mice and men notes /essay need help !!!!!!!!!!!!Watch
[some notes on Steinbeck ending the novella in the way that he did]
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Steinbeck has decided to set the ending scene exactly where it all began. At the beginning of the novella we are presented with a beautiful description of Soledad, near the Salinas River. Initially, this set the scene into a long journey that was appreciated by the drops of the river and the ‘golden foothill slopes.’ Instantly, the reader would have pictured a vacated sandy area which once was home to many. Later on, we get an in-depth description of both George Milton and Lennie Small, Steinbeck has been reluctant to introduce the two main characters so that we can set the scene in our minds, which is a long journey; this emphasises the ‘migrant workers’ ideology. George and Lennie are both near a river dying from thirst, this is where they also set up for the night. This setting is reminded to us again at the end of the novel. However, this time it is a lot more intense for George, whereas for Lennie it seems like a typical time when George is ‘mad at him.’ Steinbeck may have set the exact same setting, but in a different area in the novel and a complete different approach so that we can compare the two, which may allow us to come into realisation how drastically everything can change in America during the Great Depression.
During the whole novella, we are constantly being foreshadowed by the actions of Carlson, Lennie and Curley. The scenes that involve dispute between Lennie and another character will instantaneously make the reader worry about the future for the ‘big guy.’ George who is having to solve Lennie’s troubles, is also always cautious of Lennie’s future. We know this because he is everlastingly warning Lennie about the argumentative characters like Curley and his newly married wife. Steinbeck could have done this to show us that only the fittest (George in this case) will have the better chances of surviving during the Great Depression – Lennie wouldn’t last a minute. To add on, at the start of the novel we are presented with something that has happened in the past, when Lennie shook a woman at Weeds. With Lennie’s clumsiness which is immediately clear to us at the start of the novel, it doesn’t take a genius to predict the ending of the novel. Also, a repeated speech in the novel is George being better off by himself, ‘getting my 50 bucks and going into town spending it all and doing it all over again, not worrying about a thing.’ The reader can get a taste of George’s problems that are present with Lennie.
Something that Steinbeck achieves very cleverly is preventing the thoughts of George and Lennie’s relationship being pointless. George had never let Lennie down all throughout the novel, it is safe to say that he was his caretaker. Which could be disadvantageous for Lennie according to the portrayal of a ranch worker during the Great Depression – only the fittest surviving. At times, a reader will give up on blaming Lennie’s actions on George and simply accept the fact that Lennie must be independent as a grown man. When George accomplishes the devastating task of killing Lennie, a major setback occurs in the novella. George becomes really upset while he accepts the fact that Lennie is now gone! Steinbeck may have done this to disallow any theories that George and Lennie’s relationship was pointless.
America is portrayed to be a dreadful place to be for migrant workers. We can tell this a mile off, with the ways in which George and Lennie get treated by those who are higher up than them – Curley and the Boss. Steinbeck pushes this idea of independency as the best way to survive. He does this by killing Candy’s dog who relied on Candy and killing the mice and pups who relied on Lennie. If you had to constantly listen to another workers commands in order to be safe, the chances are you’re not safe in the bigger picture. Which is exactly why Steinbeck may have wanted George to be the character who shot Lennie. Also, it pressures us into the idea that nothing is permanent during the Great Depression, it is every man for themselves. George is however, reluctant and hesitant at first when he finds out the actions of Lennie. Steinbeck has done this to put emphasis on George’s love for Lennie, and his loyalty.
Death comes without invitation, many characters have been killed in the novella that may have shocked the reader (Curley’s wife and the pup.) Steinbeck has put intensity on the uncaring universe that was present during the Great Depression. Although, Lennie was mentally challenged, this only seemed to matter to a selective amount of characters in the novel. Carlson even said ‘Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys’ not realising the friendship and the determination that George and Lennie had for each other. This is partially why the author has decided to end the novel in this way. The reader may also question Lennie’s innocence. His intentions prove him to be gentle and caring, but mustn’t we judge him on his actions? After the reader finishes the novel, this will forever be a question that will be debated. Overall, the ending is very powerful and touching and makes the reader realise the devastating living standards present in American during the Great Depression.