The author Steinbeck actually uses a lot of irony in the entire novel. One of the major irony appears in the book is the scene when George kills Lennie, because he wants to protect Lennie from other people such as Curley who might treat Lennie in a violent way. Ironically, George takes Carlson’s shotgun to kill Lennie, and this shotgun is actually the one is used for killing Candy’s dog. It is also irony since the ranch hands do not feel sympathy for Lennie’s death and the fact that George loses his best friend, although they felt sorrow for Candy loss of his old dog.
Slim is the only one who notices the fact of the shooting, and he tends to comfort George by telling him “you hadda” do it. Moreover, since George and Lennie is best friend to each other, no one actually expects that George will raise the gun and shoot Lennie at the back of his head, which is also appear irony here. It is also ironically because George tells Lennie that he will have a good life without him at the beginning of the story; in fact, George actually feels pain and sorrow when Lennie is actually killed at the end of the novel.
He is depressive and devastated by losing his companion. Steinbeck also ironically gives names for some characters. For example, Lennie’s last name is Small, and this is kind of irony by comparing to his physical strength which is actually big and strong as a bull. Another example is that Curley’s wife is actually given no name in the story, which is irony and also somehow reflects that women might not be respected by others at that period of time. Moreover, since this book is related to the poem written by Robert Burns called “To a Mouse”, it also plays an important role to the story.
It is ironic how Lennie is supposed to be more of a “Men” in the story but instead is more like a “Mice” since he is harmless, innocent, gentle, and childlike. Steinbeck is not only displays the truly friendship between Lennie and George, and the loneliness of people on the ranch, but also reveals that people are as helplessness as mice in front of fate. (On the other hand, I think Steinbeck also has some sympathy and pity to the characters after reading the whole story.
His use of language is very powerful since his description of the setting such as places and environment are vividness and picturesqueness, which sets a proper mood for the story and reveals that the American dream is simply a hopeless dream. Also, I think the author tells us that it is necessary for people to maintain their dreams in order to make their life meaningful. Although George and Lennie cannot make their dream come true, the dream somehow becomes a bridge that can hold their remarkable friendship together.
The dream is real in their imaginations, and it makes Lennie happy and gives him a hope, and also prevents George from becoming mean and lonely like those people on the ranch. The dream gives them life although life never allows them to make their dream come true. ) Shift: One of the most significant shifts in Of Mice and Men is that George and Lennie’s dream of owning their own farm from promising to hopeless. Lennie Small is the keeper of the dream of having their own farm and getting to tend rabbits. In his child-like naive, he is convinced that possessing a ranch is in the realm of possibility.
He likes to keep asking George to tell him the story about their dream farm and would like to tend his own rabbits for petting. The major problem with Lennie is that he likes petting soft things such as mice and puppy, but they are too weak to withstand his petting so they died very quickly. George and Lennie’s dream also attracts the old swamper Candy’s attention, so he joins their team by contributes his money. However, things change when Curley’s wife died. She entices Lennie to touch her hair for feeling her hair’s soft, but Lennie’s big clumsy fingers start to mess it up, and she angrily tells him to let go.
As she tries to get her hair away from Lennie, he becomes scared and holds on more tightly. He covers her mouth with his hand when she begins to scream, and he breaks her neck accidentally which causes Curley’s wife dead. When everyone know that Curley’s wife is dead, Candy asserts that he and George can still have their farm; but George realizes that it will never happen. Now George has no dream, and he will end up working like the other ranch hands and spending his money in a poolroom or “some lousy cat house. ”
He killed Lennie by shooting in the back of his head with a Luger, and now the dream will no longer come true. This is also reminds what Crooks says, “Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land”. ) With Lennie gone, George is faced with this grim reality of the era in which he lives as is Candy, and they lose faith in the American Dream of owning a small ranch. Theme: 1. The impossibility of the American Dream One of the most obvious themes in this novel is the impossibility of the American dream since almost every character appears in the novel have their own dreams. For example, before Curley’s wife died, she is actually dreaming of becoming a movie star.
Also, although Crooks did not join in Lennie and George’s plan of having their own farm for owing a patch of garden, he would like to join them at the very beginning. Candy is also joins George and Lennie by offering his money for owing a couple of acres on George’s farm. One of the most biggest and distinct dreams in the story is Lennie and George’s dream of buying their own farm and Lennie can get to tend rabbits. However, the problem of Lennie is that he likes to pet soft thing such as mice, puppy and even girl’s dress and hair. Although he is loyal to George, he always gets George into a lot of troubles.
He does not understand and cannot control his physical power, which cause him always kills his favorite animals accidentally. The first time he killed a mouse, and the second time he killed a puppy. Just like those ancient story says, if a behavior is repeated three times, it will end in the third. (For example, heroes always have to go through ordeals three times. ) So, Lennie killed Curley’s wife in the third times. Curley angrily says that he will shoot Lennie. In order to protect the naive and goodness Lennie from other’s bully, George killed him by shooting at the back of his head.
