Friday, January 31, 2020
The novel Of Mice and Men and the characters Crook, Candy and Curlys wife Essay Example for Free
The novel Of Mice and Men and the characters Crook, Candy and Curlys wife Essay Discuss the theme of loneliness in the novel Of Mice and Men by looking at the characters Crook, Candy and Curlys wife Loneliness plays an integral role in the novel and it is this theme, which effectively leads to the inevitable ending. Each of the characters mentioned in the essay title re-enacts different aspects of the definition loneliness. Hence I will explore the way in which Steinbeck epitomises loneliness, using each of these characters. Crooks is depicted as a loner due to his supposed unfortunate predicament of being born a nigger. Despite this term being derogatory, it highlights the immediately low social stratum that black people occupied in a period where racism and segregation was prominent. The boss gives him hell when hes mad Just because is black, he is at the receiving end of the boss; wrath, a white man. Crooks is described by Candy as a nice fella. The reader is left to assume that the only Black character mentioned in the story is lonely, as the reader is almost oblivious of his presence. It is but for the initial reference to him and the re-emergence of his character in the middle section of the book that the reader is forced to remember. The idea of loneliness with reference to Crooks character has two explanations. The primary reason for his loneliness is Cause [Hes] black. Crooks is annihilated due to his race which in the period when the book was written, segregation was rampant. The reader learns exactly what Crooks feels about his treatment: I aint wanted in the bunkhouse Cause Im black I cant play [cards] because Im black. They say I stink. This outburst signifies the loneliness he feels. He is ostracised due to his race and is not allowed to participate in any activities. Unlike the other characters that experience loneliness, the reader feels that his isolation is the most extreme, as he is black, which automatically relegates him to a low class. The second explanatory for his loneliness is his disability, which evokes a form of loneliness. Crooks has a crooked back. And so presumably, he does have not much use due to his inability to provide a service. Slim suggest that inability to provide a service notes your uselessness: I wish somebodyd shoot me if I get old and cripple. Crooks falls into both these categories. As well as being old, he is cripple, therefore shooting him is of no great loss. Crooks annihilation due to his race and forced into a low social stratum he has an equal status as an animal. This is well represented in c chapter four, where the reader learns that Crooks has his bunk in the harness, and what worsens the situation is the fact that his actual bunk is made from straw, which is what forms many animals beds. The reader also learns that he has a manure pile in his room. Several references are made to his medication, where he owned a range of medicine bottles, both for himself and for the horses. The fact that he uses medication indicates that he often feels pain: Now and then he poured a few drops of the liniment into his pink-palmed hand He flexed his muscles against his back and shivered. Crooks is constantly applying liniment to his back, which may be to ease the pain he feels. He is often in pain and so may not be able to cope with strenuous activities, thus his uselessness and inevitable isolation. The descriptions used with reference to Crooks appearance, may symbolise the suppression he feels from the world. The fact that his body was bent over to the left by his crooked spine forces the reader to relate this to his bad treatment in life. It may suggest that he has had a rough life and the reader assumes that his injury epitomises the hardship and rejection felt, thus his sub-human status. Steinbeck describes Crooks as having deep black wrinkles. The fact that they are deep is also indicative of the depth of strain that he has endured in life, yet we are given no impetus that he has been badly treated at the ranch. Lennie in some ways breaks Crooks loneliness, when he intrudes in his room. Although he scowled in response to Lennies intrusion the reader feels that his presence is welcomed thus Crooks says, It was difficult for Crooks to conceal his pleasure with anger. Crooks becomes more comfortable with the company and the reader delves into his past as he confides with Lennie. The reader pities Crooks attributed to the fact that he views himself as just a nigger talking a busted-black nigger. Crooks indeed pities himself and his predicament. He is lonely as his only true company is himself. Hence, when Lenny tells how he has George, Crooks is in some ways envious of their relationship thus forcing Lennie to consider a pessimistic situation: You got GeorgeSpose you couldnt go into the bunk-house and play rummy cause you was black Spose you had to sit out here an read booksBooks aint no good. A guy needs somebody to be near him A guy goes nuts if he aint got nobody Dont make no difference who the guy is long as hes with you a guy gets lonely, an he gets sick The fact that Crooks aint got nobody generalises his reasons for his loneliness. This saddens the reader, as up till now he has been forced to keep this too himself, but his treatment makes him sick. He pours out his inner feelings and the reader appreciates that reading, his most frequent form of communication, is an escapism, but he concludes books aint no good. Lennie relishes in the fact that he and George will own some land of their own, however Crooks is rather pessimistic. Having seen many aim for a better life and fail, he concludes Nobody gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. The reader considers Crooks extreme pessimism and concludes that due to his constant disappointment and failure, such improvements are but dreams and only exists in their head. However, a glimpse of faith is evident in Crooks character and maybe a realised dream himself, when almost convinced by Lennies revelation to live on the fatta the lan he responds: If you guys would want a hand to work for nothingwhy Id come an lend a hand This outburst indicates his eagerness and yet hope for some sort of recognition in life. The fact that this dream seems achievable gives him a glimmer of hope. For a short while at least his cocoon of isolation seems to be disintegrating: It was difficult for Crooks to conceal his pleasure with anger This narrative indicates that he is content, as he finally has human company, which he can interact with. The fact that Guys dont come into a coloured mans room very much indicates that despite the solemnity he has become accustomed to, company is always welcome, after all A guy goes nuts if he aint got nobody The partial hope of escaping from his sombreness is probably what gives him enough