Criminals of rodents and men essay

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George Milton

-“I been mean, ain’t I? ”  George is a superb friend to Lennie. This individual protects him and does precisely what is necessary to keep him away of difficulties. -“If I had been alone I possibly could live thus easy”  Lennie is a burden to George -“I desire you to stay with me at night, Lennie” –George  conveys Georges loneliness

Lennie Small

-“paws”  animalistic quality; carry

-“all you can at any time remember is definitely them rabbits” –George. Lennie represents idealism and confidence in the American dream.

“rabbits” symbol of freedom and peace of mind. -“he’s jus’ like a kid” –Slim  describes him perfectly -“why do you got to get killed?” –Lennie no understanding of actions or consequences. “its mean here” –Lennie too innocent to cope with harsh environment -hallucination of Aunt Clare: main moral figure in his life. Tells him between right and wrong and about consequence.


-“crooks”  nickname due to injury. Name given to him by other ranchers dominance, possession (slavery) -“California Civil Code for 1905” had aspirations once of being successful.

Educated individual. ( had “books”) 1905 tho! 25 years out of dates  shows futility of his situation. -“crooks was a proud, aloof man” Steinbeck does not aim to victimize/generalize Crooks. He’s 3 dimensional; knows his worth. BUT has no power to change his fate. -location of Crooks in ranch (barn) symbolizes his distance the other men. Explicitly: segregation, metaphorically: emotional distance/loneliness -“they’ll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog”-Crooks. When Crooks finally finds someone weaker than him, he feels he must destroy them. Relates to his own oppression. Suffering leads to cruelty. -“difficult for Crooks to conceal his pleasure with anger” shows his desperation for contact. He has become hardened by his pain but lets his guard down at times. -“drew into himself”  crooks forces to accept his oppression. Powerless in his fate.

Curley’s Wife/Women

-“that glove’s fulla Vaseline” –Candy ( Curley’s mark of dominance over his wife; she’s an object to him, a trophy. AND clear warning to other men) -“Curley’s wife” no name. dehumanization.

-“fingernails were red”  symbol of danger, sexuality, blood, passion. Stoplight! She will be cause of danger later in novel. -“rolled clusters, like sausages” –>childlike, naïve little girl. Contrasts with red. -“heavily made up”  suggest she’s hiding the true here. Underneath surface there is hidden personality: loneliness, desperate, need, kindness. Puts on front of sexuality and flirtatiousness. ALSO conveys men on the ranch only care about sex from women. -“what a tramp” –George  hypocritical view towards women. Has sex with prostitutes but calls her a tart?? da fuq +! Objectification. Ironic cuz what she really wants is human contact not sex. The men don’t even consider that she could have more complexity other than wanted a man physically. -ranch is a patriarchal environment.

-“I get lonely” –Curley’s wife (mask taken off, complexity revealed)


-Him and his disability aid in themes of minority, oppression, and loneliness. -“the swamper warmed to his gossip”  he needs a distraction from his own, unsatisfying life.


“stayed behind the other”  symbolizes how they always protect each other “we got somebody to talk to” importance of friendship, especially at times of hardship. Human contact takes away loneliness


“a guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody” –Crooks

“suppose you ain’t got nobody” –Crooks –>almost ironic; Crooks doesn’t realize that everyone is alone in this environment. His pain consumes and blinds him, he isn’t the only one who’s feeling it.

The American Dream

-“you give me a good whore house every time” –>although they want to achieve their dream, they waste their money on prostitutes and booze. Cycle of pain and desperation, a temporary void of loneliness and boredom that has to be filled. -“every damn on of ’em’s got a little piece of land in his head” –Crooks –>Crook’s is aware of reality of American Dream. Faced this pertaining to long long time due to racism. -“they remaining all the weakened ones here” –Curley’s better half  themes of novella arrive full circle. Oppression of minorities.


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