Of Mice And Men Example #3 Essay
Each and every one of us has a dream and we all encounter conflicts that stand in the way of our ability to achieve it. Some people can reach their dreams, but many find themselves unable to free themselves from the personal, social and economic chains that bind them. In Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Lennie and George had a dream of owning a farm. These characters embarked on a journey to achieve their version of the American dream. “Well,” said George, “we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens.
And when it rains in the winter, we’ll just say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof—Nuts! ” Along the way, their personal, social and economic limitations put insurmountable hardships in their path. Throughout the story, each of the characters experience personal conflicts as they struggle with reality as it tears apart their hopes and ambitions. The masculine ideal was important to these men and where they found themselves lacking, they found the need to defend themselves by fighting.
Slim, the jerkline skinner possessed the masculinity that the others respected, and the others looked up to him as a result. “When he finished combing his hair he moved into the room, and he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen. He was a jerkline skinner, the prince of the ranch… There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love. ”
Curly, the ranch owner’s son, on the other hand, was focused on compensating for his small size by picking on others weaker than himself. The swamper considered… “Well . . . tell you what. Curley’s like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He’s alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he’s mad at ‘em because he ain’t a big guy. You seen little guys like that, ain’t you? Always scrappy? ” Many characters are jealous and prejudice toward one another which in turn lead them feeling alienated, preventing them from breaking free of their social inheritance. A great example of this happens in chapter four when Curly’s wife turned on Crooks when he ordered her to get out of his room. “Listen,
Nigger, you know what I can do to you if you open your trap? ’ Crooks stared hopelessly at her, and then he sat down on his bunk and drew into himself. She closed on him. ‘You know what I could do? ’ Crooks seemed to grow smaller, and he pressed himself against the wall. ‘Yes, ma’am. ’ ‘Well, you keep your place than, Nigger’…. Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. ” By not working together and fighting, the characters cannot move forward with their dreams and goals, but instead find themselves pushed further backward by the repercussions of their own aggressive actions against others.
Perhaps the greatest conflict the characters experience in the story is social conflict. Almost every character is ripped to shreds at one point or another as someone from a higher social status bears down upon the weaker man or animal, making themselves feel better. Carlson walks into the bunkhouse in a very foul mood because he was just beaten by a colored man at a game of horse shoes. “He don’t give nobody else a chance to win’ he stopped and sniffed the air, and still sniffing, looked down at the old dog. ‘God awmighty, that dog stinks.
You gotta get him out…. Why’n’t you shoot him, Candy? ” Carlson picks on the old dog because the dog is lower than him and through the social pressure, Candy gives in and Carlson shoots his dog. Lennie is socially not accepted well because of his brain disability therefore providing many social conflicts that George keeps getting sucked into. Lennie does “Bad things” and George keeps having to rescue him. George tells Lennie, “You get in trouble. You do bad things and I got to get you out.
You keep me in hot water all the time. The story is filled with conflict involving every character in confrontation with one or more of the other characters. It is all about power and showing no weaknesses and they feel the only way to obtain it, is to fight and put others down. Slim however is the exact opposite. He encourages, helps others up and never throws someone down. It is for this reason that Slim is so well respected. What happens when people are wedged in the middle of an economic crisis? Do people reach out and give help to those who need it, or claim every man for himself?
In the book Of Mice and Men, some individuals, like the boss and Slim, do reach out, but most of the characters in the story, close up and snarl at anyone and everyone in their way. Many people have a dream but without a job or money, they can’t achieve it. “I seen hunderds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads. Hunderds of them. They come, an’ they quit an’ go on; an’ every damn one of ’em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it.
Just like heaven. Everybody wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head. They’re all the time talkin’ about it, but it’s jus’ in their head. ” The dreams make life bearable; it gives them something to look forward to and to keep in mind when times reach an all-time low. George and Lennie told each other their dream when they felt unhappy or just needed to be reminded of their goal but the economy and Lennie’s actions prevented that dream from becoming a reality.
Steinbeck wrote about the struggles of George, Lennie and the people they meet. The conflicts that stand in their way make them unable to struggle free from the thick ropes that tie them down. Through the personal, social and economic conflicts, dreams are crushed and hopes are rudely snatched away. It is in human nature to put another down and to not show your weaknesses. The economy during the great depression was so poor, that it was a struggle just to survive and the dream was literally unattainable by most everyone. The American dream is hard to obtain and people hold themselves back and hold others back as well.