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What Methods Does Steinbeck Use in of Mice and Men?

  • Date Submitted: 09/22/2013 10:26 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.9 
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Steinbeck uses many methods of characterisation throughout the novel, but most are apparent in section four especially surrounding the key character Crooks - a disabled black “stable buck” or as better known on the farm as the “busted back nigger”.   This ‘double disadvantage’ of being a “cripple” and black further exaggerates the prejudice he faces at the time and makes us immediately notice some possible themes of the novel; inequality and discrimination. This allows us to gain insight into the historical content of racist America in the 30’s and therefore connect sympathetically to the disadvantaged characters.
Like many of the characters we first collect information about Crooks from what other people say about him, particularly in section two, “The stable bucks a nigger, nice fella too.” We initially hear about him through Candy, another disabled member of the ranch. The author uses Candy’s gossipy nature as a ‘delivery tool’ or ‘narrative device’ many times during the course of the novel to give us, the reader, extra information – Candy introduces us to Slim too as a “hell of a nice fella”.
Another method Steinbeck uses is ‘direct authorial intervention’ or interrupting the novel – usually during a conversation to give us extra information. This method is popular with the author and is used many times in the novella; for example, when Crooks’ face “lighted with pleasure” at Lennie’s “torture”. This teaches us more about Crooks and his ‘3D personality’, specifically his sadistic side as he enjoyed cruelly tormenting Lennie about George leaving him –however he does not usually get a chance to have social superiority over anyone, let alone a white man so of course we as a modern 21st century reader empathise with Crooks because we know about his torturous past.
A main technique of characterisation is the direct method Steinbeck chooses to use at the start and end of every chapter. All of the chapters begin with a detailed description of a scene and end on a...


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