Of Mice and Men: The Cattle Ranch as a Microcosm
Many times the work of an author will show his or her observations of and concepts on how occasions on the planet appear to be. From the way the author approaches the subject matter in his works, connections between the text and how comparable events take place in the real life can often be made.
The author’s position towards these real-world events can then be determined from how they are portrayed in the story of the work. John Steinbeck, a real realist, gives the reader a taste of how life was throughout the time period represented in his books and his state of mind towards the subject matter shows how he concerns the events of the years surrounding the Great Depression.
In one of his great books, Of Mice and Men, embeded in this time period, the cattle ranch plays a major function in how Steinbeck realistically represents the Great Depression age in our history. In effect, the ranch and individuals on it can be thought of as a microcosm of American society since it shows the loneliness, the prejudice, and the different elements of society of the time.
1. “Guys like us, that deal with ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no household. They do not belong no place. They pertain to a ranch an’ develop a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other cattle ranch. They ain’t got nothin to look ahead to.”
Solitude is a part of life on the cattle ranch, and although it might not show a lot on the exterior of the characters, it bothers them all to some degree. No one likes it, but all have discovered how to live with it.
2. The solitude on the cattle ranch contrasts Lennie and George’s close relationship by demonstrating how genuinely essential it is.
“S’pose I went in with you guys. Tha’s 3 hundred an’ fifty dollars I ‘d put in. I ain’t much good, however I might cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some. How ‘d that be?”
As you can see, Candy’s eagerness to participate on Lennie and George’s dream vision demonstrates how desperate he is to be included with individuals. The dream not only provides him hope and purpose, it also gives him some sort of cameraderie with other individuals. The people most troubled by loneliness in this novel– Sweet, Crooks, and Curley’s spouse– all try to become connected with Lennie and George’s dream.
3. Throughout the 1930’s, solitude afflicted the masses of rural America. The prevalent poverty and the lack of a true house were contributing elements to the sensation of isolation felt by the working class individuals affected by the Anxiety. Unable to achieve anything and required to move from location, the majority of the rural population throughout this time handled loneliness similar to the characters in Of Mice and Male.
Steinbeck explains these very same qualities in the characters of the unique, all of the ranch hands lead insignificant, purposeless lives and few have individuals who truly care for them, therefore they are always lonely.
4. In the duration surrounding the Great Depression, Civil Liberty had not yet come to be an issue in American society, therefore bias existed throughout the United States. When the economy bottomed out, and thirteen million individuals lost their jobs, amongst the first to go were blacks and the inexperienced. Steinbeck was known to be conscious the plight of oppressed individuals, especially blacks and migrant workers.
In this unique, Steinbeck addresses the bias towards blacks in society by putting it on the cattle ranch. The elderly and ladies were likewise victimized throughout this time.
Out of the migrant workers, those of old age were often not given work because they were unable to perform at the level of more youthful workers. Women, unable to work since of their gender, were forced to wed due to the fact that they were unable to find incomes on their own.
5. “‘Cause I’m black. They play cards therein because I’m black. They say I stink. Well, I inform you, you all of you stink to me.”
Crooks explains here an example of the discrimination he faces from the other hands here on the ranch to Lennie. Crooks is forced into isolation due to the fact that of his skin color, and due to the fact that of this he is bitter. Criminals is openly assaulted and belittled by Curley’s wife later on in this exact same chapter because of his words to her.
Scenarios such as these were really common to blacks in the 1930’s and so Steinbeck includes it in his ranch microcosm. Although Curley’s partner throws racial remarks at Crooks in this unique, she is also shown as a “social misfit” in this novel. She is never desired in the bunk home, and is referred to as a “bitch” between the males of the ranch.
Being the only lady, it would look like if she needs to have no place on this ranch of swampers and other working men. Steinbeck never offered her character a name in the book, which might be taken to exhibit how women during this time were not kept in high regard in society.
6. Steinbeck also reveals another side of prejudice in Of Mice and Guy that existed in Depression-era society, discrimination towards people of old age.
“Ever’body out doin’ som’pin. Ever’body! An’ what am I doin’? Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle-stiffs a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep an’ likin’ it because they ain’t no one else.”
Candy is included in Curley’s other half’s vilification of the outcasts of the cattle ranch because of his age. Even worse than being old, Candy is missing out on a hand. He thinks that being as useless as his old pet, he will too soon be dealt with. An example of how he is discriminated against is in how when the men go out to town at nights, he is frequently left with the rest of the discriminated, Crooks, Lennie and Curley’s partner.
7. The majority of the characters in this book are never ever truly developed or specified. Most of the characters are more important as being symbolic with a type of person of the time. Together they represent the different parts of American society as a whole, therefore further exhibiting Steinbeck’s use of the ranch as a microcosm.
8. “I seen hunderds of men come by on the roadway an’ on the cattle ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads. Hunderds of them. They come, an’ they gave up an’ go on; an’ every damn among ’em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never ever a God damn one of ’em ever gets it. Much like heaven.”
Crook’s description of the people that come through the cattle ranch is practically like a discovery of individuals of the Depression, all have dreams and hopes, however unfortunetly, in the end can’t change their position in society. The people on the cattle ranch are not defined fully because they represent these people.
Slim is the “leader” of individuals on the ranch. He has the ability to discern features of individuals from more than what he hears, and with what he discerns he can understand them. It is this quality that makes him almost above the others on the ranch; he is the only individual that can keep things together on the cattle ranch, however him alone isn’t adequate to do it.
Slim represents the “excellent” in society, individuals who appreciate others and try to provide their assistance. Carlson is nearly the total opposite. He is severe and insensitive. He uses to put Candy’s pet dog down however is not able to see that by doing it he eliminates Sweet’s only buddy.
His line at the end of the unique ends the book on a kind of negative note: “Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two men?” He is unable to understand the emotional cost to George in shooting Lennie. Carlson represents the tactless and unfeeling in society.
9. Sweet and Criminals are shown as the 2 significant castaways of the book. Candy’s character indicates what will occur to all of the cattle ranch hands, they will get old and helpless and have no location to go. Sweet just has $350 dollars to his name, and most of that he got because he lost his hand. In these methods, the elderly in the 1930’s resemble Sweet, helpless without any where to go.
Scoundrels is an important character if Steinbeck wanted to explain racial discrimination in his microcosm. Scoundrels is better off than many blacks remained in the depression, however, since he has work. Nonetheless, Crooks represents the oppressed blacks in society due to the fact that of the problems he faces on the ranch.
10. Curley’s character functions as the evil of society in this book. He knows he can’t lose. He can beat anybody smaller than he is and being the boss’s son, can have fired the people he can’t beat. Curley’s better half can be represented as unhappiness in society, given that she is most likely the saddest character.
She had a possibility at being a star, but like George’s and Lennie’s, that dream was lost. She wed prematurely, and made a bad option. As an outcome, she acts promiscuously and flirtatiously to please her hatred for Curley. The one in charge acts as the other end of the spectrum for all of these characters. He is above all of the other ranch hands because he is in charge. He represents the people of power throughout the Anxiety.