Steinbeck uses light to show how dreams can change. In Chapter 5, on page 95 Steinbeck wrote “The afternoon sun sliced in through the cracks of the barn walls and lay in bright lines on the hay.” The word sliced is intimidating and could suggest that something bad is going to happen. The word bright shows hope which can suggest something good is going to happen or that the weather will get better. This relates to The Dust Bowl in the 1930s, how hot it was and how it could just blow away and how difficult it was to live in those conditions during that time. This also relates to the death of Curley’s wife later in the book as the quote suggest it’s the end of the day which could symbolise the end of a life.
Steinbeck also uses light to show little hope within certain characters. In chapter 4 on page 76 Steinbeck wrote “In the stable buck’s room a small electric glow through a meagre yellow light.” The word meagre shows that his light is dim leaving his room dark and gloomy. This could show how Crooks has little hope of getting out of his current situation. The words small and meagre emphasises that Crooks is in fear of the rest of the white workers on the farm because of his ethnicity. All of this links to racism which was much worse in the 1930s. Steinbeck wants to show that Crooks is cut off from socialising with other people, which highlights what it was like between white people and black people at that time.
Steinbeck also uses light to show good and evil within a character. In chapter 4 on page 76 Steinbeck wrote “His eyes lay deep in his head, and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity.” The word glitter shows a sign of good in a dark and evil character. This shows that within each character there is a caring and non-evil side. However the words deep and depth emphasises a character’s dark side and toughness. His skin colour and the race of him are used to show how the bullying has made him tougher and socially distracted. Again Steinbeck uses this to show the injustice of black Americans but also shows how people are supposed to stick up for themselves.