Of Mice and Men is set in America during the years of the Great Depression. The depression, that was caused by the Wall Street Crash 1929, left people without a job or house. People had barely enough money to afford necessities such as, food, water and clothes. The pressures of the Great Depression led to many different forms of conflict. Steinbeck shows a variety of these conflicts throughout the novella. ?? One form of conflict shown in the novella is Jealousy. The fact that Lennie is a ‘huge man’, results in Curley’s jealousy towards Lennie.
While describing Curley, Slim says, ‘He’s alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he’s mad at ’em because he aint a big guy’. This foreshadows the fight between Curley and Lennie in which Lennie crushes Curley’s hand. The adjective ‘mad’ connotes the irrationality of Curley’s simmering anger. Curley’s covetousness towards Lennie’s size represents that the world of Dust bowl America was a harsh and unforgiving place, where physical strength was especially valuable.
The adjective ‘mad’ has specific connotations which is why, Steinbeck chooses to use ‘mad’ rather than a word such as, angry to maybe suggest that Curley is slightly insane for picking fights with men considerably bigger and most likely stronger than him. ‘Mad’ also means that Curley is simply angry towards taller men because he envies them. This description of Curley makes the reader think of Curley as an insecure person as, the description shows that he feels inferior because of his diminutive stature. ?? Resentment is also shown in scenes of conflict.
George shows resentment towards Lennie as a consequence of Lennie losing him his job; that is so significant to achieving his desires. George says, ‘I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get. ‘ The repetition of the word ‘you’ demonstrates that George sees Lennie as the cause of the conflict and as the person who endangers his chances of achieving his dreams. The abbreviation of the word every with ‘ever” implies that George is almost spitting out his words due to the aggravation that he feels.
George loses his temper with Lennie despite the fact that Lennie is George’s best friend. This portrays the great importance of having a job during Different conflicts or events can bring out certain characteristics in people. The novel Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck has numerous conflicts that bring out the protagonist’s innermost characteristic, kindheartedness. George brings out this characteristic through the conflicts between Lennie and himself. Judging him from most of his words, he does not seem like a caring person, however, it is through his actions that verify that he is.
One example of this man versus himself conflict is when George has to kill Lennie. However, the main conflict of this novel is man versus man, which basically goes on throughout the entire novel, while George watches after Lennie; The majority of George’s time is devoted to looking after Lennie, whose faults prevent George from working toward his dream, or even living the life of a typical rancher. Based George’s selflessness, and devotion to Lennie, George Milton is an extremely compassionate person. Throughout the book, George has explicitly whined that Lennie is a real pain.
He dreams of what he could do if not caring for his mentally handicapped friend, and pictures himself not burdened by Lennie. “‘ You get in trouble. You do bad things and I got to get you out. ‘ His voice rose nearly to a shout. ‘You crazy son-of-a-bitch. You keep me in hot water all of the time. ‘” Through this passage, you can clearly see George’s feelings towards Lennie; he gets sick of having to deal with a man with the mentality of a child. However, in the innermost part, he really cares for him because he never truly leaves him, he watches out for him and guides him through life.
Imagine if you had just gotten the part of a play that you have been waiting all of your life to get, you feel as if your dreams had just started to take its roots; when suddenly, your friend messes up his role and is fired, and as a result, you to have to leave too, so he won’t be alone, well, that is the case with Lennie and George. You have to be as incredibly strong minded and kindhearted as George in order to take care of not only yourself, but also a man with the mentality of a child as well.
Consequently, most people go crazy having to repeat themselves more than three times, as for George whom had to repeat himself constantly, and at times, that still did not cut it. This brings me to the next major conflict of the novel, man versus himself. At the end of this novel, when George comes across another crisis that Lennie has caused and, he finds himself stuck, because, for the first time, he can’t get Lennie out of the awful situation that he has got himself into, leaving him no other choice but to kill his dearest companion. George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head. The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied. ” Through this passage, you can see that George was struggling, not wanting to kill Lennie, however, he unfortunately had to kill him for everyone’s benefit, including his own. This situation resembles cheating on a test; you do not want to cheat, but you would be in trouble by your parents if you do not pass.
George had to protect Lennie one last time; as much as it would hurt, George knew that if he did not kill Lennie himself, Curley and the rest of the workers at the ranch would have found Lennie and given him a more painful and severe death George gave him. Based on George committing an act that will haunt him for the rest of his life, just to give his dearest companion Lennie a more serene death than a brutal one proves that, at heart, George is an extremely empathetic person.