After Lennie’s death, obviously George and Lennie’s dream of having their own farm will never come true, which is a typical American dream because the dreamers are eager to live in their own way and have their own freedom, but will no longer become reality. This is also prove that Crooks is right because he thinks that such a paradises of safety, contentment and freedom will not be found in this world. 2. Discrimination Besides the impossibility of the American dream, discrimination is also another major theme in the story. It can be told that there are two types of discrimination in the book.
The first one is based on gender. For example, there are only male work on the bunkhouse, and women are not to be trusted. Curley’s wife is the best representative since she is the only female in an all-male world. However, her husband Curley’s jealousy causes all the other ranch hands to stay away from her, so in fact she is isolated and therefore she always looks for other’s attention. Another discrimination is race. Crooks is the obvious and the best example in this novel since he is a black man and is forced to live on the margin of others.
He is even not allowed to enter the house of those white man for a card game. It also can be told that he is not welcome in the bunkhouse. 3. Loneliness In addition to the impossibility of American dream and discrimination, loneliness is appears in this novel as well. Human are eager to get close to each other in order to make their life meaningful; however, most characters in the story are alone. For example, those ranch hands would like to go to town on Saturday night in order to get rid of their loneliness by having alcohol and woman.
Commonly, Lennie walks into Crook’s room and talks to him on that nights since George is in town as well. Also, Curley’s wife comes in later for the same reason which is loneliness. It is obvious that all these characters are suffer from lonely. Crooks says, “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you”. (72) Also, even Slim says, “I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. ” (41) Moreover, the main character Lennie also suffers from loneliness in somehow.
Lennie likes to pet soft thing, which could also be considered as if he is seeking for something that makes him feel safe and secure. Those soft things can give him a feeling that makes him no longer feels lonely in the world. This theme is also appears in characters such as Candy, Crooks and Curley’s wife. After reading the story, it can be told that all these character are try to fight against their loneliness in their own way. For example, Candy has his old dog that accompany with him for a long time before it was killed by Carlson.
After his dog died, he asks to join in George and Lennie’s plan of buying their own farm in order to reduce his loneliness and hopeless. Crooks another typical character that is also loneliness since he is a black man. He is not allowed to go into the bunkhouse and being isolated totally. It can be told that he might struggle his loneliness by reading books and doing works, because there are lots of books in his room. On the other hand, as the only female character in the novel, Curley’s wife also suffers from lonely. The way that she fight against her loneliness is by flirting with those man on the ranch.
Furthermore, Steinbeck also emphasizes loneliness in a clever way. For example, the name of the town is Soledad, which means “along” or “solitude”. This is also bring us to the beginning of the story when George and Lennie first arrived at the ranch, the boss, Candy, Slim and Crooks are all feel strength and suspicious when they see there are two men travel together. In their eyes, it is unusual and strange to have a companion to live and travel together. 4. Powerlessness Throughout the whole story, powerless is also a very important theme, and it connects with the characters tightly as well.
For example, although Lennie appears his powerful physical strength, he is still too powerless to against problems and the forces that surround him, since he is mentally slow and has a naive way to view the world. It is difficult for him to avoid those dangers since he lacks the mental ability that can let him understand things easily. Therefore, he must rely on his companion George who always takes care of him and prevent him from troubles. On the other hand, George is also powerless because he cannot actually stay with Lennie for every minute in order to protect him from harm.
At the end of the story, George choose to kill Lennie by shooting at the back of his head for preventing him from others’ bullying such as Curley. (Killing Lennie is the only way that George can do for him because he does not have the power to let Lennie continue to live in the world. ) Furthermore, Crooks is also a representative of powerlessness. He is loneliness and isolated from the others just because he is the only black man on the ranch. He is not respected by other people and does not have his own rights and freedom. According to the way that Curley’s wife threatens Crooks, there is no doubt that Crooks is weak.
Moreover, the economic is also another type of powerlessness in the novel. For example, it is very difficult for Lennie and George to save enough money to buy their own farm. Also, the men work on the ranch are paid very little which will be much difficult for them to accumulate money to make their dream come true. 5. Nature Nature is also considered as one of the themes in this story since the author Steinbeck uses it a lot and create many vivid images to foreshadow and set the mood. For example, the nature that is described in the opening chapter looks very safety and quiet since the valley, mountains and pools is eautiful.
However, this peaceful nature is broken when Lennie returns to the clearing at the end of the story after he killed Curley’s wife. The nature that is described in the book is now looks a bit creepy, scary and dangerous. For example, the wind now rushes and drives through the trees in gusts, and the dry leaves fall from the sycamore. This is also foreshadowing the tragic fall of Lennie and the miserable fate of him. The place now is kind of filling with fear, death and loneliness, which also reflects and parallels with the environment of the human world.