Essay title: Of Mice and Men
First of all, emphasis is placed on the daily struggles endured on a daily basis by the middle-class.
Much like George and Lennie, they worry about having enough money to survive, for shelter and for clothing. Also, there seems to be the fear of loneliness that seems to surface throughout the novel. Despite the on going quarrels between George and Lennie, the two men are afraid of being alone on their own. In addition, it seems the two main characters find themselves in positions that are beyond their control. These are the conflicts one finds in this novel. As previously mentioned, one conflict includes idealism versus reality. The middle-class in general, and George and Lennie specifically, illustrates the problems they face when dreams of a better life are short-lived due to the reality of circumstances encountered and the Depression.
Also, the man versus man conflict is seen on a regular basis throughout the novel. The ranch hands indirectly put pressure on George to shoot Lennie. The ranch hands forced that Candy’s dog be shot. Also, the novel sheds light on the inner conflict within certain characters. For example, George struggles with the caring for Lennie, or putting both himself and Lennie at peace for good by killing Lennie.
Candy also fears that he, like his dog, will be cast aside whenever he is no longer of use. Thirdly, the setting of the story is set in Salinas, California. Ironically, the author was born in Salinas. It is the time of the Great Depression and middle-class has been hit hard. The story begins in Weed, a California mining town.
The plot of the novel begins with George and Lennie getting off the bus from Weed, and making the rest of their journey by foot to get to the ranch where they will begin work the following day. They are afraid that the boss won’t hire them because of Lennie’s disability so he lies and tells him that he and Lennie are cousins and that a horse kicked Lennie when he was little. After being hired, the first person they meet is Candy who has an old dog.
They then meet the boss’s son, Curly, and his wife. They quickly learn that Curley is a mean individual and is always looking to start a fight, especially with men who are larger than him. Out of all the people they meet Lennie takes to Curley’s wife because he thinks she is pretty. When the guys return form the field for lunch they meet Slim.
They also meet Carlson who says that Slim’s dog has just given birth and should offer one to Candy, so they could kill his good for nothing dog. The next day George tells Slim that he and Lennie are not cousins but are just life long friends and that Lennie has a tendency to get them in a lot of trouble. Upon discovering that Lennie likes soft furry things Slim gives Lennie one of his newly born puppies. While George and Lennie are discussing their dreams and plans about buying a farm, Candy overhears the plans and wants to be included in their plans. As a result, the three men make a pact not to let anybody else know about it.
Curley returns to the bunkhouse, looking for his wife, of whom he is suspicious of.