Struggle In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

Good Essays
As a writer, John Steinbeck was incredibly conscious of social issues of his time. He portrays these bits of social commentary through certain archetypes within his writing, one of his most famous being Of Mice And Men. The novel portrays the hardships that characters had to struggle through in the 1930’s, internally and externally. The most obvious character with an internal struggle is that of Lennie Smalls. Lennie Smalls as a character who stands as a sort of posterchild as to how the mentally ill were treated during this time.
During the 1930’s era, the world was in a ‘ride or die’ or ‘every man for himself’ state, meaning that those who desperately needed help could not receive said help. Those unfortunate enough to be mentally disabled during this time were often viewed as unhealthy or defective, and may have been abandoned by their families who did not
…show more content…
He was seen as slow with a terrible memory, acting somewhat like a young child. While he was a strong and powerful man, that in combination with his mental state, was his downfall. Smalls knew the difference between right and wrong, he just had the wrong ideals behind why it was. He fixates on certain childish things, such as his dreams of tending rabbits in the farm that he and George were supposedly going to own. The story of the farm was the only thing he truly could remember. George stood as Lennie’s caretaker, but it was a sort of co-dependency. George took care of Lennie in the terms of making sure he didn’t get himself killed, while on the other hand, Lennie took care of George in the terms of providing him protection. This co-dependency kept them out of their respective places; whorehouses, asylums, or even death or harm. George really did not need to take care of Lennie, as because of Lennie, he had lost so many opportunities. Yet he felt an obligation to do so, via the promise he made to Lennie’s Aunt

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    George learns from past occurrences, and leaves Lennie at the ranch: “‘Ever’body went into town,’ he said. ‘Slim an’ George an’ ever’body. George says I gotta stay here an’ not get in no trouble…’” (68). George’s actions portray to the readers that George doesn’t completely trust Lennie, and believes that he will find a way to get into trouble if he goes out in public, so when George and the guys go into town, Lennie must stay behind. No one connects with Lennie besides George, so Lennie finds it difficult to express his feelings.…

    • 1063 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    George knows that even though Lennie causes him trouble, it is not on purpose. He does not change his relationship with Lennie because he is so alone that he cannot bear to leave his one friend behind. Throughout all the trouble Lennie cause George still defends their friendship, "It ain't so funny, him an' me goin' aroun' together," George said at last. "Him and me was both born in Auburn. I knowed his Aunt Clara.…

    • 2044 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    George and Lennie had a hope of buying land because they could talk about their dreams. Hope produces itself when in the right situation. By losing his dog, Candy had hope in the farm. It was a fantasy of the future. Crooks also had part of this dream because of his isolation and how much he hated it.…

    • 1165 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In Of Mice and Men George was right in killing Lennie because he does not know how to control his own actions. Lennie was consistently making mistakes and taking many different opportunities away from George. Lennie was the reason the had to leave their old job in Weed because of his childlike sense of wonder Lennie does…

    • 1114 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The novel portrays this idea of loneliness throughout John Steinbeck 's stimulating and exciting novel. There are several clearly identified themes running through the novel. The loyalty and friendship which exists between two men, George and Lennie, and the hostile environment of America during the American Depression. But, the main two themes of Of Mice and Men were loneliness and humanity.Every character in the novel appeared to at one point face the hardships of humanity in one way or another. John Steinbeck expertly portrays the theme of human existence and humanity in the novella in an interesting and original…

    • 1339 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Because Jon is cut off from any outside influence by the facility and is still under the heavy influence of Aurabon, he is unaware of making the comparison between the world outside and life under Slippen. Through a young age, the institution makes a crucial connection with Jon and the other children and creates a life in which they can rationalize staying in. However, as actions speak louder than words, Jon becomes obviously distraught over the absence of Carolyn. He very much wants to leave, but understands the institution doesn’t want him to and is daunted by the presence of free choice. The climax of Jon’s trauma is defined by the will to follow Carolyn negated by “Randy”’s urge to stay in the institution.…

    • 1835 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It is a "Universal metaphor" for the cruelty of the "human condition" (Beach 3377). Lennie's "shapeless face, bearlike movements, brute gentles and selective forgetfulness," represents one of the most sympathized sensational figures in all of modern fiction (Gray 3378). He is convincingly childlike in nature, but knows what he can do to strengthen his and George's relationship. George is one of the things Lenny values besides his love for small, soft animals. Because of his uncontrollable strength, Lenny usually ends up "destroying" those small animals, and in the end must be "destroyed" himself (Magill 1885).…

    • 975 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This quote represents the fact that Crooks is so used to being lonely he doesn’t think anyone wants to talk to him. When Lennie starts talking about the farm Crooks freaks out and offers his services. Crooks is so eager to join the farm because all his life he has been brought up to be a servant but with the farm he could actually own a part of…

    • 1365 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Georges assured that he will take care of Lennie because their Aunt Clara passed away and there was no one to look after Lennie. Lennie comes across as a person with a childlike brain meaning he needs a carer to look after him. Unaware of his strength causes major problems which is identified throughout the novel. As he acts differently he never usually understands what people say which might lead him to being lonely. George doesn’t like George socialising as in page 17, I quote” Sure’ said Lennie, ‘I can’t remember this d’nt I remember about not gonna say a word?’…’well look Lennie ‘if you jus’ happen to get in trouble like you always done before”.…

    • 1284 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Society often defeats those dreams because of temptation of short-term happiness, like games, and how hard it is to achieve those dreams. Everything has to line up for dreams to happen, and most of the time, that does not occur because they are not “socially fit” and therefore, they are disposed of. In Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, he illustrates through Lennie’s helplessness, innocence and childishness that people need to be able to match society demands, while George’s paternalistic yet controlling and irresponsible personality shows that not everyone can achieve their dreams because of obstacles. Steinbeck is showing that society is not fair. It does not care if you are muscular or smart; it only cares if you can do what it dictates you to do.…

    • 1295 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays