All quotes contain page numbers as well. Look at the bottom of the page to identify which edition of the text by John Steinbeck they are referring to. I just like to know what your interest is.
A guy needs somebody-to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you.
I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick. Hunderds of them. They come, an' they quit an' go on; an' every damn one of 'em's got a little piece of land in his head. An' never a God damn one of 'em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Everybody wants a little piece of lan'.
I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It's just in their head. They're all the time talkin' about it, but it's jus' in their head. I think I knowed we'd never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would. They got no family. They don't belong no place. With us it ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don't have to sit in no bar room blowin' in our jack jus' because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn.
But not us. Reference: Steinbeck. George and Lennie's dream of "a few acres" addresses this alienation. They speak of their dream in terms of planting and gardening - they are eager to perform the tasks necessary to live off the land. Their talk about raising cows and drinking their milk, about planting and tending a vegetable garden, contrasts starkly with their actual diet - cans of beans with if they're lucky ketchup. The concept of alienation from nature owes much to the writings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and other communist thinkers.
Steinbeck of Mice and Men Essay | Bartleby
They argued that the rise of industrial economy corresponds to a loss of contact with the natural processes of life. Where a human being was once connected, like the animal he is, to the whole of life the production of food, shelter, clothing, etc. This state of alienation, according to Marx, can fuel a discontent among the workers that leads to revolution. Steinbeck allows us to glimpse at a general malaise that might lead to a "soft revolution" of sorts in Chapter Four, when the outcasts of the ranch fantasize about starting their ranch together.
As with most things in this tragic novel, their dreaming comes to naught. During the novel's opening and closing chapters, Steinbeck describes the activity of the natural world. These passages are rich and interpretable in many directions: it's worth singling out the first of the novel's many allusions to rabbits.
Of Mice and Men Thesis Statements and Important Quotes
Steinbeck writes that the rabbits happily "sit on the sand," and are then disturbed by the arrival of George and Lennie - they "hurr[y] noiselessly for cover" 2. Not until later does this little detail take on a richer significance - rabbits, we learn, represent for Lennie and George, to a lesser extent the dream of obtaining a farm of their own and living "off the fatta the lan'" The scattering of the rabbits at the beginning suggests already that this dream will prove elusive.
Because Lennie thinks in concrete terms of his own pleasure, he equates the tending of rabbits - whose soft fur he wishes to pet - with the attainment of utter happiness. Thus he has developed a shorthand for referring to the plan George and he share to start a farm of their own - "I remember about the rabbits" 5. Lennie takes deep pride in the notion that he would be entrusted to raise the rabbits, to protect them, to feed them out of their alfalfa patch. He places the entirety of his future happiness on this one image of caring for rabbits. This dream of the rabbits becomes literally a dream at the end of the novel, when Lennie hallucinates a giant rabbit who tells him that he will never be allowed to tend rabbits.
This highlights the extent to which Lennie bases his entire life around the goal of tending rabbits. Indeed, his only thought after doing something "bad" - whether killing a puppy or killing Curley's wife, all "bad things" seem roughly equivalent in Lennie's mind - is that George will not allow him to tend the rabbits. The manner in which he fails to see his actions in terms of good and evil, and instead views them as good or bad insofar as they are conducive to his ability to pet rabbits, reveals definitively how unfit Lennie is for society.
Of Mice and Men depicts very few women - which shouldn't be surprising considering the characters with whom the novel is concerned. These itinerant laborers don't have an opportunity to settle down with women in mutually respectful relationships, it seems. Instead, they seek the company of prostitutes for "a flop" 57 on the weekends and make due otherwise.
However their attitudes toward women may be tied to their dissatisfying life, the views expressed on the subject have every reason to give the modern reader pause. George expresses respect for only two sorts of women in the novel - on the one hand, the maternal figure represented by Aunt Clara , whose charge to take care of Lennie he has taken on as a responsibility; on the other hand, George respects prostitutes. He says, "Give me a good whore house every time" George likes how straight-forward the arrangement at a house of prostitution is.
The one major female character in the novel, who is not even given a name of her own, does not fit neatly into either category. She is a domestic figure - after all, she is married to Curley and spends most of her time at home - and, at the same time, a flirtatious, highly sexualized figure. Her status, between domesticity and prostitution, makes her extremely problematic in the novel, a source of anxiety and unrest. She leads to trouble, as George immediately observes she will. A reader might raise an eyebrow at Steinbeck's simple willingness to pin the role of trouble-maker on one unnamed woman.
Essays on Of Mice and Men
Curley's wife is regularly used as a scapegoat in the novel. She is blamed for the lustful feelings she inspires. Even after she has been tragically killed, Candy shouts misogynist insults at her corpse.
- Of Mice and Men.
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- Of Mice and Men Essay — Adam Cap.
Curley's wife's life, clearly, is miserable, yet we are not encouraged to see things from her perspective. Even when she expresses her miserable loneliness, these episodes are followed by instances of manipulation, of threatening. Her death is hardly poignant - and indeed, her corpse is praised more in death than she was in life. The reader has every reason to question Steinbeck's motives in giving us such an unsympathetic view of this woman - and, by association, women in general.
One of the ways that Steinbeck creates such depth in his novels is that he associates certain images with multiple interpretive dimensions.
Of Mice and Men Essay
For instance, "the rabbits" captures Lennie's innocent love of tactile stimulation, his participation in George's dream of establishing a farm of their own, and the threat of his daunting strength. Every cuddly thing he's touched, after all, has died - just as the dream of the rabbits dies. Another such image, though perhaps less obvious, is that of hands.
Steinbeck speaks of hands regularly in Of Mice and Men , most often associating them with the common dualism of sex and violence. The image hinges on the character of Curley - a man both outspokenly pugnacious and lecherous. In the description immediately following Curley's first entrance, he is described as "handy" The term, in this first context, makes reference to his eagerness and ability to fight. He is handy with his fists, so to speak. Later in the same conversation we hear of a second association with Curley's hands.
Candy says that he wears one glove "fulla vaseline" and adds, "Curley says he's keepin' that hand soft for his wife" Thus Curley's hands are tied to sex as well as violence. He fights with the one hand and keeps the other hand soft. Thus, with this association in place, it's clear why Curley is so humiliated following his fight with Lennie. Lennie crushes his hand, which thus symbolizes not only his loss in terms of fighting ability, but also in terms of sexual power.
Lennie proves the better man in both senses. The defeat is thus a symbolic castration of sorts. This symbolism is reinforced when Curley's wife appears to find the big man's defeat of her husband alluring - "I like machines" Of course, Lennie has no idea that he is causing such problems in the realms of sex and violence - he cannot understand these concepts himself. But this only reinforces the sense that such a dangerous, potent, unreflective man cannot continue to operate in the company of others.
In the action and language of the novel, Steinbeck explores some of the multiple meanings embedded in the idea of "meanness. Both George and Lennie express their distaste for this sort of man. George says that he "don't like mean little guys" Curley's relish for violence and his constant urge to pick fights contrasts directly with Lennie's comparatively "innocent" violence. After Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife and buries her in the hay, George notes that Lennie "never done it in meanness" Lennie kills out of cuddling, or blind panic. He loves things to death. A second resonance in the concept of meanness has to do with Lennie and Curley's respective sizes - Curley is a "mean little guy.
Curley, in other words, is small not in size alone, but also in his petty actions. He is of average size and terribly anxious about that.
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