Imagery: Focal Point For Steinbeck Essay, Research Paper
In Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men, He uses imagery in all sorts of manners to create a realistic setting and plot. His portrayal of migrant workers and their everyday problems during the depression are quite accurate due too his use of imagery with idioms, dreams, nature, loneliness and animal imagery. The main theme of the book although, happens to be loneliness and fate. Although George and Lennie, the main characters have a symbiotic relationship, fate steps in and destroys their dreams which were so close to being achieved. George is the small, less strong, “brains” of the operation. While Lennie is the tall, strong, lug who more or less has the brain of a 5-year-old child. He relies on a sense of touch, which makes him seem perverted, as he is a tall strong man with almost no common sense.
Loneliness plays a large part in this book; the unlikely destroyer of George and Lenin’s dreams is a young woman who is married to the boss’s son Curley. Although she is probably one of the most important characters next to George and Lennie, Steinbeck doesn’t give her a real name only referring to her as Curley’s wife. Her loneliness is so detrimental to her that she becomes a flirt and still is lonely. “Why can’t I talk to you I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.”(Steinbeck pg. 86) Because of her reputation for being a flirt none of the farmhands wanted to talk to her. It was the threat of getting in trouble with Curley that caused many workers to avoid her. In addition, because of Curley’s insecure feelings he neglected her and forced her to seek attention anyway she could, even it meant flirting. She was ignored by both the farmhands and her own husband and because of this she was being forced into loneliness, the one thing she fought so hard against. Candy is another man who is used as an example of lonely migrant workers. Loneliness affects candy due to 2 major factors, his old age and his disability. This makes him quite different than the young fully capable farmhands on the ranch. He simply cleans the ranch up and sweeps. It’s until Lennie and George arrives that he plays the outcast. With the addition of the duo, candy is asked to join them in their dream ranch. But all will not fare well for the trio in the end.
“I wish we’d get the rabbits pretty soon” (Steinbeck pg. 10) This is an infamous reference to the rabbits in which Lennie dreams so dearly about. The rabbits are part of Lenin’s dream. Repetition of these rabbits gives us a feeling of the reality of Lenin’s childlike behavior. George of course has a bigger dream, he wishes to own a ranch, and with the help of candy and his money that he saved up. The dream is within George’s grasp until Lennie’s incident with Curley’s wife. George also wishes he were alone, without Lennie. He makes it seem that Lennie is a burden and he could live a normal life without Lennie. Which of course isn’t fully true. These dreams are the dreams that George shares with most migrant workers of the depression, to get settled with a beautiful ranch and live off the fatta the land, as George might say. Through the title of the book Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck is telling you that this dream whilst on the verge of realization, will be destroyed by fate. The title seems to refer to a poem by Robert burns called “to a mouse”. Both authors share the pessimistic view that fate always rears it’s ugly head when you about to achieve you dream. ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men ‘ fate will always strike,” Translation, Just when you think you’re on top of the world and about to achieve your greatest dreams, fate will come into play and ruin it.
Animal imagery and nature of course are used to help you perceive the story visually. Steinbeck uses sentences like “Lennie dabbled his big paw in the water.” (Pg. 3)
To make us see the bigger picture. Nature of course sets the scene. Long paragraphs of nature give us the sense that we are in the book with Lennie and George.
Idioms help us to understand the language of the time and place. They give us a realistic feel of the poor education most men were receiving, as well as the local color of Soledad California in the depression. “Maybe you jus better go along and roll your hoop” (pg. 79)
This is an example of an idiom in which candy tells Curley’s wife to go and run along and “roll your hoop”. He’s basically demeaning Curley’s wife and stated she is a little girl.
These idioms give us the flavor of the time. Which helps us, along with the animal imagery and nature to understand the big picture and see every little detail that comes along.
Steinbeck is definitely one of the great authors of this century due to his experiences. He knows first hand how the workers lived. His experiences helped him to achieve great status as an author. His use of imagery creates a feel for the readers that we can picture the characters and feel their pain. Repetition gives us a sense of reality and the idioms give us the local color of the setting in the book. He’s a realistic writer and he uses different elements to create a world so similar to ours that it’s scary. His uses the senses to create a realistic feel for his reader that’s a true author.