Strength and Power in OF MICE AND MAN

Part 1

Both of them sound similar, but power is ability to control people and strength is ability to do difficult things or handle the difficult situations. We can have strength without people, but we cannot be able to get power. Power requires other people to be around, because if there are no other people, there is no one for us to have power over.

An example of this would be a Robinson Crusoe. He has a lot of strength, because he has to handle many difficult situations by himself on an island. However, he cannot have lot of power because there are no people to influence. When the man Friday comes, Robinson gets power because now there is someone for him to influence.

In the same way, you can have power without having strength. An old king who is very sick might still have a lot of power because people respect him, but most of his strength is gone, and he could die or be replaced easily. He still has power though, because people will do what he says.

Part 2

What are means in which someone can be powerful in our world today?

–      Money is one thing solves everything in this world. By donating money to the society, we can get fame and honor. Fame and honor give power because people will respect what we say. This is especially true today, when you can buy media attention with money, like Donald Trump is doing now to run for president.

List at least 4 characters from Of Mice and Men that you think have power and express what gives them that power.

–      Curley’s Wife

n  Curley’s wife has power and she expresses her power to other characters in of Mice and Men. She uses the power of white women over black people. She knows that black people are at a low level, so she uses white power to threaten Crooks.

–      Curley

n  Curley has his power because he was son of the boss of farm where they work. Curley uses his father’s power and tries to control and dominate the workers. After Lennie crushes his hand, other workers find out that Curley does not have any power that can control them.

–      Crooks

n  Crooks is a black worker who is at a very low society level. He usually follows people who have power. Even though he is in a low level, he uses his power against Lennie by finding his weakness. He finds out that Lennie’s weakness was George. Crooks keeps exploiting Lennie’s fear about George not being with him in the future.

–      George

n  George does not have much power to influence many people. However, he gets power to control Lennie. Both of them rely on each other, and Lennie listens to George. George is smarter, so we can see that he is commanding Lennie.

What is the function or purpose of power in the novella? in real life?

Purpose of power in this novella is to get other people to do what you want, even if they do not want to, it shows coercive power.  In real life, this kind of power exist, but there is also form of power that influence people by showing respect and gaining respect and trust.

Are there characters who are disempowered (without power) but who have strength? If so, who? Explain.

Candy is a character who is old does not have any power, but he has strength to get over difficult situations. When Curley’s wife threatens the workers, the other characters are intimidated. But Candy is different: he talks back to her and says that even though she has power, they have friends and land and places to go, and so she can’t control him. This shows that he can resist her with his strength and determination.

Are there people or people groups in the world who are disempowered, but have strength? If you think so, give an example.

Minority groups in different countries are oppressed and don’t have power often. For example Mexicans in America are discriminated against and some laws are passed to make their lives more difficult. In spite of that, they stick together, and don’t give up in life. Another minority group like that is Muslims in Europe, who people don’t like because they are different from the Europeans. They are also discriminated against, but still keep living there.

What is the function or purpose of strength in the novella? in real life?

Strength in the novella helps the workers to be encouraged and stay strong and think about their dreams even when their lives are tough and they don’t have much power in society. The purpose in real life is very similar, because the situation in the book, where people have not much power in society happens often in real life. Of course, strength in real life is also used to control people and get power, but it has a positive use too.

If your initial position was that Strength and Power were the same, have you changed your mind as a result of this reflection? Why or why not?

I said that they were different things, and seeing the examples from the book really shows the difference clearly. People in the novella get power without having strength, like the ones who get their power from manipulating others or using their social position. They wouldn’t have the strength to face tough times. And I really saw how strength was not just a nice thing to have, but actually necessary when power is against you – you need a way to not be destroyed, like the characters who resist power in the story.

Part 3

“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” ~Leo Buscaglia

Curley’s wife and Crooks can be seen as cruel. They are cruel because they use their power to control others and make their lives worse. Both of them found out the weaknesses of others, and used them for their own benefit. Basically, they try to use power cruelly to remind others of their own existence. They are not strong, however. This can be seen because they are not showing any toughness in bad situations, or doing something that requires great effort. They are only using the fact that other people are weak. So the book shows why the weak are cruel. Their only way to get power is to dominate people who are even weaker, which is what cruelty is.

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Character Development of Of Mice and Man- Written Task #4

Physical description

“Her face was heavily made up. Her lips were slightly parted. She breathed strongly, as though she had been running.” This is a small detail, but her wearing makeup suggests to us that cares about how others think of her. She had makeup on even she was running hard to find Curley. This illustrate that she tries to look perfect in lots situations. She thinks it is necessary to be strong and perfect in any kind of situation, and also seems to care a lot about what other people think about her.

Dialogue

“Well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t funny.”

In the past in Us, Black people could get lynched on the tree if they were accused of raping women. This quote, said by Curley’s wife, shows that she disdained Crooks, who is black by threatening him with his identity. This illustrates that Curley’s wife loves to have power over other people, and she enjoys provoking lower level people. Since Crooks is black, Curley’s wife is trying to use Crooks’ low position to keep him down.

Incident

In one case, Lennie crashed Curley’s hand, and workers decided to tell people it was an accident from the machine. Curley’s wife was suspicious and tried to find the truth by using the personality of Lennie. The fact that she uses Lennie’s personality against shows that she understands people’s psychology well, and is willing to use that understanding against people. The fact that she gets suspicious right away when the workers tell her a lie shows that she is also very perceptive, and it’s difficult for people to lie to her because she notices small details and differences in stories.

