’s Style In Of Mice And Men Essay, Research Paper
The extract I have chosen is from the beginning of chapter four and stretches from page 71 to page 73. This extract gives a detailed description of Crooks, his room and his possessions. The entrance of Lennie into Crooks´ room and the development of their relationship throughout the scene is shown. At the beginning of the extract Lennie is not welcomed into Crooks´ room, but at the end they begin to befriend each other.
I chose this extract because it provides us with excellent examples of descriptions, dialogue, themes, relationships and vocabulary and language in relation to the social status of certain characters. There is an authorial judgement of Crooks and the introduction of Crooks into the novel. Also, Steinbeck´s style is demonstrated very well.
The descriptions in the extract reflect the style of Steinbeck as he lists Crooks´ possessions in a simple way inorder for the reader to understand the bareness of Crooks´ life. This includes ‘a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905.´ This along with his ‘gold-rimmed spectacles´ gives the impression that Crooks is educated and conscious of his rights. The civil code further emphasises the theme of prejudice and racism; also it is proof that he is not a “Southern negro”.
On page 71, Steinbeck makes an authorial judgement of Crooks, he says, ‘Crooks was a proud, aloof man.´ Steinbeck does this to summarise Crooks as a character in a short space of time instead of describing Crooks subtleley throughout the novel. This is because ‘Of Mice and Men´ is a short novel and has an element of time and this is why Steinbeck makes these authorial judgements.
Steinbeck draws the character of Crooks with considerable pity and sympathy. This is illustrated by the extensive detailing of Crooks´ ‘crooked spine,´ his ‘deep black wrinkles´ and ‘pain-tightened lips.´ The reader sympathises with Crooks because he is physically inept and suffers silently. Due to years of loneliness, Crooks is a private man and so was very annoyed when Lennie interrupted him whilst applying liniment to his back; this was a private act of a private man.
“…If you…guys would want a hand to work for nothing–just his keep, why I´d come an´ lend a hand. I ain´t so crippled I can´t work like a son-of-a-bitch if I want to,” is an example of Crooks´ loneliness as he proposes to work for George and Lennie if they buy a ranch of their own. He tries to reassure Lennie that he can still work hard despite his disability. He wants to join George and Lennie´s dream to counteract his loneliness. This is emphasised by the fact that he is willing to work for just a bed and some food and go without wages.
“They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me,” is a possible reference to Carlson´s remark about Candy´s dog. This gives the impression that the general idea within the ranch is that Crooks is inferior to the others. This suggests that Steinbeck thinks that some black people feel the same way about white people as some white people feel about black people. Steinbeck uses ‘Of Mice and Men´ to portray issues which he feels strongly about and does this all the way through the novel. Also, Crooks has been used by the ranch-men for entertainment. At Christmas “they let the nigger come in” and made him fight with Smitty. This demonstrates the total lack of respect for Crooks because he is black.
Steinbeck involves the relationship between Lennie and George in the extract even though they are separated. This shows that Lennie has made a new relationship with Crooks but his strongest relationship is still with George. The statement from Lennie, “He´ll come back to-night” is proof of the trust in George and Lennie´s relationship; even though Crooks has implied that George may not come back, Lennie strongly believes that he will. This was emphasised earlier in the novel by Slim, as he says, “Ain´t many guys travel around together.” This shows how unique and special George and Lennie´s relationship is.
The statement “You ain´t got nothing to do with the horses,” evokes the idea that Crooks cares very much for the horses and almost treats Lennie as a threat to them.
Some sympathy is felt for Lennie as he is patient and polite towards Crooks even though he is somewhat annoyed and unwelcoming and like Crooks, Lennie is lonely as he is without George. Lennie´s ‘fawning´ smile shows his willingness to build a new relationship.
At the end of the extract Steinbeck touches on the dream of Lennie, George, Candy and later, Crooks. Crooks asked what Candy is “Figuring about,” and ‘Lennie almost shouted´, “´Bout the rabbits.” This shows Lennie expects Crooks to know about their dream of buying their own land and to “Live on the fatta the lan´” because the dream is so close to being achieved.
Both Lennie and Crooks use simple language and vocabulary and omit words, letters and sounds and add other words. For example, “Ever´body went into town, Slim an´ George an´ ever´body. George says I gotta stay here an´ not get in no trouble.” Lennie´s language is simpler than Crooks´. This is because Crooks is educated and Lennie is not and is mentally below average. The reason for this overall simplicity is to set the scene of 1930s western America and to demonstrate the ineptness of Lennie´s mind.
Throughout the extract Steinbeck´s extensive descriptive writing creates a detailed setting which contributes to the atmosphere which in turn contributes to development of the relationship between Crooks and Lennie. Even in a short space of time the character of Lennie has developed by forming a relationship without George, whom he is reliant on.
The simplicity of Steinbeck´s style and language allows the reader to understand significant themes of the story that he tackles in this extract. One of the literary techniques he uses to achieve this is by chiefly composing the text of monosyllabic words. To further set the scene of Crooks´ room, Steinbeck uses cinematic effects. This helps his descriptive writing and allows us to feel as if we are in the harness room with Crooks and Lennie.
One of the main themes in this extract is the ambition and dream of George, Lennie, Candy and Crooks. However, further on in the novel Steinbeck uses presage to portray the realism of the story. These pre-cursors include the death of animals, the mouse and snake and the death of Curley´s wife and Lennie and so the death of the dream.
Steinbeck creates the character of Curley´s wife to demonstrate presage and impermanence. Curley´s wife is a symbol of transience, as she is not even given a name. Also, Whit demonstrates the impermanence of the novel as he is present for a very short space of time.
The extract I have chosen is an excellent example of the themes Steinbeck deals with and the literary techniques he uses. Also, this extract is similar to many in ‘Of Mice and Men´ and so summarises the novel very well.