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Essays on Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck


Essays on Of Mice and Men:

Essays on The Grapes of Wrath:


1. Critical evaluation

The main theme of ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck is fate . The techniques he uses such as the title , repetition , echoes and symbolism are very successful in putting across his very pessimistic views on this theme .

The two main characters , George and Lennie , share a dream . George dreams of a piece of land of his own . Independence . A couple of acres , a cow and some pigs . Lennie dreams of tending rabbits . With the title ‘Of Mice and Men’ , Steinbeck is telling you that this dream whilst on the verge of realization , will be destroyed by fate .

It relates to Robert Burns’ poem ‘To a Mouse’ . Burns and Steinbeck share the same pessimistic views on fate . In ‘To a Mouse’ Burns shows that he believes that just as your dreams are about to come true , ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men ,’ fate will always strike , ‘ gang aft agley ‘. The last two lines ,’ An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain , for promis’d joy! ‘, show that Burns believes that you’re worse off after your dreams have been crushed than you were before

In the story , almost anyone could be the mouse although the most obvious is George .

I think this is a very well chosen title for this short story as if you know the poem you know more or less what is going to happen .

Steinbeck’s technique of repetition is effective in that it builds up to the climax of the tragedy . The mouse Lennie had was dead . He had killed it unintentionally when petting it . This situation is repeated further on in the story when Lennie is given a pup by Slim . Lennie had been playing with it and had hit the puppy for biting him . You know that an incident like this is going to be the downfall of George and Lennie .

The episode in Weed also hints on future tragedy . Lennie sees a girl wearing a beautiful red dress and , child-like as he is , he wants to touch it . He grabs the dress and the girl lets out a loud scream . He panics and all he can think of to do is hold on .He holds on until George arrives on the scene just in time and hits him on the head with a gatepost .

The introduction of Curley’s wife adds another piece to the puzzle . Her description when she was standing at the doorway with her ‘rouged lips’ , ‘ hair hung in little rolled clusters’ and ‘cotton house clusters’ shows that she will be the one who destroys George and Lennie’s dream . This technique is simple but very effective .

George had told Candy of his dream and Candy wanted in on it . Candy had the money to purchase the land required from compensation received after his arm had been cut off by machinery . This moved them to the verge of achieving their dream .

In my view the most successful technique in illustrating John Steinbeck’s view of fate is the symbolism in the last chapter . ‘A watersnake glided smoothly up the pool , twisting its periscope head from side to side , and it swam the length of the pool and came to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shallows . A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head , and the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved frantically ‘. The heron , motionless and waiting , represents fate while the watersnake , helpless and unaware , is its victim .

Steinbeck’s view on fate is illustrated again by the word choice . Words like lanced , plucked and waiting suggest that Steinbeck believes that fate striking is almost medical ; sure and precise .

The watersnake could represent almost anyone in the novel although it is most likely that it represents George . The heron represents fate , but also Lennie as he was the one who was always going to destroy George’s dream .

In conclusion I consider the main theme to be fate . I consider the symbolism of the watersnake and the heron to be the most successful technique in putting across Steinbeck’s pessimistic views on the subject .


2. Themes of Friendship and Loneliness

I enjoyed this novel because I found the contrast between the two main characters very interesting and wanted to try to understand why Steinbeck has chosen main characters such as George and Lennie, as the rest of the book was mainly moulded around these two specific characters. I was very involved with most aspects of the book particularly that of the setting. However in this essay I will focus on the themes of friendship and loneliness.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a novel involving two extremely different main characters. George is a reasonably intelligent, hardworking ranchman. Lennie on the other hand always manages to find trouble. He is equally as hardworking and honest as George but his simple, childlike mind always causes him trouble wherever he goes. However they have one thing in common. They both share the same dream of owning their own ranch and after many hard working years, moving from ranch to ranch, living in complete poverty and working for next to nothing they finally try to achieve this life long dream.

Steinbeck writes the novel using 3rd person narrative to show how emotionally remote the characters are and to show that they don’t get to know people intimately. This for me is enhances the success of the book as it gives an equal account of all the characters' feelings.

In the opening chapter Steinbeck immediately introduces the idea of loneliness and the idea of the men living very temporary lives, with no real direction. Steinbeck cleverly uses the setting to convey these ideas. The path George and Lennie are walking on is described as

“ A path beaten hard by boys… and beaten hard by tramps who came wearily down from the highway in the evening to jungle – up near water “ and “ an ash pile made by many fires “

These quotes for me convey the idea of the setting and the characters living very temporary, lonely lives. Not only do these quotes describe the setting, they also give us a detailed description of the men’s tragic, isolated lives as well. For example when Steinbeck tells us about an ash pile made by many fires. He is actually making the point that the ash pile occurred from lots of men passing through that point in the forest and so they live temporary lives and are always moving from ranch to ranch and this is just like all the men on the ranch. This also shows how hard work was to find as so many wonder from place to place.

Another point about the setting that I feel relates to the men’s lives is shown on p.g. 18. The description is that of the bunk house where all the ranch workers stay

“ Over each bunk there was nailed an apple box with the opening forward so that it made two shelves for personal belongings “

The manner in which Steinbeck describes the bunkhouse is very similar to that of the ranchman’s lives and it also shows us all they have for personal belongings is two shelves. Steinbeck shows us that by having only two shelves for belongings they live lonely insecure lives.

One man who suffers from the extremes of loneliness on the ranch is a man named Crooks

"A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an he gets sick"

Crooks is a black man that experiences isolation because the society in which he resides in is racist. Crooks is forced to live in the barn by him self and can not join in any social activities with the other men. The quote says “don’t matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you”. I feel this makes the point that although Lennie does rely on George a lot, George also rely’s on him to be a friend and the fact that Lennie is simple makes no difference because they have something which all the workers envy - friendship. Crooks is possibly the loneliest character on the ranch along side Curleys wife who is also very lonely.

Curley is the ranch owner’s son and likes to think everything he does is right. Curley likes to think he owns his wife and that he should tell her what she can and can’t do and consequently this is what makes her another very lonely character. If she tries to talk to the ranchmen they ignore her, because they fear Curley and she has no female friends so she is very isolated. His wife is never given a name in the book and is constantly referred to as “Curleys wife”; this for me makes an important and bold statement to the reader. Steinbeck shows how lonely she is, as she is never given a name it shows that no one thinks of her as a friend, but more of an object. She shouldn’t really be as lonely as she is because she has a husband, but still she has no real friends. She has no real grip on life and lives in two completely different worlds. In reality she lives in an old ranch surrounded by ranchmen with no friends or companions to communicate with. However she longs and truly believes she can be a film star. She once told Lennie

“ I aint used to livin like this. I coulda made something of myself… maybe I will yet ”

Curley’s wife is not the only one dreaming of a better life, all the characters struggling in this novel are dreaming of moving away and making something of themselves.

All the characters on the rank suffer from loneliness, and this is down to having no friends. They all in some way or other envy George and Lennie because no matter what happens George and Lennie have each other as friends; no one else on the ranch can boast this. It wasn’t normal for people to travel together like George and Lennie did and this is what brought about suspicion, for example the boss of the ranch thought George was taking Lennie’s wages – showing that nobody really knew or understood friendship, as it didn’t really exist for anyone on the ranch.

Candy is an old ranch worker who was disabled a few years back while working. He has a little bit of money and feels he can contribute towards paying for George and Lennie’s little ranch, as long as he can be a part of the dream. This is a very strange peculiar part of the novel as it gives an unexpected twist to the story line. Throughout the novel the dream is always associated with George and Lennie, like the times when George explains the dream to Lennie and how they always keep the dream alive by talking about it. Candy an old lonely, isolated man changes this and George and Lennie need to make an important decision – whether or not to allow Candy in on their dream.

“ ‘S’pose I went in with you guys. That’s three hundred and fifty bucks I’d put in… How’d that be? ”

Once again candy’s desperate attempt to be a part of the dream shows us the degree of loneliness that exists for him. Candy owns an old disabled dog, which is much like him in many ways. The dog is only used for labor and is not really needed around the ranch: very similar to the way the other men look upon Candy. In the end his dog was shot and I think this is also making the statement that candy’s life may be going in the same direction, even if this is contradicting the American dream. Candy worked hard all his live and all he had to show for it was nothing, not much when you consider how long he worked for.

Crooks dreams of a better life just like all the characters, but he dreams of a different life, he dreams of educating himself.

“And he had books, too: a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905. They were battered magazines and a few dirty books… A pair of large gold-rimmed spectacles hung from a nail on the wall”

John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men shows the reader how without friendship everyone can suffer from loneliness. A prime example of a strong relationship in the novel was between George and Lennie. At the end of the novel George shoots Lennie, many could preach and say he did this out of malice however I believe this shows how strong the bond was that George and Lennie had as friends. George shot Lennie for his own good, George couldn’t sit and watch Lennie die a slow cruel death to the hands of the other ranchmen instead he put Lennie out of misery in a quick and more humane manner. At first to the reader it seems George may live a better life without Lennie but he really will just end up as one of the other men – with no real friends suffering from extreme loneliness and of course the dream will never come true. If this book has taught me one thing in life – it is that everyone should have a friend; no matter what race, colour, or sex everyone should have a companion and that is why John Steinbeck’s novel is very successful.


3. Fate

In my view the most successful technique in illustrating John Steinbeck’s view of fate is the symbolism in the last chapter . ‘A watersnake glided smoothly up the pool , twisting its periscope head from side to side , and it swam the length of the pool and came to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shallows . A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head , and the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved frantically ‘. The heron , motionless and waiting , represents fate while the watersnake , helpless and unaware , is its victim .

Steinbeck’s view on fate is illustrated again by the word choice . Words like lanced , plucked and waiting suggest that Steinbeck believes that fate striking is almost medical ; sure and precise .

The watersnake could represent almost anyone in the novel although it is most likely that it represents George . The heron represents fate , but also Lennie as he was the one who was always going to destroy George’s dream .

In conclusion I consider the main theme to be fate . I consider the symbolism of the watersnake and the heron to be the most successful technique in putting across Steinbeck’s pessimistic views on the subject .


