract. This is certainly the case in Steinbeck’s short novel, Of Mice and Men. In Of Mice and Men, the two main characters, George and Lennie, experience and see many opposites that do not attract, whether they are characters or the imagery of Salinas Valley in the Great Depression. Steinbeck uses those examples to reveal that opposites cannot make good and stable relationships. In the novella Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck conveys that opposites are not meant …show more content…
Carlson and Candy are two characters that do not seem to meet ends because of personality differences. We can see this when Carlson and Candy state “‘that dog stinks. Get him outta here’... ‘I been around him so much I never notice how he stinks’... ‘He ain’t no good to you… Why’n’t you shoot him, Candy?’... ‘I had him so long’” (Steinbeck 44). Carlson tends to be more decisive and less hesitant in making solutions than Candy is. This shows how different they are because the characters perceive the old dog differently. Carlson identifies the dog as useless and ready to die but Candy sees his dog as a friend. The personality difference is that Carlson jumps straight to the conclusion without thinking twice and Candy hesitates to make a decision at all because Candy kept looking “for help from face to face” (Steinbeck 45). Another character that had to deal with opposites is Crooks. We can see this when Steinbeck states, “Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me” (Steinbeck 68). An obvious opposite between Crooks and “they” is that they have a different skin tone. If opposites were to attract, then white people would accept black people as friends and in this case, letting Crooks play cards with them. Crooks does not seem to like white people because he thinks …show more content…
One example of this kind of imagery is when the author states “The flame of the sunset lifted from the mountaintops and dusk came into the valley” (Steinbeck 10). In the imagery, the reader can catch an opposite; the mountaintops and the valley. They are contrasts because mountaintops are high altitude and valleys are low. The piece of imagery shows how opposites are not meant for each other because it foreshadows George getting frustrated at the fact that Lennie is mentally challenged. The quote represents the difference of intelligence, where George represents the mountaintops because he is clever and Lennie is the valley because he is unintelligent. This shows how opposites are not meant for each other because George would have been working already if Lennie was as cognizant as him, but had to ditch because of contradictory personalities. Another example of imagery of the setting that foreshadows the near future is when the author writes “Although there was evening brightness showing through the windows of the bunkhouse, inside it was dusk” (Steinbeck 39). The opposites in this piece of imagery are that the outside and inside are different; outside is bright and the inside is very dark. The quote is foreshadowing the disagreement that Candy and Carlson had about whether or not to kill off Candy’s dog. Because the quote was meant for foreshadowing, the outside

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Although Candy has “‘...been around him so much that [he] never notice[s] how he stinks...’ ”, the other ranch hands,especially Carlson, despise having the dog around (Steinbeck, 44). During one part of the novelCarlson asks, “‘Why’n’t you shoot him, Candy?” (Steinbeck, 44). Even though it would be mer-ciful to the dog Candy argues that he “ ‘...[was the] best damn sheep dog [he] ever seen’ ” andthat he ‘“...had ‘im ever since he was a pup”’ (Steinbeck 24, 44). Candy has “ ‘...had ‘im tolong...’ ” and says “ ‘...[he] couldn’ do that’ ” (Steinbeck, 45). He has a hard time letting go of the dog even though it is probably the most merciful thing to do for it.…

    • 1067 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    And his age and handicap practical labels him useless. But rather than express the dynamics of youth in the workforce dominating over the old through Candy, Steinbeck disguises this matter through Candy’s dog in comparison to Slim’s new pups. The group kills off the dog because it is weak and holds no value and the idea of replacing it with a newer pup makes since because it is grand in potential, Candy’s dogs potential has already been tapped there is nothing efficient for it to do making its value diminish. Also the scene of Slim casually drowning five of the nine pups due to limited resources shows society 's acceptance of survival of the fittest. And in Steinbeck’s world there is no room for the innocent.…

    • 758 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Racism In Othello Analysis

    • 1184 Words
    • 5 Pages

    He says "Haply, for I am black/And have not those soft parts of conversation/That chamberers have, or for I am declined/Into the vale of years, -yet that 's not much-/She 's gone" (Shakespeare 3.3.304-308). This proves that Othello has low self-esteem because he is black. He believes that his race causes him to not be polite enough to really have Desdemona, that if he were a white man it would be easier to woo her. However, he seems to have stopped caring for the reasons why she left him because it 's a done deed, even though he has no proof for it. He doesn’t need any proof because he is so self-conscious that he cannot believe Desdemona could really love him, so he readily accepts the idea that she wasn’t being faithful to…

    • 1184 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Carlson suggests shooting the dog to put it out of its pain, when in reality, he dislikes the dog because of its smell. Finally, Candy is pressured into shooting the dog. The dog is betrayed by its companion, the only person who cared and nurtured for it. The dog also does not have a name, which signifies its insignificance in the world. Steinbeck also portrays ableism through Lennie, a man who is oppressed because of his intellectual ability.…

    • 1777 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Both the dog and Lennie are detested by most people results from the aging of the dog and the mental retardation of Lennie. Even though the dog and Lennie are precious friends to Candy and George, respectively, they were not saved by their friends. Different from the lonely dead of the dog, at least Lennie gets George beside him at the moment of death. Every main character is filled with a sense of solitude. From the beginning, the traveling of George and Lennie is a kind of fleeing, due the behaviour of Lennie did to the girl in red dress.…

    • 1036 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This shows how Candy feels about his dog and himself. It shows that Candy knows that he might not have that much time left, and that he might get fired soon because he is useless. Candy is an example of the loneliness you can feel when losing someone close to you. In the novella Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck, the author shows the power of loneliness by using isolation,, discrimination, and…

    • 868 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The last example is that he says that he is not handy or needed for anything so they’ll just get rid of him the moment he slips. This shows that he is so bad because of his age and not being able to work due to his hand that he is practically worthless and they just keep him around because they feel remorse. John Steinbeck includes many types of deficiencies in his novella Of Mice and Men. In this novella there are many characters with various losses keeping them from their goals. These characters are Lennie for being dumb.…

    • 1035 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Later in the book, Candy’s dog is shot because it is considered no good, not useful, to old, and to smelly. ‘“That dog ain’t no good to himself. I wish somebody’d shoot me if I get old an’ a cripple”’, (Steinbeck 45), this quote shows how the elderly were treated and looked at by society. Candy’s dog is a metaphor for the old and elderly people of the Great Depression and how others saw them us not useful, old, and questioned why they were still alive. After Candy’s dog is shot, some of the ranch men ask if anyone wants to play cards, solitaire.…

    • 1297 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “’Maybe it'd hurt him”’, he suggested. “’I don't mind taking care of him”’ (Steinbeck 45) This evidence proves that Candy is experiencing social injustice through internal conflict because he's debating on shooting his dog or not; not only that, but he is also being pressured into doing so because others don't want the dog in the bunkhouse anymore. One more way that social injustice is shown through internal conflict is George's thoughts on Lennie. “God a’mighty if I was alone, I could live so easy. I could get a job an’ work, an’ no trouble” (Steinbeck 11).…

    • 946 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The potential for perfectibility leaves him as people begin to realize that he won't be able to complete his tasks. Another example of Candy’s imperfection occurs when Candy recalls his dead dog with George present. “‘I ought to have shot that dog myself, George I shouldn't ought to let no stranger shoot my dog”’(61). Candy regrets the shooting of his dog. Carlson was in such a haste to get the smell of the dog out of the bunkhouse, Candy didn’t have to think about what he wanted to do.…

    • 568 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays