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Of Mice and Men

  • Date Submitted: 12/15/2013 10:02 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 38.9 
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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, turning men mean and protective of themselves. Upon the ranch we this mentality presented mainly through the male characters as they all defend what little they have and through various scenes of violence.
Arguably one of the most violent characters in the novel is Curley, the boss’ pugnacious son who even upon his first appearance to the novel is described as ‘bent at the elbows and his hands closed in fists’ a stance of boxer which appears openly violent. Possibly, Steinbeck uses Curley’s ‘tightly curled hair’ to symbolise his unpredictability , suggesting he would be ready to pounce into a fight at any moment. Moreover, this need to prove himself could be consequence of his insecurities of his small height as Candy tells George ‘he’s alla time picking fights with big guys’ which possibly could be a foreshadow for the later fight scene with Lennie in


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