4. Candy

Candy is an old ranch worker who was disabled a few years back while working. He has a little bit of money and feels he can contribute towards paying for George and Lennie’s little ranch, as long as he can be a part of the dream. This is a very strange peculiar part of the novel as it gives an unexpected twist to the story line. Throughout the novel the dream is always associated with George and Lennie, like the times when George explains the dream to Lennie and how they always keep the dream alive by talking about it. Candy an old lonely, isolated man changes this and George and Lennie need to make an important decision – whether or not to allow Candy in on their dream.

“ ‘S’pose I went in with you guys. That’s three hundred and fifty bucks I’d put in… How’d that be? ”

Once again candy’s desperate attempt to be a part of the dream shows us the degree of loneliness that exists for him. Candy owns an old disabled dog, which is much like him in many ways. The dog is only used for labor and is not really needed around the ranch: very similar to the way the other men look upon Candy. In the end his dog was shot and I think this is also making the statement that candy’s life may be going in the same direction, even if this is contradicting the American dream. Candy worked hard all his live and all he had to show for it was nothing, not much when you consider how long he worked for.


5. Crooks

One man who suffers from the extremes of loneliness on the ranch is a man named Crooks

"A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an he gets sick"

Crooks is a black man that experiences isolation because the society in which he resides in is racist. Crooks is forced to live in the barn by him self and can not join in any social activities with the other men. The quote says “don’t matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you”. I feel this makes the point that although Lennie does rely on George a lot, George also rely’s on him to be a friend and the fact that Lennie is simple makes no difference because they have something which all the workers envy - friendship. Crooks is possibly the loneliest character on the ranch along side Curleys wife who is also very lonely.


6. Curley

Curley is the ranch owner’s son and likes to think everything he does is right. Curley likes to think he owns his wife and that he should tell her what she can and can’t do and consequently this is what makes her another very lonely character. If she tries to talk to the ranchmen they ignore her, because they fear Curley and she has no female friends so she is very isolated.

His wife is never given a name in the book and is constantly referred to as “Curleys wife”; this for me makes an important and bold statement to the reader. Steinbeck shows how lonely she is, as she is never given a name it shows that no one thinks of her as a friend, but more of an object. She shouldn’t really be as lonely as she is because she has a husband, but still she has no real friends. She has no real grip on life and lives in two completely different worlds.

In reality she lives in an old ranch surrounded by ranchmen with no friends or companions to communicate with. However she longs and truly believes she can be a film star. She once told Lennie

“ I aint used to livin like this. I coulda made something of myself… maybe I will yet ”

Curley’s wife is not the only one dreaming of a better life, all the characters struggling in this novel are dreaming of moving away and making something of themselves.


7. Stereotypes and discrimination


In the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses stereotypes and discrimination to convey a message
of how the characters feel. A lot of the stereotypes and clichés are just common beliefs of the times, but a
few are situational. To quote a quite distinguished reader, "Characters are ‘trapped’- either by what others
think of them, or by their situation." A lot of the character’s feelings about themselves and what others
think of them will lead to loneliness.

Crooks is a character who is mistreated in many ways because he is black. Crooks is the stable buck of
the barn. It’s not certain whether Crooks is his name, or his nickname, but we know he got kicked in the
back by a horse and had a crooked back ever since. Nevertheless he gets yelled at by the boss every time
something’s wrong. " ‘The boss gives him hell when he’s mad. But the stable buck don’t give a damn
about that,’ " says Candy, p.32. Crooks also isn’t allowed in the bunk houses because people say he stinks.
Crooks talks with Lennie in the book, "Crooks laughed again. ‘A guy can talk to you an’ be sure you won’t
go blabbin’." p.78. This most likely makes Crooks feel not wanted at all, Which roots to loneliness.

Lennie is not so much stereotyped, but rather trapped because of his size. Because Lennie is so big,
Curley thinks he has to prove something by beating up Lennie. Lennie gets on Curley’s bad side when he
didn’t do anything wrong. Lennie is then forced to fight. " ‘I don’t want no trouble,’ he said plaintively.
‘Don’t let him sock me, George.’ " p.32. This is not an everyday discrimination like racism. It’s one of
those circumstantial incidents that was described in quote in the introduction. This is an excellent example
of how John Steinbeck uses extraordinary circumstances to create appeal and realism to the reader.

Curley’s wife is probably the most loathed on the ranch. Because of the way she looks and acts, people
think she is easy, or a "tart". " ‘Jesus, what a tramp,’ he said. ‘So that’s what Curley picks for a wife.’ "
said George, p.35. She just wants someone to talk to. Guys on the ranch don’t like her because they think
she’ll get them in trouble. They make judgments without getting to know her first. Curley, her husband,
doesn’t trust her with the other ranch hands. She was just out of place on that ranch, And because of that,
must have been a real lonely person with lonely feelings.

George is stereotyped in a mild, but serious way. People think that because of the way he keeps Lennie
out of trouble and travels with him, George is taking his pay from him. " ‘Say—what you sellin’?’ ‘Huh?’
I said what stake you got in this guy? You takin’ his pay away from him?’ " said the Boss in the beginning
of the book, p.25. This is another unusual stereotype. Because it seems like nothing, the reader doesn’t get
it unless they think about it. It sounds like no big deal at first, but to be called a liar and a cheat is a very
heavy feeling to bear.

Stereotypes make up a lot of this novel. If someone took out the stereotypical statements, the
symbolism and "the dream", what they’d have left are page numbers.


8. The immoral nature of the human race

Of Mice and Men, was a disturbing tale of friendship, and animosity and immoral nature of the human race. Along the Salinas River and underneath the Gablian Mountains of California during the Great Depression of the 1930’s this novel takes place.

Steinbeck is truly a great writer, and Of Mice and Men is no exception, but while reading this book I was greatly troubled by its ending. I can see why it is an excellent novel, but at the same time it left me with a kind of unpleasant feeling in the back of my mind. I can’t see how an author could write a book with such a short and sudden ending. The last images he leaves the reader with is George and Slim walking off as Curly says " Now what in the hell is eating them?" thus the book ends on a harsh, cruel note, topped off by the lack of understanding and compassion of an extraordinarily immoral and cruel man. Whatever Steinbeck’s intent for writing such a jarring ending, he leaves the reader with a powerful sense of the world’s immorality.

In this book there were several characters, but only a few had significant roles. I would have to say Lennie is the protagonist of the book even though George is an extremely critical character as well. Lennie Small is described as being a monstrous man with the mind of a child, a shapeless face, big pale eyes, sloping shoulders, and big feet that dragged a bit when he walked, much like a bear. George has taken Lennie under his wing and thus Lennie depends solely on George for everything. Ever since Lennie hasbeen with George, he has told Lennie stories of a great place, with a cabin all to their selves, and rabbits for Lennie to care for. This leads me to his next obsession for feelingand caressing soft things such as fur, velvet, or human hair. This is eventually his downfall as when he kills Curley’s wife when he wants to feel her hair. Lennie is not an evil or devious man. He’s just a little senseless. Lennie’s good will and purity of intention is never in question during this book, but his memory operates poorly, and he is able to only remember such details as particular words and phrases as if only George tells him. Lennie is a good person it’s just his difficulty to think about his actions that eventually costs him his life.

George is the other main character in Of Mice and Men. He’s just an ordinary man, who is obligated to take care of Lennie, and does a fair job of it. His relationship with Lennie is admittedly a close one, but it is more fatherly than anything else and certainlyhas no time for the intellectual give and take that is needed to look after Lennie. Theauthor defines George’s features as restless, with strong small hands, thin arms, and abony nose. From reading this you can tell George has an incredible work ethic as he hasto put up with Lennie and still continuously find work for both of them. As you read thisbook you see that George is gradually starting to accept Lennie, but then that all ends when George is faced with the choice of letting Lennie be killed by Curley or just doingit himself.

Either way George is faced with a morally impossible task. As you know he ends up shooting Lennie himself in a tragic ending. Slim is not so much a main character, but is a critical piece to the book. He best described as the Prince of the ranch, a skilled workman, and a great friend to all in the bunkhouse. Curley is infuriated at the fact that everyone looks up to Slim instead of cowering at the power of himself. In times of Crisis Slim quietly and gracefully helps to solve whatever problem has arisen. This is why he was loved and endeared by all who knew him.

Curley is an arrogant stuck up man with a hatred for big men, such as Lennie. He could be classified as the villain of the book, as he is constantly making life miserable for Lennie and George. He is exactly like his father, who is the boss of the ranch, which makes clear the family pattern of bullies. Obviously Curley is insecure about himself since he is constantly looking to boss people around throughout the course of this novel.

Curley’s wife comes across as overly flirty with the workers of the ranch. This is in turn what probably gets her killed when she allows Lennie to feel her hair, which then she inaddvertainly gets her neck broken when Lennie gets nervous. She is not a main character, but much like Slim plays a vital role in the plot line.

Of Mice and Men starts out when George and his retarded friend Lennie get jobs working on a Californian ranch bucking barley. They soon fit in, and everyone pretty much accepts Lennie, except for the boss’s son Curley who hates him because of his disability and size. Other than that everything is fine until one day when Lennie is in the barn playing with the puppies Curley’s wife comes in and starts flirting with him. As the conversation between the two progresses, she allows Lennie to touch her long, soft hair.

As I said Lennie loves soft things, and when she tells Lennie to stop he refuses, and Curley’s wife starts to scream. This is when Lennie gets nervous and tries to make her be quiet. Not realizing his own strength he inadvertently breaks her neck, killing her instantly. Once he realizes what he’s done he runs to the secret spot by the river where George told him to go if he ever got into trouble. An old ranch hand by the name of Candy finds the body and tells George. When Curley finds the body of his wife he seems to be more set on killing Lennie than feeling any kind of remorse or sadness.

George knows where his friend is at and runs to find him knowing what must be done. Once he reaches the stream Lennie comes out of some bushes to great George. He seems to have no recollection of what he had just done. He asks George to tell him one more time about their dream farm, and the rabbits. George begins to tell it, and at the same time tells Lennie to turn around so he can invision it a little better. This is when George pulls out his gun and shoots Lennie in the back of the head, killing him. As the book ends Slimwalks up knowing what just happened, and it ends as the two of them walk down the road together while Curley says " Now what in the hell is eating them?"


