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Of Mice And Men
Transcript of Of Mice And Men
Symbolism: Of Mice And Men
A symbol is a object or a person that represents or stands for something else. You may not realize this but most things that you see daily represent something positive or negative. Keep that in mind for when you think that something you believe is useless actually has importance. What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you visualize symbols? Okay, let's test you on your knowledge.
Candy and his Dog
Candy an old man who is ranch worker with a severed arm, who doesn't make much money, but tries to find joy in his old suffering dog until he was no longer by Candy's side. In Candy's eyes, he was his best friend not just a "...footed sheep dog, gray of muzzle, and with pale, blind old eyes." (Steinbeck 24).
The dog is a symbol of happiness, weakness, and loneliness which is an reflection of Candy, they've been together since he was a pup. Been through everything together, comforted each other through thick and thin. He was slowly making his way through death, but Carlson suggested to speed the process and kill the dog himself. This shows that the weak and the worthless should be killed even when someone could have an attachment with the "weak". “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The American Dream
The impossibility of The American Dream is brought up by most of the characters in the story. At one point or another, they are dreaming about a different life."And live off the fatta the lan'" (14) they said. The American Dream is an idea, that people should have a successful life if you work hard to get it. Let's step back to the 1930s. The economy is different. The American Dream is be self sufficient. Make your own food, build your own things and never have to answer to a "boss." This is really The American Dream, just absolute freedom, and that's exactly what Lennie and George wanted, they planned on getting it no matter what, no matter how hard they need to work, but Crooks was right, a dream like this was not possible in this world.
Curley's Wife is an unnamed mistress who was property of her husband. She"had full, rouged lips and wide- spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her finger nails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters like sausages. She wore a cotton dress and red mules..." (Steinbeck 31). This woman is a symbol of temptation and evil. Considering she seems like poor innocent person she is not, after trying to create problems and insulting people. She is the only woman on the ranch, she is extremely lonely but is tempted to talk to the men on the ranch.
By the men knowing that she is Curley's Wife she will cause trouble with anyone having to do with Curley. She purposely flirts just to get attention. Evil is within her because she has threatened Crooks by telling him that he "could get strung up on a tree so easy it ain't funny." (Steinbeck 81). Also knowing that she is dressed in all red shows that she represents evil because red can be used to notify that someone or something is evil or dangerous. After all her other cruelness throughout the book she eventually dies and that's when the the evil and temptation dies. "The problem with temptation is that you may never get another chance." - Lawrence J. Peter
John Steinbeck used these symbols because no matter what period of time it is, they mean something. They teach a lesson about anything. He wanted for us to know what it was like around that time. That things weren't exactly easy, nowadays most things are just handed to us directly and sometimes taken advantage for.
As the writer Maria Christina said, "The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colours in your mind" so why would you want to treat a person like they are not worthy? We are the same but we sound different. This quote refers to the character Crooks. He is symbolic in many ways that lead to isolation, racism, and loneliness. Crooks is the crooked back, stable buck of the ranch, who is isolated for being black.
Being black, he has experienced loneliness all his life."S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunk house and play rummy 'cause you was black. How'd you like that? S'pose you had to sit out here an' read books. Sure you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody to be near him" (80). This was Crooks' life. He did everything himself. He was a good man because he put people he loved before himself.
After we have shown you that symbols can apply to people or objects, we hope you have learned plenty about symbols. They may not always seem like what they present themselves as. Just like these symbols (characters), it gives you a better read even though it was in the 1930s, we can still connect to the ideas that we have today, but life never goes as you planned it.
By: Chyla Solomon and Siddonie Miller-Caseley