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Setting and Characterization in Of Mice and Men Essay


Ranch life during the Great Depression in Northern California was full of struggles and troubles. Migrant workers were misused and discriminated against. In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, these facts were shown. The main characters of this novel, George and Lennie, are most affected by these hardships. It caused them to have to travel to many places for work while trying to achieve the American Dream. It even cost Lennie his own life after taking three other lives. Using setting and characterization, the author proves that loyalty can always be kept even through the worst of times

John Steinbeck uses the setting to symbolize loyalty in the novel Of Mice and Men. Slim questions George and Lennies friendship and the loyalty in the story, but George just defends himself and his friend. It jus seems kinda funny a cuckoo like him and a smart little guy like you travelin together (39). He aint no cuckoo (39). These quotes show that George does not care about how people see Lennie, just how HE sees him. The loyalty can never be questioned between these two friends, no matter who says what or where they may be. That is how the setting symbolizes loyalty. They were at the ranch where they met Slim when these comments were made. So, if they were never at the ranch, George would not have to prove his loyalty to Slim. George also defends his and Lennies friendship to Slim. Him and me was both born in Auburn. I knowed his Aunt Clara. She took him when he was a baby and raised him up. When his Aunt Clara died, Lennie just came along with me out workin. Got kinda used to each other after a little while (40). George is explaining his friendship with Lennie to Slim. He wants Slim to understand why his loyalty is always with Lennie and that they can never break that kind of bond for that reason. Again, the setting ties into this because if they were never at the ranch, George would not be defending his loyalty with Lennie to Slim.

John Steinbeck uses the characterization of Lennie to show his loyalty to the migrant workers on the ranch. Lennies personality is kind and respectful. I dont want no fights (55). This shows that he is friendly and only fights if he has to. This shows loyalty to George because George states earlier that he does not want him starting any fights. His loyalty is enforced because he does not start fights just like George told him to. He is respectful of Georges wishes. After George shoots Lennie for Lennies protection and he is about to die, he states something that shows more loyalty then anything. --an never have no ketchup--but I wont care. If George dont want meIll go away. Ill go away (100). At the beginning of the novel, George and Lennie are sitting by a fire and Lennie says he wants ketchup. George says he does not have any and Lennie says that if he did, he would give it all to George. George then says that Lennie is starting to get on his nerves and Lennie states that he will go away, as long as it makes George happy. Then when Lennie is about to die, he says this. It shows that through the whole story, Lennie was always willing to keep his promise and loyalty to George, even on his deathbed. His personality shows that he is and always will be a friendly and loyal man.

John Steinbeck uses setting and characterization to show how loyalty can always be kept even through the worst of times. Steinbeck was effective in getting his point across using this because he showed the emotional tension between these characters and their problems. He showed their relationship between George and Lennie and what people thought about the relationship. This applies to todays life because when people do crimes, it causes them to have to do stupid things to protect others loyalty. If someone does a crime, someone else very close to them will try to protect them at any cost, just like George with Lennie. They may try to hide evidence or something that can cause there friend to be found not guilty, as in Of Mice and Men, when George shoots and kills Lennie so that Lennie would not be incriminated for a crime that he had committed. This is a friendship whose loyalty has been proved to never be able to be broken.

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