9. Cruelty

While reading Of Mice and Men I picked up on some main ideas that the author brings across such as friendship and just how cruel people can be to one another. After reading this book I will have a little more compassion for someone that is weaker than me because everyone has some form of good quality inside them thus making everyone in some ways equal. An example of this is the kindness and patience Slim shows Lennie even though Slim has no obligation to. He sees the good qualities in Lennie and respects him for them.

This is what Steinbeck was trying to portray in the characters of this book. He also shows the flip side of this by his ending showing the reader what hatredcan do to a man, as with Curley so hell-bent on killing Lennie instead of grieving for his wife. Also throughout the course of this book it is no question that George goes through the most change. It is evident that he learns to care for Lennie by what he does at the conclusion of this book. He didn’t want to kill his friend, but he couldn’t have seen Curley kill him either. He will undoubtedly never forget what he had to do, and that is anaction that he will have to live with the rest of his life. The author is simply trying to bring across human nature in its simplest form, good and bad. He’s showing the reader just how compassionate or cruel people can be towards one another.

This was an interesting book with an intriguing plot, and disturbing ending. Personally the ending moved me, but at the same time I was angry for it to end so suddenly.Steinbeck is a great writer, and did a good job of showing the extremes of human nature. After reading this book it makes you think about how cruel someone can be to another of the same flesh and blood. All in all the ideas in Of Mice and Men will be with me for the rest of my life. If you want to read a book that will open your eyes and leave you stunned, Of Mice and Men is the book to read.


10. Migrant workers

This novel is set on the Californian Grain Farms in the 1930’s. The town is called Soledad and is four miles south of San Jose. The inspiration for the book probably came from a poem by Robert Burns. The poem was about the plans of mice and men going wrong. The book generally is about all of the migrant workers, all with their own dreams. The main characters George and Lennie go from farm to farm, trying to work up a stake and save enough to buy their own farm. The other characters in the book are also all lonely in their own way. Crooks is black and the blacks are seen as outcasts. Curley’s wife is a woman and therefore insignificant, perhaps this is why she has not been given a name. Candy has become old, and without his hand is next to useless.

George is a typical migrant worker. He’s not particularly strong, but he’s smart and good at his job. The difference between him and the rest of the workers is that he has someone to call a friend. Lennie is the opposite of George in every physical way. He’s much taller and better built, and consequently an amazing worker. Unfortunately for him and George he is not very intelligent. George enjoys going to brothels, getting drunk and generally wasting his money. Lennie adores animals and he likes to pet them. He forgets how strong he is and usually kills them. They both share the dream of one day owning their own farm. George wants freedom to work how he wants, and Lennie wants to tend the rabbits.

There is a very strong bond between the two. Lennie looks up to George and has a great amount of respect and admiration. Lennie could not survive without him. George feels sorry for Lennie but finds him almost impossible to deal with, because he always gets them into trouble. Although George would not admit it, he also needs Lennie. Lennie is the on who attracts the bosses, because of his capability. George is just an average worker, and only gets jobs because he controls Lennie. They both grew up in auburn. George knew Lennie’s aunt who was taking care of Lennie, and when she died, George took over.

Candy is an old man who has been at the ranch for some time. He can remember people who have come and gone previously. He doesn’t do much on the ranch, but he can do small odd jobs about the place. He has lost his hand in an accident, which makes him even less useful. The others do not hate him, he just gets left out because he is old. He has a companion, his dog, whose life parallels his. The dog was once a sheepdog, but has aged and now is only kept around because he is liked. The others all agree that the best thing for the dog is to shoot it. Candy fears the same, but when he hears of George and Lennie’s plan to have their own farm, he offers the a considerable amount of money if they will let him come with, so he will have a purpose once again.

Crooks is the stable buck. He is different from the rest because he is black, in a time where racial prejudice is strong. He has also been crippled, and so his life is very bad. He lives separately to the others in his own room, the harness room. He has books on his shelves, which shows that he is more intellectual than the others. He has fond memories of his past, when he and his white friends would play on their chicken ranch, and were oblivious as to why their parents didn’t like it. Now he knows why, and he hates the fact that he can’t come into the bunkhouse to play cards, but has to spend all his free time by himself. The white people exclude him, so instead of pleading with them he decides he is going to exclude them as well.

Curley’s wife is the wife of the boss son, Curley. She is lonely and different because she is a woman. Perhaps to signify the fact that she is insignificant, though not to this novel, she is called Curley’s wife, and not given a name. She is heavily made up with contrasting colours on her face. She has blond hair with a flick at the end. She wears a cotton housedress. All of the workers on the farm spread rumours about her, and all conversations about her are negative. They are frightened to talk to her because she can make up things about those that she dislikes, and tell Curley. Curley can tell the boss, and subsequently they will get the ‘can’. She was promised fine things in show business by an old lover, who promised to write. She never got letters, and blamed it on her family, and left home. On the rebound she met Curley and married him because he was there. She doesn’t like him, and says that ‘he ain’t nice’. She feels that all she is good for on the ranch is staying in Curley’s house. In order to liven things up for her, she is always looking for Curley, so she has an excuse to go in the barn and talk to the men. She isn’t really a tart, she just does things to get attention, which she doesn’t get from Curley.

Curley’s wife’s loneliness causes her to talk to Lennie, because only he will let her talk eventually. They have got a lot in common, not physically, but they are both lonely and excluded from the others. She does not know Lennie and that inevitably causes her death. Lennie accidentally hurts her by tugging her hair, and she screams. Since Lennie doesn’t want to get into trouble with George, and doesn’t know better he takes it into his own hands to stop her, and it even takes him a while to realise she is dead. Candy realises that their dream is never going to come true, and the truth comes back to George. He realises that he only believed it because he kept saying it to Lennie. George and Candy both know that this incident will mean that they will not see neither each other for much longer, nor Lennie.

All of the characters in the novel are lonely, and the only thing that separates them is that some know it and some don’t. Crooks is the main Person who knows it, and because of that he has moved himself further away. George and Lennie were different because they had each other to call a ‘friend’, or just companionship. Curley knows he is different and goes around trying to disprove that, like the incidents with Lennie. My opinion on this book is that it tells a story of what can happen when you try to break a link. All of the typical workers live, work and die. This book is a story about a similar group who are more than just machines, and start making plans, the optimism only makes their current situation seem more desperate and depressing.


11. The trials and tribulations of true friendship

Set in Soledad, California on a typical Western Ranch, we find George and Lennie. George and Lennie come right out of John Steinbeck's novel, Of mice and men. Of mice and men is a novel which shows the trials and tribulations of true friendship. This novel, with all of its twists and turns is a great piece of American Literature.

There are two main characters, George and Lennie. Lennie is a massive man with incredible strength but has a child's mind. George is a fairly sized man who is not incredibly brilliant but has good common sense. What one man lacks, the other makes up for. It is a perfect example of how opposites attract. They are a perfect match, and that is why they have a truly great friendship.

Although, no matter how much he tries, George cannot make up for the huge gap in Lennies mind. Lennie is so childish it is hard to believe, for example when he sees things he wants to grab and touch them. Throughout the book, the stress of Lennie's retardation begins to weigh down on George. Because of Lennie, they are nomads. Wherever they go, Lennie gets them in trouble. At there last location in a town named Weed, Lennie grabbed a woman's dress to feel it and soon startled the woman with his overwhelming strength. So, once again George had to rescue Lennie, and with that they had to move again. George knew he could leave Lennie and have a great life, but what was a friend for. He couldn't just abandon Lennie.

So on to the next ranch they went. This time it just gets worse. In one confrontation with the boss's wife, things go terribly wrong. Lennie knows he is not supposed to talk to her, but he was trapped. As Lennie tried to wiggle out of her grip, is when things turned from bad to worse. When Lennie was no where to be found, George knew where to find him. George knew that Curly's wife was bad news, but no one was going to understand Lennie like George was. What George did to Lennie is questionable, it is up to the reader to judge if George's actions were out of friendship or evil.

Do you know what it is to be a good friend to another human being? I think none of us can explain it in words. It is the things that we do, our actions, that display how we feel on the inside. John Steinbeck does an excellent job at showing the many aspects of true loyalty and friendship. By reading this book, I have heightened my awareness to people around me and the social aspect of my life. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to, or is willing to learn a little about themselves.


12. Curley's wife

Curley’s wife is the wife of the boss son, Curley. She is lonely and different because she is a woman. Perhaps to signify the fact that she is insignificant, though not to this novel, she is called Curley’s wife, and not given a name. She is heavily made up with contrasting colours on her face.

She has blond hair with a flick at the end. She wears a cotton housedress. All of the workers on the farm spread rumours about her, and all conversations about her are negative. They are frightened to talk to her because she can make up things about those that she dislikes, and tell Curley. Curley can tell the boss, and subsequently they will get the ‘can’. She was promised fine things in show business by an old lover, who promised to write.

She never got letters, and blamed it on her family, and left home. On the rebound she met Curley and married him because he was there. She doesn’t like him, and says that ‘he ain’t nice’. She feels that all she is good for on the ranch is staying in Curley’s house. In order to liven things up for her, she is always looking for Curley, so she has an excuse to go in the barn and talk to the men. She isn’t really a tart, she just does things to get attention, which she doesn’t get from Curley.

Curley’s wife’s loneliness causes her to talk to Lennie, because only he will let her talk eventually. They have got a lot in common, not physically, but they are both lonely and excluded from the others. She does not know Lennie and that inevitably causes her death. Lennie accidentally hurts her by tugging her hair, and she screams. Since Lennie doesn’t want to get into trouble with George, and doesn’t know better he takes it into his own hands to stop her, and it even takes him a while to realise she is dead. Candy realises that their dream is never going to come true, and the truth comes back to George. He realises that he only believed it because he kept saying it to Lennie. George and Candy both know that this incident will mean that they will not see neither each other for much longer, nor Lennie.


13. George and Lennie's dream

In John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men George and Lennie struggle to achieve their ultimate dream. They want to save up and have a farm of their own. Lennie is as little retarded and George is just a typical guy and they use their friendship to stay together. While spending time on the farm, Lennie starts to talk to Curley's wife. They both want to be with someone so they aren't lonesome. In Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck uses George and Lennie's relationship to confirm the central idea of loneliness in the novel.

