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OF MICE AND MEN

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Silivia Mafi

on 11 September 2012

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Transcript of OF MICE AND MEN

By John Steinbeck OF MICE
AND MEN CONTEXT The Great Depression-
The novel “Of Mice and Men” is a story that is set in the era of The Great Depression in America. The Great Depression started in 1929 and lasted for almost 10 years. It was the most severe economic crisis in America. John Steinbeck based this story on the era of the Great Depression in the 1930’s, about workers traveling around the country to find work and to survive. A lot of people lost their jobs, had no money, and many farmers and businesses were bankrupted. The Great Depression happened after World War 1 and Started after the Recession. The Great Depression may be said to have started with a massive collapse of stock-market prices on the New York Stock Exchange in October 1929.
Many people traveled to ‘Golden California’, for work, money, and to have a better life. Many were rejected, turned back and had nowhere to go. Many of these people set up huge camps in the California Valleys living in shacks of cardboard or in tents. 12-15 million men and women-one third of America’s population were unemployed. The American Dream-
During the Great Depression many people were unemployed, had no homes, and no money. Many of them moved or traveled to California where they can have a better life, and live their dream. The American Dream is what many people in America want to live. It includes owning their own property, having a home, having a job, having a family and being happy. In the novel, George and Lennie also have a similar dream. Their dream is to own their own farm, have a home, and vegetable gardens, and work for themselves. But for Lennie he dreams of living on the farm with George and having a lot of rabbits to tend and feed them alfalfa. Racism in America-
In the 1930’s there was a lot of Racism and Discrimination against the African Americans. A lot of the White Americans discriminated and hated the non-whites. In America there was separation between the races. The African Americans did not have the same rights as the White Americans, and were treated badly and unequally. Most African Americans were made slaves to the White Americans and many were lynched or killed in the 1930’s due to hatred and racism.
“To a Mouse” (Scottish Poem)-
“To a Mouse” was a poem written by Robert Burns, a Scottish Poet. The poem relates to the “American Dream” and talks about a mouse that builds its nest in a Wheat field, only for it to be destroyed by a plowman. A quote from the poem reads- “The best laid schemes o’mice an’ men/gang aft agley.” This statement is saying that- the best laid schemes of mice and men/often go awry. PLOT SUMMARY George and Lennie are two best friends that always stick together and travel together in search of work, after running away from their previous job back in Weed, where Lennie got into trouble by touching a woman's dress and was accused of rape. Lennie is a big strong man but with a mind of a child, and has an odd habit of touching soft, furry things. George is his best friend that takes care of Lennie and keeps him out of trouble. They both are very good workers but cant keep for long as Lennie always gets into trouble.
George and Lennie travel to Soledad for work on a ranch. On their way they rest near the Salinas River, where they talk about their dream of having a farm, a vegetable garden, and for Lennie he wants to tend rabbits, and they both just want to live off the fat of the land. George also tells Lennie to come and hide at the Salinas river if he gets into any trouble and wait for George.
George and Lennie began work the next day at the Ranch where they first met Candy- the old swamper whom introduces them to everyone on the Ranch. Candy was made the caretaker of the ranch since he lost one hand and was not much use out on the field.George and Lennie then meet Curley, the Boss' son who is quite rude and seems to dislike Lennie. They also meet Curley's wife whom possesses a flirtatious attitude towards the men. George warns Lennie to stay away from both Curley and his wife before they cause trouble.
Lennie and George then meet Slim, whom will be their work leader. Slim is known to be the opposite of Curley, he is more sensible and is respected. George forms a bond with Slim, and becomes good mates. Slim was also kind enough to let Lennie have one of his pups.
That night one of the workers- Carlson complains about Candy's old dog, of the stink and offered to shoot it to put it out of its misery. That night George repeated talking about their dream with Lennie. When Candy overhears about the dream, he also wants to join in living the dream. He also offers his life savings to getting the farm.
Later Curley searches for his wife again at the bunkhouse, where he picks a fight with Lennie thinking that Lennie was laughing at him. Lennie refused to fight back but when George told him to fight back, Lennie crushed Curleys hand. Curley then agrees to not get Lennie in trouble or he loses his self-reputation of getting beat.
The next day the ranch men went to town but Lennie stayed behind. Lennie entered the barn looking for his pups where he met Crooks, who has a bent back and is the only Black American on the ranch. Crooks tells Lennie about being different to the others and of loneliness. Candy then enters the room verifying their plan of getting the farm, to Lennie. Crooks becomes curious and is told by Lennie and Candy about their dream. Crooks states the truth about most men having the same dream but never getting it.
Another day at the ranch and Lennie was in the barn upset with his dead pup he accidentally killed by handling it to hard. Curley's wife enters the barn making a conversation with Lennie about her past dream of wanting to become famous, and all Lennie talked about was tending the rabbits. Curley's wife was stupid enough to let Lennie touch her hair then realizing that he wouldn't let go. Trying to scream for help, Lennie gets angry and scared so he shook her to death. Lennie then realized he had done a really bad thing and went an hid at the river. The ranch men then found out about Curley's wife. They all knew it was obvious the it was Lennies doing. As all the men went searching for Lennie, George rushed over to the river knowing that Lennie would be there. Lennie was glad that George found him but was afraid that he will be angry with him. George tried to calm Lennie down by telling him about the rabbits and owning their own land. Then and there George shot Lennie and he knew that it was the best and safest thing to do to protect Lennie for Curley's strong need of revenge. CHARACTERS George is a small but quick man. He is a quick thinker and is smart. George has a small body, restless eyes, sharp strong features, and is a good worker.
George is a good sensible man who takes care of his friend Lennie, and keeps him out of trouble. This man has a dream of owning his own land and being happy. Lennie Small Lennie is a big, strong man, with an odd habit of touching soft, furry objects. He is'nt the brightest, smartest man on earth but is loyal and kind. Lennie looks up to George and wants George to be happy. A good memory is not what Lennie has but always seems to remeber what George tells him. Lennie dreams of having a lot of rabbits and being with George on their own farm. Candy Candy is the Old Swamper on the ranch, whom only has one working hand, and has an old dog which keeps him company.
Candy is a bit of a gossip and knows everything about everyone on the ranch. Candy is friendly and becomes close with George and Lennie, and also joins in on living their dream. Curley Curley is a small and fit young man, who seems quite rude and disliked by the men on the ranch. He is also the boss' son and is married to a "tart" as everyone refers to her as. Curley has a disliking towards Lennie. This because Curley is jealous of men that are bigger than him. Curleys Wife Curleys wife is a young beautiful woman who is married to Curley. She possesses a flirtatious attitude towards the men on the ranch and is also said that she has a crush on Slim. All the men on the ranch describe her as a 'tart'. She is the only woman on the ranch and most of her time is spent on looking for her husband. Curleys wife had a dream of being famous, but when she never got it she instead married Curley. Slim Slim is a work leader at the ranch.He ia quiet, insightful man, who alone understands the bond between Lennie and George. He is the opposite of Curley, he cares for his workers, he is sensible, trustworthy, loyal and is respected. Crooks Crooks is the stable buck with a bent back and also the only African American on the ranch. Crooks is a lonely man and dislikes that he is lonely and is discriminated by the others. Crooks is refered to as a 'nigger' and is treated unequally the rest of the men. THEMES FRIENDSHIP In the novel Friendship is one of the hes, are the main themes. George and Lennie have a good friendship between them both. They travel together, work together and are always looking out for each other. As they work through the hard times of the Depression, all they have is each other.
Quote: Boss to George and Lennie- "Well, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy."
This quote shows that its unusual to see men travel around together. But Lennie and George aren't like that, they always stick together. DREAMS The theme Dreams play an important part in the novel. George and Lennie shared a dream of owning their own farm and living off the fat of the land. Lennie's greatest desire is to own a lot of rabbits and to tend them.

