How Does Steinbecks Writing Make the Fight, a Powerful and Significant Moment in the Novel

How does Steinbeck’s writing make the fight, a powerful and significant moment in the novel? Steinbeck uses many ways to make the fight powerful and significant; he makes things in the scene fast paced, from where Curley sees George smiling, to him starting the fight and Lennie getting beaten up, to Lennie crushing his hand. Yet Steinbeck stretches the fight over 2 pages and a bit, where as it would have probably lasted less than 30 seconds which shows it’s a significant piece and amongst it there is also quite a lot of dialog for a fight, these things creating a lot of tension.

The climax up to the fight makes it quite important and significant as well, the way Curley accuses one of the most respected man on the ranch – slim, the reason Lennie is smiling, happy and it turns bad for him so quickly which is unexpected “his eyes slipped on past and lighted on Lennie; and Lennie was still smiling with delight at the memory of the ranch” Another way Steinbeck makes it powerful and significant is by using a lot of animal imagery; “Curley stepped over to Lennie like a terrier” using animal references, gives a clear picture to the reader, the way that he “stepped” over to Lennie.

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Steinbeck also describes the fight in great detail, and at times uses quite aggressive language “Curley was balanced and poised; He smashed down his nose with a right. Blood welled from his nose” The clear descriptive language that he uses makes it clear and powerful to the reader, ” as well as using verbs such as “slashed”, “smashed” and “slugged”, the repetition of the sibilance of the harsh “s” sound creating a notion of violence.

By using animal imagery and strong descriptive language, it makes it a power moment The contrast also makes the fight a power and significant moment, Curleys aggressiveness , a wanting-to-fight behavior, and then Lennies powerlessness and helplessness (at the start of the fight) not wanting to get hurt, hurt Curley or wanting George to be angry at him behavior.

Early on in the book we meet curly and we are told that he didn’t like “big guys” and that he’s been on edge since he got married, which kind of suggest that something would happen sooner or later due to Curley being an aggressive man. So when he supposedly sees Lennie laughing at him “Curleys rage explodes”, Lennie just stands there getting hit, because he remembers that, George wouldn’t let him tend to the rabbits if he got them into trouble again.

The change in attitude as well from George, earlier he told Lennie not to get into any fights, or he wouldn’t let him tend the rabbits, where as in front of everyone in the bunk house, George has a change of heart “get him Lennie, don’t let him do it” And even when Slim jumps up to help, George holds him back to let Lennie deal with it, which shows that George knows what Lennie is capable of and is trying to show Lennie off to the other ranch workers. Curley was white and shrunken” at the hands of Lennie, “his fist lost in Lennies paw” “curleys fist was swinging when Lennie reached for it, the next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line” suggest not only the size and strength difference of the two men but Lennie has turned this proud, once aggressive man into a wreck with one hand movement. And we know from before with the mouse that Lennie doesn’t know his own strength which is also shown here.

The fight also shows the dependence of Lennie has on George, “Make ‘um let me alone George” it also shows the child-like behavior of Lennie, even though he’s much bigger than Curley he doesn’t want to defend himself because George told him not to earlier. And from earlier on in the book, we see/ hear about the dependence Lennie has on George and that he will do almost everything George tells him to do. The reactions from the people in the bunkhouse after Lennie has reduced Curley to a pathetic and “shrunken” figure, everyone is kind of dumbstruck by what Lennie did, “Jesus!

He hardly got no han’ left” “Christ awmighty, I hate to have you mad at me” also using the lords name, They are all amazed at what Lennie can do, giving the Fight power and significance. All these points, Animal imagery, the descriptive language, the climax, tension, contrasts between Lennie and Curley as well as the contrast of scenes, calm and happy attitude of the previous scene where the George describes the dream farm, to the violent fight, Georges change of heart and the characters reactions all make the fight an important, powerful and significant part of the book. By Sam

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