Aim: To review the historical background and to look at the characters in Of Mice And Men.
The author of this novel was John Steinback and he was born in California. This region is the setting of his fiction.
-Steinback worked on farms and also ranches during his vacations from school and he wrote ‘Of Mice and Men’ in 1937.
-The great depression in October caused the stock market to collapse and poor government policies led to uneven prosperity. The supply of agricultural products was greater than the demand. There was also job loses and a lack of food.
Steinback has set the scene beautifully and it is as if he is giving directions to a painter a good example is when he describes the clearing by the pool in the river e.g. water twinkles and extensive use of colour.
Against this background ranch hands like George and Lennie were lucky to at least have work the pay was very low nevertheless they were happy to have just a bunk-house to live in and have food provided.
At the beginning the arrival of George and Lennie disturbs the tranquil atmosphere the two men are described and contrasted and Steinback also establishes George’s guardianship of Lennie. George is described as a small and short clever man in contast to Lennie who is described as a large man with only limited intelligence however he is very strong. Throughout the story he is often described as a child or animal. I think that he is described as a ‘child’ simply because of his lack of intelligence, which helps to show him as incredibly innocent because he knows so little and he makes a lot of mistakes which he doesn’t mean to, which again children also do.
However, the ‘mistakes’ made by Lennie are far more serious than that you would ever expect to be made by a child they are almost vicious and that is made evident when he kills Curley’s wife,hence he is described as an animal. Another very important character in the story is Slim he is the on that everybody looks up to in the ranch so he is kind of like the leader. I think he really does understand the relationship between George and Lennie because at the end he is the one who reassures George that he did the right thing after he shot Lennie.
Curley is like the trouble-maker at the ranch he is always looking for an opportunity to have a fight he is also the boss’s son so he does very little work at the ranch-nothing compared to all the othe workers. He is newly married and is very possessive of his wife. His wife is the only women there is at the ranch so she is very lonely and tries very hard to attract attention she is also naï¿½ve. Candy is the oldest ranch hand there is in the ranch and he is gutted when he finds out that Lennie has killed Curleys wife because that has completely ruined their chance of achieving the ‘american dream’.