1929- October 24- This was the day when American people’s dreams, hopes and future were destroyed-“The wall street crash”. This disaster crushed many people life on just a second. This is the theme john Steinbeck has used for his novel “of mice and men”. This story is about the hardship and suffering people went through in that period of time. John Steinbeck has set this story in 1930 for migrant workers so that he could show to others how much they had to suffer in their life. The background and the plot are set in California. This novel is about two young men “George” and “Lennie” who are out in the world of disasters.
They are migrant workers who moved from one place to another in search of jobs. In 1930’s thousands and thousands of people did not have jobs due to the Wall Street crash so people moved from one place to another. California is the place where the novel is set. This place is known as the salad bowl because lots of food and grains grow over here. There were opportunities for everyone for jobs. George and Lennie have set their own dreams for their future and they start their journey of life from here. The success of this plot comes from the simplicity of the plot. John Steinbeck has created an ingenious piece of story where two men struggle to find the glimpse of hope that would push them forward in their journey of disasters.
Steinbeck’s novel “of mice and men” is set in Salinas in California where he was born. Through this novel he is not only saying the life and suffering of migrant workers but the story of his own life too. Many people have got their own wishes and dream for their future and this is quite natural. In this novel Steinbeck has given them their own dreams. The main characters are George and Lennie who have their own dream of Independence and freedom. For other characters such as Curleys wife and crooks, also have the same dream of having a better life but it has a twist to it. In 1930s this was very rare. People thought that by reaching America all the problems are resolved but in fact it starts from here. America was on of the wealthiest nation in this whole world but no one saw the disaster coming. This is what the theme of mice and men is about. When everyone thinks that the story ended in people, turn of events comes and everything changes. George and Lennie are building up their future in California. They have come here to fulfil their dreams.
George and Lennie even though they are migrant workers, they are not as other workers in their ranch. They have got their future lying ahead of them as they got each other in the journey of pain and suffering. George says that “Guys like us that work in the ranches are the loneliest guys in the world”- this is how George explains the migrant workers in the ranches behave, they want to be different from others totally different from others in terms of living out their life. George then explain his feeling and emotions feelings of what they are “we got a future” this sentence describes his thought and his hope their dream and moreover it is their ambition. Steinbeck explains that they are different from other people in the ranches, this sentence describes that they are not living for the present and blow off their money at the end of every week but to save it for future. He explains that they have got each other and them not lonely in this world. They have got in every ups and downs of their life. Now after the loneliness and friendship Steinbeck’s takes the readers to George and Lennie dreams for future. Steinbeck through these both characters is building a relationship of brotherhood between them. He is putting across a message of a sweet relationship of brotherhood as they are both stuck together in this journey of pain and suffering and not separating. He is showing a special bond between them which goes beyond cousins.
As Steinbeck’s says in the novel that George and Lennie are different from other ranch workers they also have got different ideas of life which the other migrant workers don’t even think about. Normal migrant workers take his $50 at the end of the week and spend it on Friday but George and Lennie have different use of the money. It says that “They going to have a have little house and couple of acres” They have ideas of being wealthier person but not to have luxuries flowing around. Steinbeck made sure that he wanted to create a character which would have the hopes and have the ambition to be a wealthy person, he wanted to create a characters which would show to the audience that wealth and happiness all come when u work hard for it and strive for it.. Everyone have a dream to get a house. George says that they are going to collect their one for future and buy some land and have a house in it. Lennie has got his own ideas which are to not have the independence and freedom; he wants to have small animal that he can’t tend.
Lennie has a big world of what other people consider small things such as having rabbits. Steinbeck is creating a contrast between the two characters he have created. George is a person who is worried about his future and takes everything seriously and Lennie who goes to the extreme opposite of George. Lennie talks about Rabbit in the cages and the water in the stoves Lennie is in a place where he doesn’t look the future ahead him like George but the present and the things which are not important to others migrant workers. Steinbeck has been able to show the contrast between Lennie and other migrant workers in the ranches. Lennie is a childish type of guy where he wants the small things to happen whereas George has the attitude that one day he wants to live in from what he got and work himself. He says this idea like this “live of the fatta of the lan and when it rains in the winter will just say the hell going to work”. This quote from the book describes George as he said his feeling over here doesn’t want to be a slave he wants to be a bird who can go anywhere he wants without any restrictions. George just wants independence- the freedom to do anything he wants.
Steinbeck added some flavour to the story by including crooks into the story, Crooks is a Negro. Segregation was one of the big problems at that time. People were segregated by their colour. Crooks is black. This keeps him out of the bunk house. Crooks is a person who had dreams of his own. Steinbeck through this novel shows to the readers how just having a different skin colour changed the whole world around him. Crooks is not treated as a person over here but more of an animal. Segregation is one of the hardest things to accept because if a person does not have the right to speak t any one else just because of their colour, it showed the abhorrent attitude of the people. There is a huge contrast in today society and the society in 1930’s.
