Human Nature In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

Words: 850
Pages: 4

In John Steinbeck’s 1937 classic novel, Of Mice and Men, the author uses the hard times during the Great Depression reveal the faults in human nature. The novel features two migrant workers– George Milton and Lennie Small– who share an idiosyncratic friendship as they travel together. The plotline follows the unlikely duo as they struggle to achieve their far-off dream of owning a rabbit farm. Steinbeck uses of comparison to animals, indirect characterization, and the literary devices of symbolism and ububbu to convey that humans only care for their own interests, revealing their inherent cruelty.
Moreover, Steinbeck characterizes the protagonists as inherently violent and self-serving, revealing faults in human nature. While travelling and
…show more content…
After a pugnacious, fellow ranch-hand, Curley, incites a fight with Lennie, Lennie “covered his face with huge paws and bleated with terror” (Steinbeck ). Although, Curley is aware Lennie is mentally handicapped, he deliberately targets him and tries to lure him into a fight for baseless reasons. In response, Lennie ‘bleats’ in panic. Lennie’s bleating is comparable to the bleating of goats, who even with their seemingly powerful horns, are often weak and domesticated. Therefore, the author provides a pitiful depiction of Lennie as a helpless, weak animal, ‘bleating’ for mercy. Still, Curley, unfazed, continues to disregard Lennie’s pleas and beats him. Also, as Lennie covers himself with his ‘huge paws’ he is clearly expressing his fear, still, not caring for Lennie’s sentiments, Curley proceeds to thrash him. Thus, the author uses animal imagery to convey how Curley’s apathy causes him to hurt Lennie simply to fulfill his own baseless hatred for the weak. Therefore, Curley’s inherent cruelty causes him to be excessively self-serving by not caring for others’ sentiments. Earlier, as Lennie is smiles whilst he daydreams about a hopeful future, Curley interprets that Lennie is smiling in derision. In response, “Curley stepped over to Lennie, like a terrier” (Steinbeck ). Terriers, although small, are often bred to be hot-tempered, to be aggressive, and to be hunters of weaker animals. Although Lennie is far from physically weak, his disabilities cause Curley to callously think he is weaker than him. Also, since Steinbeck compares Curley to an aggressive animal, he is alluding that human nature always feeds back into primitive, animal-like inclinations. Therefore, by comparing Curley to a terrier, the author communicates how the egoism in human nature invites animalistic, cruel behavior. Overall,