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Power In Of Mice And Men
Transcript of Power In Of Mice And Men
Curley has Socio-economic power as his father is the owner of the Ranch. However, Curley abuses this power this is depicted in the quote 'Won't ever get canned 'cause his old man's the boss'. Curley's Socio-economic power is a heritage and not earnt.
Candy has Socio-economic power as he has saved up his money. He has '$250' saved up from his disability pay. '$50' saved from last months work and '$50' coming at the end of the month.
Curley's wife has Socio-economic power through marriage. This is depicted through the description of her appearence, she is seen as having a 'heavily made-up' face, 'red ostrich feathers' in her hair which is 'hung in little rolled clusters'.
George is seen as a 'Small' yet smart man. In the novella the first words he spoke are "Lennie!" he said sharply. "Lennie, for God' sakes don't drink so much.". This shows that George is aware of his surroundings and always thinking. Most ranch hands, George says, are lonely, bitter men—but not Lennie, and not him: "We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don't have to sit in no bar room blowin' in our jack jus' because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us" -He is smart enough not to blow his cash.
Slim is shown as having a high intellectual power. In the novella the phrase 'His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought' is used to show his advanced knowledge of subjects. Slim is seen as wise beyond his years and this gives him an authorative position.
Although Crooks has a minimal amount of power, he has a high level of intellect. Because of White supremacy, Crooks has no company and is forced into solitude. As a result of this, Crooks has a large collection of books, raising his intellectual power. Crooks is easily able to manipulate Lennie by forcing the idea of George leaving into Lennie's mind.
Lennie is a huge character, with immense physical strength. His physical power, is a recurring theme throughout the novella. It is shown, when George talks to Slim about his previous life with Lennie, “coulda bust every bone in my body”. Here through the use of dialogue, the reader is shown the physical power Lennie has over George. It is ironic, that even though Lennie has the advantage of physical power. George is the more dominant one. We can see this, by the way George reprimands Lennie for disobeying instructions, “you wasn’t gonna say a word”. This dialogue, foreshadows Lennie’s lack of mental power, to follow George’s instructions.
Curley has Physical Power as it is depicted that he is lightweight boxer in the quote "Did some time in the ring". He picks a fight with Lennie and manages to 'Bruise up' Lennie's face before Lennie breaks Curleys hand and causes Curley to 'Flop like a fish on a line'.
The Boss holds Socio-Economic power as he is the hierachy of the ranch. He controls everything and everyone. In the novella he is described as wearing "High-Heeled' boots the adjective "High" depicts the boss as superior and dominant. He wears 'spurs' on his boots as to show he does not do labour.
The Power of the American Dream.
Aunt Clara is Lennie's dead aunt. Although she is described as a lovely woman, her character shows that women end up dead in the end.
Suzy's whores are the prostitutes who reside at Suzy's whore house. They are treated like dirt and disrespected. This shows women are unimportant and should be submissive to the male dominancy.
Men need dreams. Without dreams they wander through life without direction, often sinking into despair or hedonistic living. George and Lennie share a dream of owning a small acreage and farming it together. They hope to make just enough to live happily. Lennie helps George keep the dream alive; his innocence allows him to believe in the dream when the cynical George would have let the dream go. Steinbeck declared, “Lennie was not to represent insanity at all but the inarticulate and powerful yearning of all men.” Lennie represents the powerful yearnings of men that move past the limitations of moral ability and allow people to live without moral inhibition.
Such yearning as represented by Lennie can be dangerous and destructive as is made obvious in Lennie’s thoughtless killing of living creatures from mice to women. And yet, Lennie’s powerful yearning gives George, Candy, and Crooks real hope.
Curley's wife wanted to go to Hollywood and be in the "picture". She explains she met a guy that said he would do that for her but he never wrote back. Curley's wife desperately wanted to feel like somebody special. She wanted to leave her little life in her small town behind with visions of grandeur. This is the familiar theme of loneliness an isolation so prevalent in this novella except from a young woman's point of view.
In the novella ‘Of Mice And Men’, Crooks is the only black character. John Steinbeck relates Crooks to the many black men suffering in 1930s America, where ‘The Great Depression’ was happening. This was a time when many people became unemployed and were migrating to bigger cities to find more work. ‘The Great Depression’ was exacerbated for black people as racism was so embedded in society, no one wanted to employ a black man. This is the time when white supremacy became the normal, and if a black man and a white man appealed for the same job, it would be given to the white man.
In the Novella the types of women potrayed are either Houswife's, Prostitutes or Dead. Women are reffered to asd 'trouble' and it is considered as lucky for a woman to be a housewife. Women are generally treated with disrespect and like dirt.
George and Lennie share an unrealistic dream. Most men in their position are loners. Being alone provides emotional security yet at the same time it dehumanizes men. George recognizes this when he says “I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. The get wantin’ to fight all the time.” Despite his relationship with Lennie, George is, at heart, a loner. Even when he is with a group, George is alone. George always plays solitaire, a card game for one person. Even when there are people available to play with him George chooses to play alone.
George knows that their dream is impossible yet he continues to encourage it in Lennie because when Lennie is involved in the dream, George can vicariously enter into the hope and childlike vision of life that Lennie has. However, George knows that grown-ups can’t behave like Lennie. His hope and desire allows him to protect Lennie’s innocence but another part wants to grow up and escape the pain of hope by indulging in women and drink.
However, George can’t ‘grow-up’ as long as he is responsible for Lennie. Maturity comes to George only when he kills Lennie and surrenders his hopes and dreams. By killing Lennie, George surrenders not only his dreams and hopes but also the only thing that made him different, companionship.
He is the only black man around and is made to be isolated by his colour - he can't go into the bunk-house or socialise with the men.
He is always called the 'nigger' by the men, which shows how racism is taken for granted. The men don't mean to insult Crooks every time they call him this, but they never think to use his name.
'Medicines for both him and the horses' were kept on the shelf showing he is being treated like an animal.
Potrayal of Women
Curley's wife is described as the 'bitch' 'tramp' 'tart' and 'rat-trap' that threatens to destory male happiness and longevity. At first she is seen as a heartless temptress but as the book progresses her true feelings are shown. Curley's wife is lonely, and she uses the power of seduction to gain company. She is given no name in the book, only 'Curley's wife' which depicts her as Curley's possesion rather than equal.