courage to say to Curleys wife on her intrusion into his room, Maybe you better go to your own house. Despite it being his own space, Crooks essentially relinquishes his non challenging role as a negro and dares to question a white persons authority. Yes, he can dream, but Curleys wife throws reality back in his face when she relegates him back to the terrible protective dignity of a negro. Crooks accepts that he will never be a white persons counterpart and concludes: You guys comin in an settin made me forget. What she says is true. Crooks forgot his place as a Nigger and so had reduced himself to nothingnothing to arouse either like or dislike. Crooks is lonely and no one in the story truly understands his predicament. However the reader is forced to conclude, that his annihilation is what retains the fact that he is proud [and] aloof. When he was on the verge of putting an end to his loneliness, thus confronting Curley wife, he realised that [for] a coloured man to have some rights, even if he dont like em., he has to settle for an inferior position in society or face humiliation. Through Crooks loneliness, he retains his pride. In considering Candys loneliness, the reader automatically compares him to that of Crooks. Candys character in the play symbolises the fate of those who are old and disabled. He has the most menial job on the ranch as the swamper and it is primarily because of his disability why he has turned into a self-pitying worker. Although he is lonely, his dog provides him with some sort of comfort. Despite his dog being weak, because [hes] so used to him and had him from a pup he feels some sort of attachment to the dog. The reader is forced to deduce that maybe the dog reflects Candys temperament. Both are old, walk with a limp and could receive the same fate of being killed due to their uselessness. Steinbeck describes the dog as: drag footed sheep dog[with] blind old eyes. The dog struggled lamely to the side This description shows the reader, the bad condition of the dog. The reader understands that as well as not walking properly, the dog is blind and its whole existence is a struggle. Carlson describes the dogs condition as: Got no teeth Hes all stiff with rheumatism. He aint no good to you Candy. Candy and his dog, and Crooks suffer a similar fate, as all of them are retired and so are of no use, as they can not carry out service jobs. Candy is attached to the dog. The fact that the dog is a reflection of himself, initially a hard worker, but now cripple to due his hard work killing it would mean he deserves to be killed also, as both have passed their usefulness. When Candy is forced to put the dog down, through Steinbecks descriptions, the reader realises how much the dog actually means to him: he subdued the hand with the other and held it down he rolled over and faced the wall and lay silent This is rather a sombre description. It underlines the fact that by killing the dog, his only long-term companion, means a part of him would be missing. Hence when he shares in Lennies and Georges dream he somehow feels rejuvenated. Candy shows interest in their dream as by being a part of it, it entitles him to have a future outside of the ranch and some human company. He would no longer have to be subservient to anybody, thus he would not receive the same fate as those who are in the same predicament as himself. It is interesting to note that he finds out about their dream while he would normally be alone, but for Lennies and Georges presence. Many people who are lonely thrive on gossip, as this is a means of escaping their own dismal life and delving into the life of someone elses, often more interesting than their own. This is so for Candy who is described as [warming] to his gossip. He speaks about Curley and even refers to his wife as a tart, yet the reader observes how inferior he actually is, when Curleys wife calls him a lousy ol sheep. Candy does tell Curleys wife what he thinks of her, but he realises that -Nobody d listen to us. In society, he is insignificant and thus his loneliness. Curleys wife experiences a unique form of loneliness. From an early stage in the book, the reader regards Curleys wife as that of a sex symbol. Throughout the story she is never named, but the reader only considers her as a tart, purty and a looloo. Glove fulla vaseline This refers to Curley who actually degrades his wife openly, by the display of this sexual connotation. Due to this derogatory act, it is no surprise to the reader that she is lonely. She is thought of as an object, not a person. She is not appreciated for her talent although according to her [she] could of went with shows because of it. While Curley is out enjoying himself she is left talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs. The reader knows she is lonely, through her constant search for attention. Through exploiting her sexuality does she try to conceal her loneliness hence, she flirts with Slim and constantly wanders around the men the ranch. It is interesting to note, that her only defence to Crooks when he asks her to come out of his room, is to threaten him with rape charges. The fact that she is lonely, she knows nothing else but to exploit her sexuality again. She is very shallow Curleys wife actually admits I get lonely I cant talk to nobody but Curley. This is why she is constantly seeking attention. When Lennie says he is not supposed to talk to her she questions angrily Whats the matter with me?. Again she uses this opportunity to tell Lennie about the dreams that she had. She becomes so comfortable speaking with Lennie that it is this which leads to her death. She is so willing to poor out her heart, her disappointment and the fact that she is lonely, that Lennie gets attached. It is her sexuality which causes her death. She confides in Lennie admitting that [she] don like Curley. So when Lennie starts to stroke her hair she does not mind initially, but this flirtatious act is what leads to her death. Lennie kills her involuntarily; yet this fate was inevitable. Each of these characters experienced their own forms of loneliness. It is quite interesting to note that each of the characters all end up in the same room, having been left out of the other activities which the men are indulging in: Crooks because he is black, old and cripple, Candy because he is old and disabled and Curleys wife as she is thought of as a sex object, not a person. Although she asks herself, An what am I doin? Staindin here a nigger an a lousy ol sheep. Yet she answers her own question when she says, They left all the weak ones here. She actually does belong there as all characters are lonely in some way or another and have been excluded from the activities of the ranch. Is it not fair that they comfort each other? The reader understands that this is not possible, as they are not compatible with each other due to their different predicaments.