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, and lived the early part of his life in California. It was here that Steinbeck developed a knowledge and love of the natural world and the different cultures that figure so prominently in his works. Steinbeck's family was middle-class. John Ernst was his father and he was a miller and County official. His mother, Olive Hamilton taught in schools at various locations in California. As a boy Steinbeck was more of a reader than a scholar; he was vivid reader and read a wide varity of literary pieces.

Steinbeck wrote for the student newspapers at Salinas and at Stanford University. His reading background was both varied and intense, but he couldn't adjust to the disciplines necessary for a college degree, and never graduated. He had gone to college at Stanford University for five years, but also worked on ranches, and had a variety of other jobs. In the process he met friends that would later be characters in his novels.

In one of Steinbeck's weaker books he put in a statement that which he believed was true while he was growing up: "Men seem to be born with a debt they can never pay no matter how hard they try" (Gray 50). Steinbeck tries to tell people that man owes something to man. "Many of his novels, plays, short stories show efforts to pay his debt back. Steinbeck shows a consistent effort to establish the dignity of human life" (Gray 50).

Steinbeck then went to New York and did some construction work. While there, he also got a job writing for a newspaper company. In New York he came across a naturalist named Edward Ricketts, and they developed a close friendship. Steinbeck met the love of his life, they soon got married and lived in the family cottage. Steinbeck started working on a historical novel and it was called the Cup of Gold. Only a few reviewers took the book seriously, and surprisingly the book sold a little more than fifteen hundred copies, despite the shrug from the reviewers. Bad luck continued for Steinbeck's literary career for a time. After several attempts to get another novel going, he completed Pastures of Heaven in 1932. Then the publishing company went bankrupt and when the novel finally did appear, it moved slowly.

"Steinbeck's work formulated and dramatized the attitude of many human experiences of young men and woman" (Gray 51). In his work he never forgot the crucial character of the confrontation between man and his destiny. Later he developed a passion for all sounds, scents, and taste for things. He was in a family setting that he enjoyed. His family wasn't rich or poor but it was a strong one and this lead him to be the writer that he had became.

Not until the appearance of Tortilla Flat in 1934 did Steinbeck's creative work pay cash. Then his work took a turn for the better and he started producing novels that were winning awards and prizes. A few of them were titled The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, and there were many others. Steinbeck spent most of his time living in New York and traveling. By this time he was an Internationally acclaimed author.

At this time Steinbeck's career as an author went very well and a lot of his books came out with excellent reviews. Then on December 20, 1968, Steinbeck died in Sag Harbor, N.Y. His ashes were later returned to California by his widow.


14. Loneliness

In the novel Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck used George and Lennie's relationship and the theme of hope to point out the loneliness in the novel. The novel starts off and is set in Soledad which means lonely. At the beginning they get a job working on a farm together. Lennie is a little retarded and has great physical strength that isn't too controllable. As they work from ranch to ranch, Lennie relies on George for guidance and help. Rather than them both wasting their earnings, they try to save it in the hope of buying a place of their own. While working at one ranch they meet a cow worker named Candy who tries to help them financially. Before this dream can happen, Lennie kills the wife of the boss's son. As the novel concludes George has to kill Lennie for his benefit. Later he goes into town and abandons his dream by spending his money.

The main cause of George and Lennie's lonesomeness and that of all the people at the ranch was a lack of a home. The only thing that kept the two men going was their friendship with each other and the hope to soon get a place of their own. In the novel George and Lennie mention what their dream place is going to be like: "Someday we're gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a little house, and a couple of acres and a cow and some pigs and ---" (Steinbeck 16). Throughout the book the reference to having a place of their own is stressed. It is a deeper dream for Lennie than George because he is always asking to talk about it. It is here where the friendship between both men is starting to develop as they share the same basic dream.

In the early stages of the book it is brought to the reader's attention that before George and Lennie met that they didn't really have anyone there for them. They didn't have any family members around to give them support. As farmers that gave them the chance to make a friendship: "Guys Like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world, they got no family" (Steinbeck 15). After they start talking then it's clear that they both don't want to be alone their whole life. Steinbeck points out that most of the people that work on the ranch don't have anything to look ahead to. George and Lennie want to have something to look forward to and that is why they hope that it won't happen to them: "With us it ain't like that, We got a future" (Steinbeck 15). This is where the hope of them accomplishing their dreams comes into play. Later Lennie goes on to tell that it won't happen to them because they have each other to look over each other. That is where it is showing their friendship covering up the true loneliness of the characters.

The novel suggests doubts of someone getting their dream many times. This is where the character Crooks joins in. He states that he has seen a hundred of men in his time and that everyone has a hunger of a piece of land in their head and none of them ever get it. He uses the metaphor to going to heaven that not everyone gets to go and that not everyone gets some land: "I seen guys nearly crazy with loneliness for land" (Steinbeck 89). Here it suggest that George and Lennie might not get a place, but they refuse to believe it. The last thing that they want is to be alone and that is why they hope nothing will happen: "I tell you a guy gets too lonely, then he gets sick" (Steinbeck 89). Lennie and George reassure that they won't be alone, and all of their dreams of having a place will come true.

George and Lennie have a few differences in the novel. However they join forces because they need a friendship and it would be easier to raise money for their dream: "The Hopelessness is suggested, however, in the opening chapter when George and Lennie's conversation starts it revels that they had to run away from their last job" (French 89). It is well known that they are afraid of what might happen if their plan doesn't come through for them: "George and Lennie are afraid of losing their jobs" (French 90). Basically this means that they are afraid of losing the dream of their life and that is the last thing they want to happen.

Another use of loneliness in the novel is when George and Lenny meet a man on the ranch named Candy. Candy doesn't really have a family, but he has a dog that he had his whole life. Carlson, a man on the ranch that didn't like it killed it. Candy gets depressed and out of loneliness, tries to join into George and Lennie's dream of having a place of their own: "‘S'pose I went in with you guys'" (Steinbeck 65). Old Candy who was afraid of being alone wanted to have some friends. He offered to give up everything he had so that he wouldn't end up alone.

"Of Mice and Men is the story of a man in a fallen world. They were set to the challenge to break the wandering and loneliness and return to the perfect world which was their dream" (Bloom 145). George and Lennie were committed to accomplishing the impossible in this case. To have land and not to be alone. "One of the themes of Of Mice and Men is that men fear loneliness, which they need someone to be with and to talk to who will offer understanding and companionship" (Bloom 146). All that they had was their little friendship, a dream and a lot of hope. In the reality of it all that wasn't enough to make it come true. Steinbeck's setting shows an act of a man's isolation and Soledad translated in English means loneliness. Steinbeck functions their friendship to point out the loneliness that is really there. "The influence of George and Lenny's mutual commitment, and of their dream has broken the grip of loneliness and solitude in which they exist" (Bloom 147). Even though they don't realize it there is a fear of being alone.

In all of the hopeless longing for a home George and Lennie are like other people on the ranch. In their friendship for each other they aren't like other people: "Steinbeck makes the use of their close relationship to point up the loneliness of the typical ranch hand. Finally at the end of the novel when George is forced to shoot Lennie, it is to emphasize the aloneness of the typical ranch hand" (Dusenbury 346). Both of the characters were afraid of being alone and they always hoped that their dream of having a place would come true.

There were excessive points where the proceeds of George and Lennie were complete out of loneliness. In the novel a home remains a dream, and their friendship covers up the loneliness that is there. The characters are isolated besides each other and they have never really had a companionship or other friends. In Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck used George and Lennie's relationship to point out the loneliness in the novel.


15. Lennie's Guilt in Of Mice and Men

Lennie Small, the strong but dull-witted farm hand, experienced a psychotic break-down near the end of Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. This episode was brought on by a tremendous feeling of guilt. While Lennie's head was full of the thoughts of the death of Curley's wife, his burden upon George, and his mental relationship with his aunt Clara and the giant rabbit, a somewhat confusing portrayal of Lennie's true guilt was shown.

Lennie feels guilty about the death of Curley's wife. He accidentally broke her neck while trying to calm her down. He was scared that George would get mad at him and not let him tend the rabbits. Lennie felt guilty because he knew he had done a "bad thing." Whether or not it was an accident, Lennie had killed Curley's wife. Lennie liked Curley's wife, though he was not permitted to associate with her. When he killed her, it was as if he was losing a companion, leaving Lennie with a sad feeling of loss. Lennie truly does feel guilty about her death, not only because it was a "bad thing," but because he had lost a friend.

A few times throughout the story, especially near the end, Lennie realizes how much of a burden he is on George. George had always taken care of Lennie. Even when times were rough, George always made sure that Lennie was alright. Although most of the bad events the had taken place were Lennie's fault, George protected Lennie from people and things that might have caused him harm. George tells Lennie that he could have a wonderful time without him. Lennie knows that this is true. George could do many activities that he cannot do without having to watch out for Lennie constantly. He could spend his money in cat houses and in pool parlors. Lennie feels guilty because he thinks that he is holding George back from money and women.

Lennie sees his aunt Clara and the giant rabbit during his psychotic episode. His aunt Clara took care of Lennie when he was young. Lennie's brain remembers her as an authority figure. For this reason, Lennie's brain chooses an image of her to place guilt upon him. In their dream, Lennie tended the rabbits. Lennie's interpretation of this great, fuzzy creature is an understandable object in which to relay his unaware guilt. The rabbit, being one of the most important symbols of Lennie's life, is used to show Lennie that his dream will not come true. This thought is a picture of his dream turning on him. The thought of rabbits normally makes Lennie happy, but the guilt he feels conquers him. The images of his aunt Clara and the rabbit are his way of coming to an understanding of the guilt in which he is not consciously aware.

Lennie's mental break-down was brought on by a heavy feeling of guilt lingering in his simple mind. His brain's simple thought process showed Lennie what he was thinking in the unconscious part of his mind, mainly guilt. This dream was triggered by the death of Curley's wife, along with the under-lying thought of George's life, Lennie's aunt Clara, and tending rabbits


16 Foreshadowing

John Steinbeck uses the technique of foreshadowing in the book Of Mice and Men. Many scenes in the book link well to others and when one reads scenes that are similar it makes the book a more interesting read.

