Of Mice And Men Conflict Essay

Submitted By AntoinetteOg
Words: 1051
Pages: 5

Explore the ways Steinbeck presents conflict in ‘Of Mice and Men’ and explain the effect on reader.

George experiences inner conflict when he has made the decision to kill Lennie as there are many advantages of keeping Lennie alive however there are also many disadvantages of this. George knows that without him keeping a close eye on Lennie, Lennie can’t be trusted and he has recently been reminded of this fact as they have just been run out of weed due to the misfortune that Lennie carries. This causes a lot of strain on the relationship between Lennie and George and George often reflects on what life would be like without the burden of Lennie, he says ‘God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy’, which is true as it is evident that Lennie is the reason why George can’t easily find jobs as he also says ‘you [Lennie] lose me ever’ job I get’, but on the other hand having Lennie by his side is also what sets them apart from others, with Lennie he feels he has ‘got a future’ and they whereas other ranch workers ‘are the loneliest guys in the world.’
The play, ‘Of Mice and Men’ was set in the late 1930s, during the time the Great Depression was still present in America. Most of the population found it difficult to get any work and life was quite dismal for many but everybody had something they were yearning for: the American Dream. Life was especially difficult for itinerant workers, who were used to move from place to place in the hope of finding new work: wages were low, living quarters squalid and opportunities for advancement were practically non-existent. The American Dream and reality are two conflicting concepts because everybody has a dream but nobody achieves it- and that is reality. Crooks validates this by stating that ‘every damn one of ‘em’s got a little piece of land in their heads’ and goes on to say ‘never a god damn one gets it’, Steinbeck also reiterates this fact because Candy, George and Lennie are so close to achieving the dream but don’t and it just demonstrates that even if you are so close to achieving your goal it makes ‘no difference’: nobody achieves it. However it is not just itinerant workers that envision the American Dream. Curley’s wife says ‘I coulda made something of myself’ and to do this she wanted to star in ‘the movies’ and she would rather live in pretence than to acknoledeg the fact that she would never have achieved this dream and that the man she spoke to about it was lying about writing a letter. Instead, regardless of reality she believes her ‘ol’ lady stole it’.
The ‘weak’ characters in the play are usually the brunt of conflict because of race and prejudice. Crooks is subjected to a lot of verbal, emotional and physical conflict in the play, because he has a crooked back and is also a ‘nigger’, the boss uses this as a reason to ‘give him hell’ and he isn’t the only one: some of the other ranch workers use him to pent out their anger, for example after their game of horseshoes, instead of complimenting Crooks on his good game Carlson complains: ‘He don’t give nobody else a chance to win’ and the one time Crooks was allowed to join in the festivities at Christmas, Smitty, a skinner ‘took after the nigger’ Steinbeck doesn’t specify a reason for him doing so but it could be assumed that the only reason was because Crooks is black and therefore considered inferior. All the animosity towards crooks is also adding to his own self-loathing as he says ‘This is just a nigger talkin’, an’ a busted-back nigger.’ It is shown here that due to all the times that he has been victimised by others, he has now started to victimise himself. The fact that other characters claim superiority over Crooks is highlighted when Curley’s wife says: ‘you