If today this issue was raised the human rights would come and people would get their deserved justice but 70 years earlier people would not agree black people being considered as humans and that is what Steinbeck has shown to the reader. His dream is just want to join with other people and he doesn’t want to be segregated from other people. Crook says that “I aint wanted in the bunkhouse”. In this Steinbeck created a mood of how life was in the 1930s. His only wish was to join with other people. Crooks is only separate from the bunkhouse because he is black and the evidence is the he says “They play cards and in there and I can’t play with them because I am black”. Crooks dream is not to be wealthy or anything else but he just asked something which every human being deserved- justice. He did not get justice because of his skin colour.
As there is two sides to a coin, there is two sides to a story and Steinbeck shows that to the reader by showing that Crooks is not segregated completely because he joins with the people to play horseshoes, as the segregation is with in the four walls and they all are equal outside the bunkhouse. Crooks is not segregated completely because Lennie visits him. Lennie does not care whether he is black or white because he doesn’t find the difference between the colours as he does not even care the problems. His mind isn’t mature enough to create this irrational hatred between different coloured people.
Crooks accept Lennie to his bunk house not happily bit in anger mood because he can’t control his excitement and it eventually turns out into the anger and comes outside as “Come on in and sit a while”. This expression is the excitement of a person who hasn’t interacted with people for many years. Steinbeck shows that Crooks has created his own world inside those four walls. He has realised the truth that no one wants to talk to him, so when other people comes to his bunk house to make fun of him, he has an automatic mood which is anger and that is what happened with Lennie. Crooks gets all raged up but when he finds that he is genuine, crooks invited him to sit down. Another important characteristics Steinbeck gave to crooks Is desperation. He was desperate for people to come and talk to him and that is why when Lennie came in even though he was angry he cooled down and invited him to his bunkhouse.
Lennie talks to crooks about his dreams and crooks responds to it by saying that the dreams of building a future will not happen as “nobody goes to heaven and nobody get a land” He says this with his experience living there it is as hard to get a land and make a living here as going to heaven. He explains that these dreams will remain dreams in the heads of the people and will never turn into reality unless some miracle happens. Steinbeck made a path for crooks to enter into the story where he also gets into the dreams of George and Lennie. Everyone in the bunkhouse thinks that crooks is lucky as he got his own room but they forgot a fact that crooks even thought with the physical happiness of having his own room etc the mental happiness is lacking somewhere.
Steinbeck created a mood of loneliness everywhere as crooks is alone and he adds another member to it. Curley wife also has the same problems with life. She also wishes for freedom and independence and Curley doesn’t allow it. She never found that in her life. She have some wishes and she got some opportunities to fulfil it. Curley’s wife is filled with greed of being rich famous and want to be in front of millions of people where the could be praised and honoured as she says “I met with one of the actors”. She says that I could go with the show but the old lady wouldn’t let me. She thought that was the opportunity for her where she could be a actress and she wanted it desperately but her old lady didn’t allow her and this made a more deep greed to become the actress and get the people respect. When she was desperate in eed to be a actress she found another guy in the pictures and eh found a diamond in him as he says that “I am natural and was gonna write when he was back”.
Stein beck is creating a tension in this section as the guy who invited her did not have the intention take her in pictures as he asked the girl in the lonely place when he says that he would take in pictures it is misleading and he thought to take the opportunity of her and where as her point she says that the letter was taken but her old lady. She know the fact that he was not going to her but she is struggling to cope with the fact and making her mind tame to a state where she make up things. With all the dreams remain- she is lonely today.
As we come to the conclusion Steinbeck says to his reader there is a big difference betweens dreams and realities. Dreams are what we wish to happen and reality is what actually happening. Dream are happy and joyful where as reality is harsh and stressful. Steinbeck beings with a peaceful story of the people who have wishes and dreams for the future but at the end of them it all breaks into different pieces. None of their dreams or hopes comes into reality everybody dreams are shattered. Curley wife could not fulfil her dream of reaching in Hollywood and as in the end of the chapter Lennie killed her. Again Steinbeck relates this to the death to the nature. The last chapter of the novel starts off with the death of the snake and at the end of the novel it finishes off with the death of human being. Steinbeck shows the comparison of the nature cycle but what Lennie does is against the law of the nature.
Steinbeck shows the comparison of human cycle of how it is created and how it ends. The death of the water snake is part of the nature cycle but what happened to Lennie is against the law of nature. In this story George who comes to know all of the things Lennie did, George had no other option but kill him. Steinbeck brings us back from the brotherhood because George did this because when Curley finds out what happened to his wife the punishment from him would be much harsher, so to reduce the pain for his best friend he tried to kill. The moment he shoots Lennie, not only lennie’s dreams get shattered but Georges and crooks too. All of it gets destroyed together. The quote which crooks said “Nobody never get to heaven and nobody gets any land” came true. The dream of hopes and ambition is shattered for George.
The 1930s was a tough time for all migrant workers who come to America with lots of hopes dreams and future and they all shatter down. George and Lennie just join the list.