In Steinbeck’s story Of Mice and Men, two shootings take place in the book. First, Candy’s dog is killed then at the end of the book Lennie is killed. These shooting have a lot in common. To start both the dog and Lennie were shoot by the same gun, a luger. Carlson owned the luger. The dog was shoot by Carlson and Lennie was shoot by George. Both, Lennie and the dog were shoot in the back of the head "where the spine and the skull were joined."(page 105) Steinbeck and Carlson used the same word to describe the pain, which the victims would endure. The word was quiver. Both of the victims friends reacted the same, they both seemed mesmerized and bemused about what had happened. The dog’s shooting set up a foreshadow for the killing of Lennie. When one reads the shooting of Lennie they think about how similar they were. But when they read it they also wonder why George shot Lennie.

George never really liked having Lennie around him because he could never do anything without being asked stupid questions by Lennie. George never ended up getting paid for his hard work on ranches because of Lennie. That could have been a reason for George shooting Lennie, it partly was, but when Candy said "I ought to of shoot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog."(page 62) Candy was referring to the scene when Carlson shoots his dog. George reacts about this and kills Lennie instead of having Curley do it. The foreshadowing in that is when Candy says that he should of shot his dog, and that sets up the fact that George shot Lennie. Why Lennie was shot added up and created a wonderful foreshadowing effect because of how each thing got bigger each time.

Lennie always liked to play with things and touch them. In the end touching things was what killed him. In the beginning of the book Lennie had a mouse that was dead in his hand, because Lennie had petted the mouse so hard it bit him. Lennie got scared and hit the mouse and killed it. Then later in the story George talked about how Lennie had killed the rabbit that his aunt gave him. Back when George and Lennie were back in Weed, Lennie got into trouble when he had started feeling a girl’s dress. The girl screamed and Lennie got so scared he did not let go. The girl accused Lennie of rape and the town’s men were looking to kill Lennie until George and Lennie could escape. Then in Chapter 2 Lennie did what he had done to the girl’s dress but to Curley's hand and when Curley screamed he just squeezed harder. Lennie next incident happened with a bigger life form, a dog. The killing was much like the killing of the mouse. Next was the last thing Lennie would kill. Steinbeck used foreshadowing in a way that each crushed item just got bigger each time. Lennie killed Curley’s wife when he was stroking her hair; the killing had many attributes of the other kills and problems. Lennie did not mean to do anything he was just a dumb person. Steinbeck made a great book that is filled with connections and usage of techniques like foreshadowing.

People say that Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men had to do with government but it had to do with companionship and tragedy. Steinbeck uses great techniques to make many parts of the book more exciting. The foreshadowing effects in the book changed the book all around. When one reads the book and compares scenes he finds out that each scene has much in common with the other.


17. Friends

In terms of emotional stability, there is only one thing in life that is really needed and that is friends. Without friends, people would suffer from loneliness and solitude. Loneliness leads to low self-esteem and deprivation. In the novel, Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, the characters, Crooks, Candy, and Curly’s wife all exhibit some form of loneliness. They are driven towards the curiosity of George and Lennie’s friendship because they do not have that support in their life. Through his novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck demonstrates that often times, a victim of isolation will have a never-ending search to fulfill a friendship.

"A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an he gets sick" (Steinbeck, 13)

Crooks is a black man that experiences isolation because the society in which he resides is racist. As a result, the previous quote was his means of finding a personal connection to Lennie. Like Lennie, Crooks has a ‘relationship’ with loneliness. He knows that when people get lonely, they tend to get sick. Studies show that people who suffer from loneliness have higher incidence of health problems. This can be determined based on his emotional behavior. "A 1998 study showed that 50 percent of patients with heart disease who reported feeling very isolated were not married and had no one in whole they could communicate with, died within five years." (ub-counseling.buffalo.edu) At the rate Crooks is headed, he will probably die in a short period of time. Gerontology stated "seniors, who attend church at least weekly, live longer than those who don’t." By attending church, the attendees maintain a relationship with god and have the ability to relieve themselves of loneliness. They can deal with their severe problem of loneliness through attending church or other social events and in turn, live longer. Crooks is rejected from every group of people and cannot socially interact with others.

"Loneliness can result from rejection…" (Couns.uiuc.edu/loneline.htm) Although discrimination is still present during the time period of the book (early 20th century), Crooks still attempts to make friends. Others treat Crooks unjust because he is different from others given that he is black. He does not know how to treat others because of the way others treat him; with disrespect. Furthermore, he does not know how to vent his frustration and as a result, lashes out at others because they are cruel to him. Crooks is not allowed to participate in daily events with white people. He is treated unfairly and therefore acts the same way toward the white people (the ones who offended him.)

"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 stink to me!" (Steinbeck, 75)

Nobody likes to be forced to live in a barn, let alone to work only with the horses. Crooks spent most of his nights reading and he keeps away from others because of the way he is treated and this eventually leads to his very own emotional downfall. He is treated as an outcast and is forced to find friendship the only way he can, through the books that he reads. The Counseling Center of the University of Buffalo said that: "When you are alone, use the time to enjoy yourself. For example, listen to music or watch a favorite television show. Do not spend the time eating endlessly or worrying about your problems." (Karlene Robinson, www.ub-counseling.buffalo.edu) Obviously Crooks is aware of his problem and tries to cope with it through books and magazines.

Crooks is fascinated by the strength of the friendship of Lennie and George, especially how close they are. Crooks said, "Well, s’pose, jus’ s’pose he don’t come back. What’ll you do then?" (Steinbeck, 79) Crooks asks these questions because he does not have any friends. He was curious about the friendship of Lennie and George. He wants the people to feel the way that he did when he was lonely, having nobody with them. He is striving to achieve sympathy and understanding from others. Crooks would work for nothing if it meant communicating with others. Crooks offers his services to clear out his problems of loneliness.

"…If you…guys would want a hand to work for nothing – just his keep, why I’d come an’ lend a hand. I ain’t so cippled I can’t work like a son-of-a-bitch if I want to." (Steinbeck, 84) This quote supports that he is attracted to the friendship of Lennie and George. It also proves that all Crooks wants to do was talk to people, and he will do anything for it, even work like a "son-of-a-bitch."

Candy, an old, physically disabled swamper, has worked on the ranch practically his whole life. When Candy was on the ranch, he got into an accident that cost him a physical handicap. Farm machinery took away his hand, leaving him money and loneliness. The Counseling Center of the University of Buffalo said that loneliness means to also feel: "excluded from a group or a result of a tragedy". As a result of Candy’s age and disability he has a feeling of uselessness. Since Candy feels that he is old, he places himself in a state of mind that handicaps him more than his missing hand ever will. He looks down on himself as an old worthless man wasting away his last few years. He is often afraid of losing his work, not to mention is whole life.

"I got hurt four years ago. They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunk houses they’ll put me on the county." (Steinbeck, 66)

Candy is so down that he puts himself into a state of solitude. He is often allowed to go out with the other guys, but he always refuses due to his negative aspect towards himself. Candy thinks that nobody wants to be friends with him because of his disability. Eventually, he tries to find a friendship by attempting to join the dream of George and Lennie, to own and run their own little ranch. This is one of Candy’s desperate attempts to find a place in society and meaning in life. Candy offered his services to become a part of George and Lennie’s friendship and dream.

"I’ll wash dishes an’ little chick stuff like that. But I’ll be on your own place, an’ I’ll be let to work on our own place." (Steinbeck, 66)

Candy was attempting to overcome his loneliness and regain a positive outlook by seeking out situations that enable him to get involved with other ranchers. It is quite possible that he was sad and lonely because he was in search of the right person to be friends with. After Candy lost his dog, he felt much more lonely than he was before. The dog was something that Candy had owned and confided with within his years. He felt worthless because now he didn’t own a single important thing. Candy and his dog had the same relationship that George and Lennie had shared for so many years. While Lennie had George and the ranchers had each other, Candy did not have anybody and this put him in a condition of sorrow and depression. Every character in the book is different and no protagonists act alike.

Nobody in the book shared the same interests and/or dreams as Candy did. This is why he tried so hard to gain the attention and friendship of Lennie and George. He offers everything that he had to support the friendship including money, but money will never buy genuine friendship. "Maybe if I give you money, you’ll let me how in the garden even after I ain’t no good at it." (Steinbeck, 66) All of these characters are alike because, not only were they affected by loneliness, they were always in search for ways to solve these dilemmas. Another character who possesses the same inner conflict of loneliness is Curley’s wife.

Curley’s wife is a tease to everybody on the ranch. She will dress and act sort of like a "whore". She makes use of her stunning body to gain the attention of the ranchers to sooth her loneliness. These acts give her a sense of relief and made her feel wanted so she can share her personal concerns and experiences. Because of her reputation for being a flirt, none of the farmhands wants to talk to her, but no matter how hard she tries, she can never fit in.

Curley’s, insecure feelings towards his wife, forces her into flirting with the other ranchers. Curley’s wife also dressed rather "slutty" and fairly bare. One sign of loneliness is when "You become overly critical of your physical appearance." (www.ub-counseling.buffalo.edu) Many people do not want to talk to her because of her reputation for being a flirt and bothering others.

"Maybe you better go along to you own house now. We don’t want no trouble." (Steinbeck, 85)

Curley’s wife notices how simple-minded Lennie is and takes advantage of that situation. She knows that he would be the only one where she could discuss her problems that she deals with everyday. Loneliness is caused when "you feel there’s no one in your life with whom you can share your feelings and experiences." (Www.cound.uiuc.edu/loneline.htm) One problem that Curley’s wife was unaware of, was Lennie’s curiosity and interest in soft objects. When Curley’s wife was done explaining her problems to somebody that could care less about them, she asked him to stroke her hair. But when she began to yell at Lennie, he just pulled her hair tighter. This leads to the death of Curly’s wife and now she will not have to worry about being lonely ever again. This could be thought of as a misfortune, but as a positive aspect as well because it ended her suffering. Curly’s wife’s case of loneliness was the most severe throughout the novel. She struggled in her society to find somebody that she could consult with. She tried and would do anything imaginable to dispatch her one psychological disorder, loneliness.

Loneliness is an inevitable fact of life that not even the strongest can avoid. Throughout the story, Of Mice and Men, the reader discovers the many sources of solitude, primarily being discrimination and prejudice. Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife all suffer the previous injustices resulting in loneliness and isolation. They learn to cope with their loneliness through their interest in Lennie and George’s friendship. In some ways they are even envious of the bond. Often times, a victim of isolation will have a never-ending strive to fulfill a friendship.


