Of Mice and Men Outline
Thesis: John Steinbeck uses various characters such as Crooks, Lennie, and Curley’s wife to portray the theme of alienation and loneliness in his novel, Of Mice and Men. I. Among the main characters in the book, Lennie’s distinct mental and physical qualities alienate him from the others.
A. His mental handicap and “lack of adult intelligence” prevent him from being a successful worker. (Telgen 246)
B. It is difficult for Lennie to understand and relate to the events occurring around him, resulting in his incapability of living in the society.
(Telgen 246) C. Lennie’s strong physical traits is “too powerful for the weaker, unsuspecting creatures.” (Scarseth 258)
1. His strength leads to the accidental deaths of the mice and puppies who he enjoys stroking. 2. The potential he has for violence causes the destruction of innocent people, such as Curley’s wife. (Telgen 246) II. The only colored worker, Crooks, lives alone and is excluded from all the others.
A. The harness room that Crooks lives alone in “symbolizes social constraints.” (Scarseth 257)
B. The presence of racial discrimination clarify how Crooks is ostracized from the other ranch hands.
1. During the argument with Curley’s wife, Crooks is unable to protect Lennie since the color of his skin “leaves him open to sexual blackmail.” (Levant 360)
2. Crooks’ desire to become part of George and Lennie’s dream is “short-
lived” after he is “reminded of his position of impotence in a white man’s society.” (Goldhurst 379)
C. Besides the color of his skin, Crooks’ “disfiguration” also leaves him “isolated in a world of physically powerful white men.” (Shurgot 363) III.
Curley’s wife, who is the only woman on the ranch, is miserably lonely.
A. Unsatisfied with her husband, Curley’s wife is constantly seeking companionship and simply just “someone to talk to.” (Telgen 247) B. She is viewed by all the others as a “force that destroys men” because of her flirtatious attitude. (Goldhurst 379)
1. The men often refer to Curley’s wife as a “tart” and attempts to avoid any contact with her.
2. After her death, it is demonstrated how her “loneliness and dream for the future was as real and human as the men” as the characters continue
address her dead body with bitterness. (Beatty 362)
C. Because she is the only woman on the ranch, Curley’s wife is excluded from the “predominantly masculine world of the novel.” (Shurgot 363) D. The degree is shown as she even attempts to befriend Crooks and Lennie, who are the other two isolated characters. (Beatty 362)
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