Is Of Mice and Men Pessimistic? Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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The two main themes of Of mice and Men are loneliness and prejudice. These two elements create a depressive and pessimistic background. You can feel the pessimism all through the book, but some parts have different levels of pessimism. John Steinbeck chose the title from a poem called To a Mouse and written by Robbie Burns, from which the book is clearly inspired:

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,

In proving foresight may be vain:

The best laid schemes o Mice an Men,

Gang aft agley,

An leae us nought but grief an pain,

For promisd joy!

The last two verses refer to the dream and how it doesnt succeed. The dream is destroyed by loneliness, which in this case, is represented by Curlys wife. When Lennie kills her everything is over; Lennie knows this, but he is too slow to realise its true. In this verse Robbie Burns tries to tell us that men are as weak as mice, and that often our plans dont succeed and we only get the opposite.

Curlys wife is one of the most important characters in the book because she represents both loneliness and prejudice; and is also a victim of both. She is prejudged for being a woman and is not even given a name; this is how John Steinbeck shows the prejudice in the book. If I catch any one man, and hes alone, I get along fine with him. But just let two of the guys get together an you wont talk. Jus nothing but mad. Youre all scared of each other, in this quotation you can see how she and all the workers in the ranch feel; they are all lonely but theyre all too scared of being prejudged for talking to Curlys wife. She is married, even if Curly doesnt love her; but he is very possessive, and cnat stand that she flirts with the workers in the ranch.

Got no teeth, hes all stiff with rheumatism. He aint no good to you, Candy. An he aint no good to himself. Whynt you shoot him, Candy? Candys dog is his only friend, this shows all the loneliness in the ranch. Candy is left to no other option than to shoot the dog, his only companion, and this will lead him to complete loneliness. This is an obvious metaphor to whats going to happen to Lennie, which is no good for George or any one else. Another small metaphor, which gives a clue to whats going to happen to Lennie, is that the same gun is used to kill the dog and Lennie.

When George and Lennie are in the bunkhouse, Lennie plays a solitaire. This is a metaphor to Georges loneliness. He has Lennie but he knows hes not capable of doing difficult tasks, and in some way Lennie is to George no more than a pet dog; this fact highlights Georges situation: loneliness. When George kills Lennie, slim is the only one that realizes it was him, and knew it was going to happen: Never you mind. A guy got to sometimes.

Lennie has sometimes in the book got a dead mouse or animal in his pocket; he loves them, and never intends to kill them, but he does. This reflects whats going to happen to the dream, Lennie loves it, but unconsciously, he destroys it.

Optimism takes a good part in the book; Lennies relationship with George is optimistic because Lennie is always thinking in the future and in the dream. Candy too is optimistic about the dream, but knows its all over when Lennie kills Curlys wife. George is the cleverest from the three and knows from the beginning that the dream is never going to happen, and that its impossible. Lennie keeps going on about the dream and so George finally with optimism and for a short period of time, thinks its possible but it all comes to an end when Lennie accidentally kills Culyss wife.

This is a book with a pessimistic atmosphere, and its set in a bad time for the world. John Steinbeck had the same life as a worker like George and had similar experiences. Lennies relationship with Gorge in the beginning is very optimistic, but in the end it all changes and their lives turn into a blind alley. In conclusion, this book is pessimistic, and its a masterpiece of modern literature.

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