18. Loyalty

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is a story which shows how weak the human trait of loyalty can be if put through the test of time. It shows how people can turn on their family, best friend, and even their life-long companions if they are presented with the opportunity for advancement in life. This novel shows the reader the true animalistic nature of all humans through the use of highly developed characters as well a thoroughly developed story line.

George is not a strong man physically, but what he is lacking physically he makes up for in his mentality. Although his abundance of mental strength does not become apparent until later in the story, it is fairly obvious from the beginning that his physical strength is lacking. Lennie, on the other hand, is physically "strong as a bull"(22), according to George, but mentally is a weak as George is physically. Together, as they travel from place to place looking for their chance at making their dream a reality, they use each other's strong points to help them complete the task. Without one another the two characters would have absolutely no chance at success, for what one is lacking the other has an ample amount of. George and Lennie are the perfect example of how opposites attract.

The two of them have spent the majority of their adult lives together and know each other better than they know anybody else in the entire world. They share their hard times and the good, their victories and their defeats, but most importantly they share a common dream. That dream is of having "a little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs an' live off the fatta the lan'"(14), where Lennie can take care of the rabbits just as George has been taking care of him over the years. This is Lennie's chance to pay George back for all of the kindness that he has had bestowed upon him out of his true love and loyalty towards George.

When they arrive at the ranch where they will be working the first person that they meet is an older gentleman named Candy. Candy has lived a long and hard life on the ranch and has nothing to show for it. During his time on the ranch he has lost his hand, grown old, and feels that he has become worthless. The name "Candy" is an interesting one for this character though. When you think of candy you see children eating it while running around in the yard having a good time without a care in the world. This is the exact opposite of what the character in the novel is. The restless demon of age has caught up with him and he is not able to move as fast as he once did; even his dog is unable to ward off the negative effects of time.

Candy loves his dog with all of his heart; it has been his best friend for years and according to Candy he has "Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him." (44) Even though he cannot run as fast as in his prime or herd sheep like he did when he was younger Candy loves him just the same. He appreciates all of the joy and loyalty that his once great dog has brought to him during his life and is ready to let his friend now live out the rest of his natural life. Unfortunately that is not the way that some of the other people in the room see it. Carlson feels "This ol' dog jus' suffers hisself all the time. If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head... right there, why he'd never know what hit him"(45). Carlson even offers to give him a new dog to replace the one that he is about to destroy. The way that Candy sees it is that he is not hurting anyone and that there is no reason to have to end his life prematurely.

Even though Candy loves his dog more than anything else in the world he chooses to let someone shoot his dog in the back of the head. After all that they had been through and all the years of loyal service that his supposed best friend had performed for Candy, when pressured into a decision, he chose to defy his loyal companion and make the decision on when he should die. This leads one to wonder why he made the decision that he did. What drove Candy to defy the trust his loyal companion of years? Candy knew that his pet had limited time left in his life, and after he passed, who would Candy have to call a friend? He let Carlson kill his dog in hopes that the other workers would then give him the friendship and loyalty that his dog had provided him for years. If this happened, Candy would not have to spend the rest of his life alone and desolate in his old age; he would then have friends and people who he could talk to. He had been lacking this for years and wanted to obtain it desperately, even if it meant betraying his oldest friend.

George and Lennie have the same relationship that Candy and his dog have shared for so many years. They are as close to each other's hearts as any two people can be in life. George has given up his chance at a somewhat normal life to help Lennie live as full of a life as he is mentally capable of doing. As the story progresses you see that George starts to resent the fact that he is being held back by Lennie: "...crazy son-of-a-bitch. You keep me in hot water all the time"(11). After George said this "His anger left him suddenly."

When George blows up on Lennie he then remembers that although he does a lot of Lennie, Lennie does a lot for him. Without each other both would be lost in life and have nobody else to turn too. This all changes once the two characters get their jobs on the ranch together. George fits in very well with all of the other workers on the ranch and sees that for the first time in his life, he has a chance to live a typical life. He becomes almost infatuated with the idea of being able to have friends and not have to travel all over the place running from the trouble that Lennie has got them into. As time goes by on the ranch where the two characters are working, George starts to become a little slack on looking out for Lennie.

He knows that Lennie cannot take care of himself and that it is hard for him to stay out of trouble, but he still leaves him alone more than he has before. It seems that George's priorities have been switched around and that he is more concerned with having a good time with the guys than he is about making sure that his life-long companion is safe and not getting himself into trouble on the ranch. This is shown rather clearly when George goes into town and leaves Lennie behind to do as he pleases. He is not worried about what kind of trouble Lennie may get in to; all he is thinking about is having the chance to go out with the guys and have a good time. This is something that he could not have done in the past because he had to worry about Lennie and make sure that he was not going to get into any trouble that would endanger himself or George. For some reason he does not seem to worry about this when he makes the decision to leave. Is it because he is happy that Lennie is not going to be around him this time and that he can go and do as he pleases without having to have Lennie tag along and put George in an awkward position with the rest of his fellow workers? It seems that this is exactly what he is thinking when he totally disregards the idea that Lennie could make a mistake which would lead to dire consequences.

Later in the story George once again puts his new found friends in front of the obligation to take care of his best friend in the entire world. While George is outside playing horseshoes with all of his coworkers from the ranch he lets Lennie wander around and do as he wishes, which he knows can lead to trouble. While outside having fun with the others he never even seems to worry about where his traveling partner is or what he is doing. George is preoccupied with his other life, the one spent away from Lennie and his responsibilities.

When George finds out that his neglecting to supervise Lennie has led to a tragedy he never once blames himself. If he would have been watching Lennie and taking care of him as he promised to do, none of this would have happened and nobody would be dead. Now, due to George's lack of loyalty to Lennie and his promise to take care of him, Lennie is doomed to suffer the consequences of an action that could have been prevented had he not been left alone.

George knows that the workers from the ranch will kill Lennie when they find him and gives only a half-hearted effort to try to persuade them from pursuing this act of destruction and murder. As the story closes, George, in a somewhat noble act of kindness, makes the effort to find Lennie before any of the workers from the ranch can. He has a choice to make after he finds Lennie: he can run away and hide as he has done in the past, therefore insuring the safety of his onetime closest companion, or he can take Lennie's life himself. Due to his lack of loyalty to Lennie and his selfishness he chooses to take Lennie's life. It is significant to the story how George decides to kill his friend. He does not even give Lennie a chance to get away from his pursuers but instead he shoots him in the back of the head just like what had been done to Candy's dog.

After all of the loyalty and love that both of these creatures had given to their respective "friends", both of the superior creatures decide that they don't need them any more and choose to end the dominated creatures lives in a less than honorable manner. When given the chance to gain something that he wanted, George chose to alienate and kill his most loyal friend in the world in the same manner that dogs and other less than human creatures are disposed of when they are no longer needed. This display of George's animalistic nature when presented the chance for advancement in life shows that loyalty, when put to the test, is never as strong as the person's desire to achieve his own dreams.

Although Steinbeck is not trying to say that you can never trust the people that you call your friends, he is saying to be careful of those who call you a friend but only think of themselves while saying it. Even after spending the majority of his life calling Lennie a friend, George still betrayed him for the chance to become who he wanted to be. The animalistic nature of people tends to come out when they have the chance to seize what they believe is rightfully ours. So don't trust everyone who can trust you because everyone has got an agenda in life that shows us where they want to be. If you stand in the way of obtaining their goal they may be likely to step over you to get to it. As George has showed us, the human trait of loyalty can become very weak if put through the test of time, so avoid trying to test it so that you may not end up as Lennie did, being treated no better than an old man's dog.


19. Friends

In terms of emotional stability, there is only one thing in life that is really needed and that is friends. Without friends, people would suffer from loneliness and solitude. Loneliness leads to low self-esteem and deprivation. In the novel, Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, the characters, Crooks, Candy, and Curly’s wife all exhibit some form of loneliness. They are driven towards the curiosity of George and Lennie’s friendship because they do not have that support in their life. Through his novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck demonstrates that often times, a victim of isolation will have a never-ending search to fulfill a friendship.

"A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an he gets sick" (Steinbeck, 13)

Crooks is a black man that experiences isolation because the society in which he resides is racist. As a result, the previous quote was his means of finding a personal connection to Lennie. Like Lennie, Crooks has a ‘relationship’ with loneliness. He knows that when people get lonely, they tend to get sick. Studies show that people who suffer from loneliness have higher incidence of health problems. This can be determined based on his emotional behavior. "A 1998 study showed that 50 percent of patients with heart disease who reported feeling very isolated were not married and had no one in whole they could communicate with, died within five years." (ub-counseling.buffalo.edu) At the rate Crooks is headed, he will probably die in a short period of time. Gerontology stated "seniors, who attend church at least weekly, live longer than those who don’t." By attending church, the attendees maintain a relationship with god and have the ability to relieve themselves of loneliness. They can deal with their severe problem of loneliness through attending church or other social events and in turn, live longer. Crooks is rejected from every group of people and cannot socially interact with others.

"Loneliness can result from rejection…" (Couns.uiuc.edu/loneline.htm) Although discrimination is still present during the time period of the book (early 20th century), Crooks still attempts to make friends. Others treat Crooks unjust because he is different from others given that he is black. He does not know how to treat others because of the way others treat him; with disrespect. Furthermore, he does not know how to vent his frustration and as a result, lashes out at others because they are cruel to him. Crooks is not allowed to participate in daily events with white people. He is treated unfairly and therefore acts the same way toward the white people (the ones who offended him.)

"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 stink to me!" (Steinbeck, 75)

Nobody likes to be forced to live in a barn, let alone to work only with the horses. Crooks spent most of his nights reading and he keeps away from others because of the way he is treated and this eventually leads to his very own emotional downfall. He is treated as an outcast and is forced to find friendship the only way he can, through the books that he reads. The Counseling Center of the University of Buffalo said that: "When you are alone, use the time to enjoy yourself. For example, listen to music or watch a favorite television show. Do not spend the time eating endlessly or worrying about your problems." (Karlene Robinson, www.ub-counseling.buffalo.edu) Obviously Crooks is aware of his problem and tries to cope with it through books and magazines.

