Of mice and Men Essay

Submitted By kidrauhlobsess
Words: 1164
Pages: 5

In Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck shows us that people can be brutal. However, he also shows us that people are capable of great generosity and kindness. Curley and Carlson are truly brutal people who seem to care little for the welfare of others. They both seem to be fond of physical violence and are oblivious to the needs of others. Slim and George, on the other hand are far from brutal. They are both sensitive and insightful men who show great concern for those around them. Curley is the most brutal character on the ranch. He uses violence to overcome his insecurity about his size. When George and Lennie first arrive at the ranch, Candy warns them about Curleys habit of picking fights with big men. Curley imagines that if he fights a big man, hell either impress the other workers by winning the fight, or at the very least hell attract their sympathy if he loses. Steinbeck encourages us to see this as a cowardly act. In possibly the most brutal act of the novel, Curley attacks Lennie for smiling at him. Steinbeck explains how Curley slashed at Lennie with his left and then smashed down his nose with his right. In many ways, Lennie is the most defenceless character in the novel. He is, as Slim explains, jes like a kid. Had George not been there to tell Lennie to defend himself, Curley would have beaten him to a pulp. Unfortunately Lennie is not the only character who suffers because of Curleys brutality. Curley is also very mean to his wife. He refuses to let her talk to the other men and is constantly checking up on her to see if she is cheating on him. Its tempting to see Curleys wife as a trouble-maker and a tart. By the end of the novel, however, Steinbeck shows us that it was her ache for attention that drove her to flirt with other men. Curleys wife tells Lennie that she doesnt like Curley. She says he aint a nice fella. At one point, Curleys wife is looking for Curley in the bunk house. When Slim tells her I seen him goin in your house she becomes suddenly apprehensive. This suggests that she is frightened of her husband, the man she is supposed to love. Curley, however, is not the only brutal man on the ranch. Carlson is extremely callous and insensitive. He places his own comfort ahead of everything else. His determination to kill Candys dog illustrates this perfectly. Some might argue that Carlson just wanted to stop the dog from suffering, but it is far more likely that he wanted to kill him because he stank. He complains to Candy that the dogs stink hangs around even after hes gone. When he takes the dog out to shoot it, Slim has to remind him to take a shovel. Carlson didnt even think of burying the dogs body. He would have left it lying where he shot it. Carlson is also extremely fond of violence. When Curley decides to shoot Lennie, Carlson quickly offers to get his Luger. When Lennie is eventually killed, Carlson cant understand why George and Slim are upset. Like many of the men who worked on ranches in the Great Depression, Carlson had become selfish and hurtful. Living in a cruel world made him indifferent to the suffering of others, but not all of Steinbecks characters are like that. George is an incredibly generous, patient and understanding man. When George is talking to Slim in the bunk house, he confesses that Lennie is a God damn nuisance most of the time. Lennie is constantly forgetting things and he often gets them into serious trouble. When Lennie complains about the fact that they dont have any ketchup for their beans, George shouts, You crazy son-of-a-bitch. You keep me in hot water all the time. Life would be much simpler for George if he didnt have to look after Lennie, but he perseveres with him because he loves him. He keeps his work cards, he feeds him, he makes sure that he doesnt get sick and he takes care of him when he is sad or upset. At the end of the novel, when Lennie accidently kills Curleys wife, George says to Lennie, I never been mad and I aint now. Thats a thing I want ya to