Of Mice and Men Essay Question

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English Literature: `Of Mice and Men' Exam Practise:
Q: Explore the significance of `Of Mice and Men'. (40 marks)
Throughout this essay the significance of violence in `Of Mice and Men' will be analysed, through the
examination of how violence is demonstrated in the novel. In order to assess this theme critically, this
essay will explore the use of language, sentence structure as well as context in relation to the
significance of violence.
Firstly on studying of mice and men it can be appraised that much of the violence expressed by Steinbeck
are a consequence of the loneliness and isolation of the characters. George explains, "I seen them guys
that go around on the ranch alone. That ain't no good. They don't have no fun. After a long time they get
mean. They wantin' to fight all the time." The quote quite frankly demonstrates that violence is a result of
loneliness, as they `get mean' and `fight all the time'. The exaggeration used, "all the time" emphasises
the desperacy of the ranchers, it can be related to the American Dream, as one can claim that the
violence may alternatively suggest the ranchers struggle to achieve their dream. Moreover, on
observing the presentation of this short extract it can be suggested that the use of simple sentences
throughout the quote is successfully used by the author to express the significance of violence in the
ranchers, as though it gives them a chance to express their inner feelings. The success of the writer's
craft is also successful in conveying realism in 1930s America through the significance of violence.
Moreover, on critical analysis of `Of mice and men', it can be said that violence is not only inclusive
through actions, but also through the verbal speech of various characters. Carlson threatens Curley by
exclaiming, "You come for me, and I'll kick your God damn head off." The use of the verb "kick" implies
physical violence, even though he doesn't really fight with Curley. The use of the phrase "God damn" is
quite common in the novel, and as it is non-standard English it can be argued that violence is dominant as
the ranchers are uneducated and unsophisticated. Alternatively, it can be argued that as the tone
expresses great aggression and a violent attitude, it is evidence that it is not due to the lack of education
that the ranchers behave in this manner; rather it is the effect of all the depression and the Great
Depression of the 1930s. The writer's successful use of tone, implies that violence was well fitted in a
time where the entire world was stuck in the darkness of economic loss and social torment, and
Steinbeck's exaggeration, such as, `kicking someone's head off' implies the emphasis on the realism of
the 1930s America, as well as the discontentment of the ranch workers in regard to the situations they
were trapped in.
Furthermore, on reading the novel carefully, it can be enunciated that violent scenes on Of Mice and Men
creates the main events in Of Mice and Men. One example of this is the scene where Curley fights
Lennie, "Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in Lennie's hand." The use of
the simile, "flopping like a fish on a line" puts the `all-so-powerful-Curley' in a weak light, signifying a
great violent approach. The use of the verb "flopping" also indicates that Curley was being controlled
rather than `in control', thus placing him on an inferior level. The extract further expresses Curley's hand
was `lost', in Lennie's hand, the use of the adjective `lost', demonstrates the weakness of Curley,
alternatively, others may argue that it symbolises the confusion of Lennie during this moment in the
novel. The success of the writer's use of language here, clearly conveys a message that due to the

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OF Mice and Men was derived -1930s
Lastly, Steinbeck conveys a message that violence is not always a negative thing. Slim comforts George
by saying, "You hadda George. I swear you hadda." In context, this takes place after George shoots
Lennie. The use of repetition almost emphasises how important violence was in the ranchers lives.…read more


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