Crooks is fascinated by the strength of the friendship of Lennie and George, especially how close they are. Crooks said, "Well, s’pose, jus’ s’pose he don’t come back. What’ll you do then?" (Steinbeck, 79) Crooks asks these questions because he does not have any friends. He was curious about the friendship of Lennie and George. He wants the people to feel the way that he did when he was lonely, having nobody with them. He is striving to achieve sympathy and understanding from others. Crooks would work for nothing if it meant communicating with others. Crooks offers his services to clear out his problems of loneliness.

"…If you…guys would want a hand to work for nothing – just his keep, why I’d come an’ lend a hand. I ain’t so cippled I can’t work like a son-of-a-bitch if I want to." (Steinbeck, 84) This quote supports that he is attracted to the friendship of Lennie and George. It also proves that all Crooks wants to do was talk to people, and he will do anything for it, even work like a "son-of-a-bitch."

Candy, an old, physically disabled swamper, has worked on the ranch practically his whole life. When Candy was on the ranch, he got into an accident that cost him a physical handicap. Farm machinery took away his hand, leaving him money and loneliness. The Counseling Center of the University of Buffalo said that loneliness means to also feel: "excluded from a group or a result of a tragedy". As a result of Candy’s age and disability he has a feeling of uselessness. Since Candy feels that he is old, he places himself in a state of mind that handicaps him more than his missing hand ever will. He looks down on himself as an old worthless man wasting away his last few years. He is often afraid of losing his work, not to mention is whole life.

"I got hurt four years ago. They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunk houses they’ll put me on the county." (Steinbeck, 66)

Candy is so down that he puts himself into a state of solitude. He is often allowed to go out with the other guys, but he always refuses due to his negative aspect towards himself. Candy thinks that nobody wants to be friends with him because of his disability. Eventually, he tries to find a friendship by attempting to join the dream of George and Lennie, to own and run their own little ranch. This is one of Candy’s desperate attempts to find a place in society and meaning in life. Candy offered his services to become a part of George and Lennie’s friendship and dream.

"I’ll wash dishes an’ little chick stuff like that. But I’ll be on your own place, an’ I’ll be let to work on our own place." (Steinbeck, 66)

Candy was attempting to overcome his loneliness and regain a positive outlook by seeking out situations that enable him to get involved with other ranchers. It is quite possible that he was sad and lonely because he was in search of the right person to be friends with. After Candy lost his dog, he felt much more lonely than he was before. The dog was something that Candy had owned and confided with within his years. He felt worthless because now he didn’t own a single important thing. Candy and his dog had the same relationship that George and Lennie had shared for so many years. While Lennie had George and the ranchers had each other, Candy did not have anybody and this put him in a condition of sorrow and depression. Every character in the book is different and no protagonists act alike.

Nobody in the book shared the same interests and/or dreams as Candy did. This is why he tried so hard to gain the attention and friendship of Lennie and George. He offers everything that he had to support the friendship including money, but money will never buy genuine friendship. "Maybe if I give you money, you’ll let me how in the garden even after I ain’t no good at it." (Steinbeck, 66) All of these characters are alike because, not only were they affected by loneliness, they were always in search for ways to solve these dilemmas. Another character who possesses the same inner conflict of loneliness is Curley’s wife.

Curley’s wife is a tease to everybody on the ranch. She will dress and act sort of like a "whore". She makes use of her stunning body to gain the attention of the ranchers to sooth her loneliness. These acts give her a sense of relief and made her feel wanted so she can share her personal concerns and experiences. Because of her reputation for being a flirt, none of the farmhands wants to talk to her, but no matter how hard she tries, she can never fit in.

Curley’s, insecure feelings towards his wife, forces her into flirting with the other ranchers. Curley’s wife also dressed rather "slutty" and fairly bare. One sign of loneliness is when "You become overly critical of your physical appearance." (www.ub-counseling.buffalo.edu) Many people do not want to talk to her because of her reputation for being a flirt and bothering others.

"Maybe you better go along to you own house now. We don’t want no trouble." (Steinbeck, 85)

Curley’s wife notices how simple-minded Lennie is and takes advantage of that situation. She knows that he would be the only one where she could discuss her problems that she deals with everyday. Loneliness is caused when "you feel there’s no one in your life with whom you can share your feelings and experiences." (Www.cound.uiuc.edu/loneline.htm) One problem that Curley’s wife was unaware of, was Lennie’s curiosity and interest in soft objects. When Curley’s wife was done explaining her problems to somebody that could care less about them, she asked him to stroke her hair. But when she began to yell at Lennie, he just pulled her hair tighter. This leads to the death of Curly’s wife and now she will not have to worry about being lonely ever again. This could be thought of as a misfortune, but as a positive aspect as well because it ended her suffering. Curly’s wife’s case of loneliness was the most severe throughout the novel. She struggled in her society to find somebody that she could consult with. She tried and would do anything imaginable to dispatch her one psychological disorder, loneliness.

Loneliness is an inevitable fact of life that not even the strongest can avoid. Throughout the story, Of Mice and Men, the reader discovers the many sources of solitude, primarily being discrimination and prejudice. Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife all suffer the previous injustices resulting in loneliness and isolation. They learn to cope with their loneliness through their interest in Lennie and George’s friendship. In some ways they are even envious of the bond. Often times, a victim of isolation will have a never-ending strive to fulfill a friendship.


The Grapes of Wrath


1. Structure

Authors often use many styles and techniques in their novels. They use certain methods in order to make their stories seem more real. John Steinbeck uses many literary techniques in The Grapes of Wrath to help the reader better understand the story. The interchapters in The Grapes of Wrath often foreshadow the regular chapters. They are more of a general picture as to what went on during that time period in America. The regular chapters are meant to represent a specific family, the Joads, and document their journey to California and usually the interchapters have something to do with the story line of the Joads’ adventures. The interchapters became predictable as the story progressed, and after awhile the two different types of chapters gave the story a rhythmical pattern.

John Steinbeck uses a certain dialect throughout the whole story which makes the reader see how people talked during that time period. This also aids the reader in feeling like they are part of the story, and it helps him to understand the way things were back then. Many slang words and phrases typical of the early 1900s are used to make the conversations true to life. For instance, in the first chapter at the roadside diner, the conversation between the customer and the waitress right away tell the reader the kind of dialect that will be used during the story.

Steinbeck has a very distinctive style of writing. He uses many descriptive phrases and words to help give the reader a clear picture as to what is happening in the story. His use of alliteration and repetition makes the sentences and paragraphs easier to follow because of the rhythm and flow that is added to them. Steinbeck uses symbolism in order to show the importance of some ideals and main themes of the novel. For example, the turtle that was walking across the road represents the long, treacherous journeys that many families took to get to California. The dust that settled over the crops symbolizes the harshness that fell over the many farms, therefore forcing the people off of the land. Rose of Sharon’s stillborn baby shows the reader that long, painful journeys, filled with many problems along the way, sometimes amount to nothing in the end. In order to understand the story and its many hidden meanings, the reader must pick up on Steinbeck’s style of writing. These writing techniques of Steinbeck aid the reader in his analysis of The Grapes of Wrath.


2. Biblical allusions in The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck carefully molded his story The Grapes of Wrath to encompass many themes and ideas. He included several Biblical allusions to enforce his message of the migrating families coming together to form a community. Steinbeck alludes to Biblical characters through Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon, events like the family’s journey to California and the flood at the end of the novel, and teachings throughout the novel.

The Biblical allusions represented by the characters in the novel are most obvious in the characters of Jim Casy and Rose of Sharon. However, the Joad family is made up of twelve including Connie, much like the twelve disciples that followed Jesus. Connie represents the traitor, the Judas figure who had betrayed Jesus the night of his arrest when he walks out on his family for selfish reasons. Jim Casy is an allusion to Jesus Christ. They have the same initials and live their lives as examples of their beliefs; Jesus to the world and Casy to Tom. Casy even compares himself to Christ when he says, “I got tired like Him, an’ I got mixed up like Him, an’ I went into the wilderness like Him, without no campin’ stuff” (105). In the first half of the book Casy is thinking and forming his ideas.

He changes from a thinker to a man of action when he sacrifices himself for Tom. When in prison Casy sees the advantage of organizing people to achieve a common goal. When Casy tried to put his ideas into action he, like Christ, aroused the antagonism of the people in authority and was brutally killed. He died, like Christ saying to his crucifiers, “You don’ know what you’re a-doin’” (495). Rose of Sharon represents a Biblical allusion towards the end of the novel. After she gives birth to her stillborn child, she gives life to a starving man by breast-feeding him. Her sacrifice suggests the notion of rebirth through Christ’s physical body which is symbolized in the ritual of communion. When she tells the man to drink her milk she alludes to the Last Supper when Christ tells his disciples “Take, drink; this is my blood.” Rose of Sharon realizes this man will die without her, in the same way Christ said that without Him people will die spiritually. Rose of Sharon exemplifies the idea of helping others in need through her actions in the conclusion of the novel. Steinbeck also alludes to events in the Bible through situations among the Joad family. Their journey to California is much like the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to Caanan.

The novel is broken up into three sections. The first part is the Joad’s eviction from their farms under the control of the banks and companies which parallels the Israelites’ slavery to the Egyptians. Both groups struggled under the control of overwhelming forces and left in hopes of a better life. The second part is the Joad’s journey from Oklahoma across the Panhandle in search of the promised California which parallels the Israelites wandering in the desert in search of the Promised Land. Both groups experienced many troubles, but were forced to rely on each other to survive. The third part is the Joad’s arrival to California which parallels the Israelites arrival to Caanan. The journey for the Israelites lasted so many years that only the younger generation made it to the Promised Land. In the same way Granma and Grampa died before they reached the promised California. The flood at the end of the novel is another example of a Biblical allusion used by Steinbeck.

This situation parallels to the Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark. In both events, heavy rains cause a flood that results in the families leaving their homes. In the novel, the Joads and the Wainwrights gather their belongings onto a platform and wait out the flood, much like Noah and his family gather on the ark for forty days until the rain stops. These situations show again the importance of unity and helping one another to make it through troubles. Last Steinbeck alludes to Christ’s teachings in the Bible to reveal his theme of coming together in the face of weakness to grow and become strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 states, “9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” This Biblical teaching comes through several times as the Joad family faces struggles and weaknesses, but because they stick together they are made stronger. Steinbeck’s many allusions to the Bible reflect his personal views about religion and allow him to reinforce his theme of migrant families coming together to form a community to work together.

