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This novel "Of Mice and Men" was written based in the early 1930s; this was the time of the great depression. This time was an extremely difficult time for everyone, especially for the workers and the low class, as they needed to travel tremendously long distances to find suitable jobs that would supply them with the nescicits to survive.
All of the migrant workers in America had once had "The American Dream" which is what this novel revolves around, it is a belief that was formed in American when people from all around the globe where different nationalities and races all traveled to America in search of freedom which would allow them to reach their personal goals. The American Dream is what had kept most of the migrant workers motivated, and kept them surving through life which was like an obstacle. However they have eventually come to realize that the American Dream was all a fantasy and not everyone can obtain it. Nevertheless, there are still people that travel to America in search of their freedom and in search to own their personal land.
In the novel "Of Mice and Men", John Steinbeck has cleverly created the ranch to be a micro representation of the wider society as the ranch holds all the elements in the society at the time. As Crooks represents racism where they had little respect to Negros and even treated the animals with more respect as if they were in a higher class. Curley's wife portrays the fact that there were very little women rights as they were excluded from the rest of society and had no freedom of speech. In that period of history your most persios asset was your strength. Strength is what helped you survive as it was required to get a job, as the farm owners are looking at the strength ability of their employees and not their intelligence. This is because the hard simple work on the farms required men that are healthy and strong; the intelligence was not an asset at the time. This is portrayed on Candy, he was once a healthy young man but as he grew older an accident caused him to lose his hand, consequently he was unable to work on the ranch efficiently, and therefore he was descended to a lower position where he became the sweeper instead of bucking barley.
Loneliness is a repeated theme in this novel; the migrant workers know for a fact that they have no one to look after them as George says, "Guys like us, that work on the ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place." However, the friendship occurring between Lennie and George is acting against what he is saying, as Lennie replies, "But not us. And why. Because because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why."
The opposite of the friendship that George and Lennie share is loneliness. It is strange for them to share this companionship as all of the migrant workers travel alone and are extremely independent, they relie only on themselves to survive. As this sort of friendship is unusual in this society they need to hide it from the rest so people don't start to question their relationship. George hides it from the boss by telling him that they are related and that he promised Lennie's aunt that he would take care of him. Even Slim who is sympathetic and wise is surprised that there is friendship still occurring in this society, "Ain't many guys travel around together. I don't know why. Maybe ever' body in the whole damned world is scared of each other."
George and Lennie use the American dream to keep their hope in surviving the great depression and also for something to cheer them up from their troubles and times of sorrow, George often uses their Dream to control Lennie as Lennie has a fetish on soft textures. So when George wants to control Lennie's behavior and actions he warns him, 'Say's I can't tend no rabbits if I talk to you or anything.' Here John Steinbeck is representing how the society controls the people within it by presenting George with a greater control over Lennie. George is threatening Lennie by warning him if he gets in trouble the consequence will destroy his dream. On the other hand, Lennie will achieve his dream if he behaves properly. Society is showing them what Steinbeck is explaining to us, showing how difficult it is to survive at the same time as attempting to reach your dream. This is foreshadowed on the modern society to show the importance of working hard meanwhile keeping motivated in order to feed their families.
Lennie has mental problems that are there to demonstrate a way in which the people separate themselves from each other. As he is disabled by his mental disease Lennie is unwanted by everyone at the ranch besides for George. The people at the ranch are distrustful of Lennie and are scared of him as they notice his physical strength combined with his disability to take control of himself may result to danger. This is shown when Crooks takes control over Lennie, persuading him to believe that George might ditch him and that he would then end up in "the booby hatch,". Lennie then becomes extremely furious. Eventually, Crooks stops teasing him as he is in fear that Lennie would hurt him. Even that Lennie has an ability of injuring people, r Steinbeck makes it clear that the problems are within the anger in the other people and not for Lennie's violent actions. This is shown in many acts, when Curly begins to punch Lennie for his own entertainment, Lennie at first does not respond and allows his face to bleed and become bruised until George demands him to fight back. Also when Lennie unintentionally murders Curly's wife, it is a result of her inappropriate actions towards him.