Curley's wife had a dream of being famous, but instead married Curley when she did not receive her letter form Hollywood.

Candy joined in with George and Lennie's dream of owning a piece of land. His life savings made the dream possible to achieve.

Crooks dreams of being equal to others and to not be lonely. He dreams of a better place and of no racism.

Although dreams are difficult to achieve sometimes, George and Lennie's dream kept them together.
LONELINESS Another main theme in the novel is loneliness. many of the characters experience a bit of loneliness in their lives. Also because they are lonely their actions and feelings are different.
Loneliness is demonstrated in Curley's wife. She married a man she doesn't even love and is the only women on the ranch. Because she is so lonely, she goes to the other men for company. But the men ignore her because of what Curley may do.

Crooks is also lonely because he is separated from the other men and stays in the barn instead of the bunkhouse. Because of his loneliness, he is discriminated and is always ignored. POWER In the novel, Power is also a theme that is used in the novel. in the book we read about who has power and who doesn't.
Curley has the power over the other ranch men because he is the son of the boss, and can get people fired just by talking to his father.

Curley's wife holds power as well. As a white woman, she has the power to control african american men. She had power over Crooks, when Crooks told her she wasn't wanted in his room. She threatened to kill Crooks if he disrespected her.

Slim has power to control his workers and friends because he is a leader and gets a lot of respect. Big and.... ... small George Milton
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