 


3.The Joads' journey

Through out history man has made many journeys, far and wide. Moses's great march through the Red Sea and Columbus's transversing the Atlantic are only, but a few of mans great voyages. Even today, great journeys are being made. Terry Fox's run across Canada while having cancer is one of these such journeys. In every one of these instances people have had to rise above themselves and over come emence odds, similar to a salmon swimming up stream to fullfill it's life line. Intense drive and extreme fortitude are qualities they had to possess during their travels. In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck shows the Joads endurance by his use of extended metaphors in intercalary chapters. Steinbeck uses intercalary chapters to provide background for the various themes in the novel.

This effectively forshadows upcoming events by telling of the general state of the local population in the intercalary chapters and then narrowing it down to how it effects the main characters of the novel, the Joads. Setting the tone of the novel in the readers mind is another function of Steinbeck's intercalary chapters. In chapter three, Steinbeck emaculatly describes the long tedious journey of a land turtle across a desolate highway.

From the onset of his journey, the turtle encounters many set backs. All along the way he is hindered by ants, hills, and oak seeds under his shell. The turtles determination to reach his destination is most apparent when a truck driven by a young man swerves to hit the turtle. The turtle's shell was clipped and he went flying off the highway, but stop the turtle did not. He struggled back to his belly and kept driving toward his goal, just as the Joads kept driving toward their goal. Much like the turtle from chapter three, the Joads had to face many great hardships in their travels. The planes of Oklahoma, with their harsh summer weather, was the Joads desolate highway.

The truck driver represented the Californians, whom Buried food and killed live stock to keep the Joads and others like them away from their dream. And sickness was their ants and hills. But even through all of this the Joads persevered. They were driven by great motivating powers - poverty and hunger. Just as the turtle searched for food, the Joads were searching for paradise, "the garden of Eden." The Joad's journey is second to none in terms of adversity and length. The Joads incredible ability to over come all odds and keep going is epitomized in intercalary chapter three. Steinbeck uses his rendition of facts, the "turtle" chapter, to parallel the Joads struggle to reach the promise land. Just as the turtle endured, so did the Joads. Never digressing from their strait and narrow path to California.


4. The significance in the title of the Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath, justifies its title within the tale. This novel is the description of a migrant farming family during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression of the 1930’s. It is the all too typical event of a farm repossession ultimately leading to the need for the family to leave.

The Joad’s, our main characters, are the people through which the story is conveyed. They have been fed false hopes toward the "Promised Land" of California, convincing them to make the journey even further west than their Oklahoma home. The Grapes of Wrath is the description of this pilgrimage and the snags they face along the way.

The Joad’s become extremely impoverished, and destitute, and the only hope for survival is the hold they have to each other. The book also includes many alternating intercalary chapters, to make the hardships seem more generic.

These chapters generally describe life for migrant farmers and midwesterners of this time period. The title, The Grapes of Wrath holds high significance in the actual telling of the story. It is representative of the ideals that these people held and the ultimate realization of their prevarication. Grapes, in this novel are very metaphorical. When the Joad family originally decides to make the long journey to California, Grampa sets a significant scene. "…Know what I’m a-gonna do? I’m gonna pick me a wash tub full of grapes, an’ I’m gonna set in ‘em, and scrooge aroun’, an’ let the juice run down my pants" (119). He Hickert 2 describes what he will do when he gets there, which involves grapes. His description of this act is jovial and demonstrates the "Promised Land" aspect of California. This is when the family is full of hope, and grapes are the symbol for their new and better life.

Grapes, being a fruit, which is traditionally stately, represents rebirth and renewal. It also shows a higher social standing by making the implication that they will be able to enjoy such simple pleasures and most likely drink of the expensive wines of the California vineyards. At this point in the story, the grape is solely representative of all that is good, new and pure in their journey, and the hope that lies ahead. Before their dreams are lost, this is their stronghold and what keeps them pressing on in their trip. Because of the destitute trip involved in getting to California, the "Wrath" aspect of the title is also accurate.

This, however is different from the grapes. Wrath represents the actuality of the journey, not the dream, as the grapes do. Wrath, definitively means "Violent, resentful anger; rage; fury" (American Heritage 1477). This definition relates to the struggle in the story well. The grapes, which represent the dreams of the characters, end up being what hurts them the most. They have endearing wills to carry on because of their hopes, which ultimately, because they end up apart, hurt, or desolate, is what has hurt them the most. Because of their need for success and the will to gain it, they will not give in to the fact that they have failed. Ma constantly attempts to keep the family together, even when it might be too late. "Family’s falling apart…I don’t know. Seems like I can’t think no more. I jus’ can’t think. They’s too much" (278).

Because it is their dreams (the grapes) that have scorned them with wrath (ultimate demise), the title, The Grapes of Wrath, is very fitting. Although dreaming of the "Promised Land" can be Hickert 3 helpful, because of the nature of this particular story, these dreams ended up hurting the Joads more than improving their livelihood. The Grapes of Wrath was titled very deliberately by John Steinbeck. The comparison and metaphor of the grapes with dreaming and promise make it accurate. The ultimate breaking of the family, and desperate measures they have to take very well represent the "Wrath" portion of the title. This title was well chosen, and very significant to the plot.



Essays on East of Eden


1. Literary analysis of East of Eden

Love can bring two people together but it can also have a person be rejected by another because of love. In the novel East of Eden by John Steinbeck, the main character, Adam Trask, confronts a feeling of love throughout the whole book but he either rejects the love of people who care about him or has his love rejected by the people that he cares about. When Adam was a young man in the beginning of the novel, his father, Cyrus Trask loved him but Adam did not love him back and when Adam went into the army he did not come back home until his father’s death. Later on in the story Adam really loved his wife, Cathy, but she didn’t love him back and so when she tried to leave him and he would not let her, she shot him. Even though Adam survived he was demoralized for most of his life because he still loved her. Through Adam’s experiences of love in the novel, John Steinbeck shows that Adam Trask has an inability to handle love.

When he first appears in the novel, Adam Trask is a young man who is not loved by his brother or mother but only by his father. Cyrus had punished Adam before and had tried to teach him to be a soldier and so Adam hated him for that and when Cyrus told him he loved him, Adam did not accept his love. Cyrus tells Adam, "I think you’re a weakling who will never amount to a dog turd. Does that answer your question? I love you better. I always have. This may be a bad thing to tell you, but it’s true. I love you better. Else why would I have given myself the trouble of hurting you?" (Steinbeck 28). Cyrus is telling Adam that he has always loved him and that the only reason that he punished him is because he loved him. He wants Adam to go into the army because he knows that Adam would be courageous and since Cyrus was in the army, he wants to pass on the legacy. When Adam came home from his discharge, his brother and him were talking about their father and Adam told him the truth. "I wasn’t sure until now,’ said Adam. ‘I was all mixed up with how I was supposed to feel. No. I did not love him" (69). Adam is telling Charles that after thinking about it, he never loved his father and so he rejected his love. Charles is now not jealous of Adam because he knows that Adam does not love his father and he still does. In contrast to Charles’s behavior Adam rejects the only love that loved him so far in the novel.

As the novel progresses, Adam meets his one true love but she in contrast does not love him back. Adam meets Cathy Ames and then after a while he marries her but she, does not really marry him. "He breathed harshly. ‘I already been with a whore.’ ‘You’re a pretty strong boy. Move over a little.’ ‘How about your broken arm?’ ‘I’ll take care of that. It’s not your worry.’ Suddenly Charles laughed. "The poor bastard," he said, and he threw blanket to receive her" (125). Cathy shows that she does not love Adam because she goes and sleeps with his brother. This is showing that Cathy is rejecting

Adam’s love and that she is filled with hatred. Another example of Cathy showing her hatred and rejecting Adam’s love is when she leaves him. "Her voice came from so near that he jerked his head back. He heard richness in her voice. ‘Dear,’ she said softly, ‘I didn’t know you would take it so. I’m sorry, Adam.’… she held his .44 Colt, and the black hole in the barrel pointed at him. He took a step toward her, saw that the hammer was back. She shot him" (202). Cathy had told Adam that she had not loved him and that she was going to leave him but because he loved her so much, he did not let her go and so she shot him. Adam’s inability to handle love caused Cathy to shoot him because he could not control his love for her and that it almost cost him his life. Not only did Adam lose his only love of his life but also his twin sons would have no mother.

Later in the story, Adam builds a binding love between his two twin sons, except there is only one problem in the love that Adam builds. Adam really loves his good son Aron and rejects his dark son Caleb, when Aron begins to hate Adam and Caleb begins to really love him. When the Trask family move to Salinas, Adam tries to have an iceberg lettuce traveling company. His idea fails and so everyone at school calls Aron Lettuce Head; Aron never forgave Adam. "Suddenly Aron broke down. ‘I want to go away. It’s a dirty town.’… ‘I don’t belong here. I wish we hadn’t ever come here. I don’t know what’s the matter with me. I want to go away." His voice rose to a wail (493). Aron is just upset that his father failed at the lettuce company. He is ashamed of Adam and rejects Adam’s love that Adam is trying to give him. Unlike Caleb, Aron is self-centered and only cares for himself but Adam does not realize that so he still rejects Caleb. "I don’t want the money, Cal. And the lettuce—I don’t’ think I did that for a profit… ‘No. I won’t ever want it. I would have been so happy if you could have given me---well, what your brother has---pride in the thing he’s doing, gladness in his progress" (543-544). Cal is trying to show Adam that he loves by giving him the money that he lost on his lettuce company but Adam is rejecting his love. Adam still loves Aron more than Cal even though Aron does not love him back but Adam wants Cal to be like Aron not knowing that Aron is a bad person. Adam Trask tries to force his love into the people that do not love him but refuses to the end, to accept the love of his son Caleb.

Throughout the whole novel Adam Trask struggles with theme of love, and the author John Steinbeck shows Adam’s inability to handle love. At first, his father loves Adam but Adam does not love him back. Then as Adam gives his love out to Cathy and Aron, they reject it like it was not even there; and when Aron and Cathy die at the end and Adam realizes that only Cal did love him, he does not praise him but only tells him timshel which means thou mayest. Steinbeck, throughout the whole novel showed what love can do to people and how rejection can imply on the ability of handling love but at the end you still ask yourself: What is love? According to East of Eden, there is no answer.