How Does John Steinbeck Present the Theme of Violence in Of Mice and Men? Essay

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How does Steinbeck present the theme of violence in ‘Of Mice and Men’?
John Steinbeck’s short novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ presents the desolate nature of 1930s America, in particular Soledad, close to where Steinbeck himself grew up and worked during this time. Notably, Steinbeck focuses on the life of migrant workers who were forced to travel from ranch to ranch in search of work as a result of the simultaneous occurring disasters ‘The Great Depression’ and ‘The Dustbowl’. Due to the economic crisis, the percentage of unemployment rose and money became increasingly tight so violence became a cheap form of entertainment for the men of America, the mentality becoming very much ‘every man for himself’ which created a hostile environment,
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Poignantly, the scene which leads to Curley’s wife’s death, shows how as the novel progresses, Lennie’s violent acts get bigger. This could possibly be foreshadowed from the beginning when George pries the dead mouse from Lennie’s hand, and when he accidentally kills the puppy in the barn ‘he was just so small’ this implies Lennie has no control over his actions. Ironically, it is Lennie’s strength and violence that attracts Curley’s wife after he crush’s Curley’s hand, but instead leads to her untimely demise. Steinbeck perhaps uses the blunt sentence ‘Lennie had broken her neck’ to reflect the harshness everyone suffered in these times, consequently becoming immune to effects of violent acts. It could also be argued that Lennie’s downfall - ultimately leading to his own death – is he is unaware of his own strength which often leads him into troublesome situations.
Furthermore, there is a recurrent theme of nature versus violence throughout ‘Of Mice and Men’ as Steinbeck presents nature-filled scenes as tranquil and beautiful, disrupted by the threat of men. The first scene shows the nature and animals being disturbed by ‘sound of footsteps on crisp sycamore leaves’ of George and Lennie’s arrival, this perhaps initiates the on-going battle between man and nature through the novel. The setting of