‘ Of mice and Men’ contains a selection of very unhappy characters. Who do you pity the most and why.
‘Of mice and Men’ is a tragic novel including many depressed characters. This reflects the time in which the novel is set. The main characters are driven by failed opportunities and unattainable goals. In a life where fear controls everyone and dreams are never realised. Steinbeck highlights these issues with use of parallel events and the circular plot.
One of the main themes in the novel is failed dreams, each character in the book has a dream whether it be for their own piece of land or to be in the film industry. Dreams are what the men on the ranches live for; they spend their whole entire life working to fulfil these distant dreams. Many people in the book are optimistic that they will achieve their life-long goal but there are wiser people who know that these unlikely dreams will never be reached.
For example George and Lennie have a dream that they will eventually save up enough money to their own piece of land, the two characters are motivated by this dream and I have sympathy for the two characters because the reader knows that this dream is too unrealistic. As they add more and more detail to their dream the pity the reader has for the characters increases. As many characters travelled alone it made these dreams even more unrealistic and they turned from dreams that could be reached into fantasy.
All the characters in the novel are lonely in some way, the ranch are suspicious of lennie and George because they travel as a pair, I believe the other characters are either jealous or envious or the two as they have never had close friends. Hostility is another theme of this book, many of the characters are hostile towards each other, and for example Curley is hostile towards Lennie. Curley abuses lennie as soon as he enters the ranch and this automatically suggests that something bad will happen. I believe characters are hostile towards each other because they know that they will probably not be on the ranch for more than a few months so making friends or having a close relationship with someone is not worth it.
Crook’s is a character I pity a lot, he has been secluded from the others because of his colour and it has turned him into a bitter man. He has never felt friendship and the constant casual racism directed towards him suggests other characters would not imagine being his friend. His loneliness is an example of what other people would have felt like at that time, not just the migrant workers on that ranch. Crook’s has never had a person to talk to and he will never get a job anywhere else. This for me is why I pity Crook’s the most out of all the characters, although having his own room and rights I still feel he is deprived of one of the most important things and that is socialising. I believe the workers would have needed to socialise as they lived very ‘single’ lives, taking to people would have been a way of discussing and playing cards.
I have a lot of sympathy for George; he is constantly protecting Lennie and is almost acting as a father would to a young son. George is fairly smart but like the others is motivated by the American dream, he believes in it as someone would believe in God. George is also a leader and a good listener, yet he is often moving from ranch to ranch due to the mishaps of his comrade Lennie, I believe George is as lonely as the other men even though the other workers are envious of him.
George cannot have an intelligent conversation with Lennie and when they do talk its either giving Lennie a simple instruction or replaying his dream to Lennie. Even though Lennie pesters George I feel Lennie is the reason George carries on the journey to the dream, without Lennie I think George would travel down the same path as the other workers, going to the nearest town ad spending his money in the whorehouse.
I have no pity for Curley’s wife as she is rude to the other workers and is constantly flirting even though she is married. She treats others with disrespect and expects to get sympathy in return; I do not think she deserves to be pitied. I believe her dream was far more unrealistic than the workers, she explains that people told her that she was glamorous enough to enter the film industry but Curley’s wife was too ambitious and greedy to see through the lies.
I believe Lennie needs to be pitied a great deal; he is unaware of his stupidity and is difficulties lead to his death. He is a great worker but he cannot socialise with people because he cannot understand them. Also Lennie has no control over his actions so he is a person who is feared, I believe Lennie leads a sad life.
I believe that Slim should not be pitied, I believe he is the character that the others look up to, he seems to be the one who everyone likes and he seems to be happy and he never properly replays his own version of his dream, but he always listens to the other people dreams.
Throughout the novel it seems to me that Crook’s should be pitied the most as he is even powerless against Curley’s wife who is so unimportant that she is not even worthy of a proper name. Crook’s is treated like a totally different being and I feel for him, he has never socialised with any of the characters and he is crippled, he has never expressed his views to anyone and its sad that he would not be accepted anywhere else. I feel Crook’s is to be pitied the most and then it would be George because he has to put up with Lennie and his compatriot has cost him money and work.