Reactions of others

           When she threatens Crooks, he “reduced himself to nothing” and left “nothing to arouse either like or dislike.” He totally shuts down when she threatens him and just tries to disappear. This shows a lot about what other characters think of her. When she threatens someone, they really think that she will do what she threatens. She’s shown here as a very nasty and serious person. It’s also interesting that he doesn’t want her to “like or dislike” him. This reaction makes us think that she is someone who others don’t really want to be connected with, because of her bad nature.

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Extract from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Part III

The theme of page 60 to 61 is that friendship protects us against oppressive forces.  Oppressive forces that shown in the book is Curley, and friendship is between George and Lennie. George and Lennie showed that they can overcome any difficult situation with friendship.  

The value of friendship, especially male friendship, is an important theme throughout the book, and in the given pages we can discover a dramatic event in which friendship is expressed. When Lennie is beaten up by Curley, Slim gets angry and is about to help Lennie by beating up Curley. When Slim is about to go out, “George put out his hand and grabbed Slim.” The act of George stopping Slim can be analyzed in that George wanted to be the one to help Lennie since they are childhood friends, whereas Slim is a more recent friend. At that dramatic moment of who will help Lennie, George is the one who comes up with the solution.

The mood of the passage shows the urgent situation when George says, “Get ‘im Lennie!” and then “I said get him.” The short order being repeated shows how desperate George feels to help Lennie. Interestingly, when George tells Slim not to step in to help Lennie, Slim does not argue and stands back. This can be interpreted as Slim respecting George’s wish and the friendship between George and Lennie.

When Lennie stops Curley by crushing his hands, only George’s repeated command to let go of Curley makes Lennie stop. However, as soon as Lennie stops and realizes what he has done, he says “You tol’ me to, George.” And “I didn’t wanta, I didn’t wanta hurt him.” In other words, Lennie blames George for the blood on his hands. This is understandable since Lennie’s intelligence is less than average. What’s interesting, however, is how George responds to that. Instead of responding to Lennie directly, George asks Slim if this would result in them getting “canned” from the farm. George’s first response to the situation is his concern that they would lose their job, which would result in losing their dream.

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Style and Language Analysis from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

1. Steinbeck uses poetic language to build the imagery of the opening scene of the farm. Steinbeck uses descriptive language to convey to the reader an almost dreamlike image of the settings. Stylistically, instead of concise sentences, he uses long sentences that have slow and languid feel. The beautiful, idealized scenery is a backdrop to the relationship between George, Lennie, and the other workers on the farm. The language Steinbeck uses in the opening scene is in stark contrast to the crass dialogue between the workers. Steinbeck tries to create this contrast between the background and the interactions between characters in order to highlight the roughness that exists on the farm. Through his description of “Golden Foothill slopes”, a river that “runs deep and green” and “sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs”, Steinbeck is showing the natural beauty of the setting. In contrast, the dialogue between Lennie and George uses swear words, as George tells Lennie “Jesus Christ, you’re a crazy bastard!” Through this contrast, Steinbeck also provides a stark backdrop to the violent language and feelings that characters like George have against women.

2. Steinbeck uses improper grammar in his dialogue in order to demonstrate the backgrounds of the men. Steinbeck used diction that illustrates the uneducated backgrounds of Lennie and George. In their dialogue, he spells words incorrectly to show how the characters pronounce the word. This gives the dialogue a realistic style. The realistic pronunciation shows how the workers talk in usual life. It seems very crass but it is not crass for them. For George and Lennie, wrong pronunciation and other slang words are everyday life. For example, “Jes’” instead of “Just” and “awready” instead of “already” are purposefully chosen to demonstrate how the men speak. Since this story is during the Great Depression, Steinbeck put lots of wrong spelling and grammars to illustrate the uneducated workers’ life. George and Lennie are of this background and it is important for the reader to know that their relationship and the events of story happen with this background in mind. To understand the story and the significance of the events, readers need to understand this aspect of the characters especially.

3. Steinbeck uses figurative language to repeated make comparisons between Lennie and animals in the form of metaphors. This stylistic device is used to illustrate Lennie as very docile and childlike in his personality. However, in addition to his simplicity, this type of language also is used to illustrate his innocence. For example, Steinbeck describes Lennie as “snorting into the water like a horse” and “dabbled his big paw in the water.” Throughout the reading, Steinbeck often alludes animals in the surroundings of the farm. Therefore, Steinbeck’s comparisons between Lennie and animals connect Lennie to the nature around them and distance him from the other workers who are not described in this way. Author is trying to describe Lennie as a man who is closer to the nature than the other workers in the story. Since Steinbeck stylistically gives Lennie these non-human characteristics, this must be a key element to the conflicts that arise in the story.

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Of Mice and MAn task 1: Theme Identification

“Listen to me, you crazy bastard. Don’t you even take a look at that bitch. I don’t care what she says and what she does. I seen ‘em poison before, but I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her. You leave her be.”

–      John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, page 30 spoken by character George

This quote shows the violent tendencies of George against women, which is a theme in this novel. Although the quote is intended for one woman, the beautiful woman who appears in front of them, George extends his remarks about her to the other experiences he had in life. This shows how much George hates the woman and women in general. This theme of George’s hatred can appear again later. Also, this quote might shows that Lennie and George did not have good experience with woman. Woman might hurt them in the future.

In the first scene of the book, Lennie and George fight over the dead mice that Lennie has. From this scene we can see that George takes care of Lennie. George throws away the Lennie after taking it from his hands. But at the same time, this scene shows that Lennie is a little different from normal person, since he carried a dead mouse in his pocket, even author compared him as a few animals to show that he is little different.. In the opening of the book, this scene establishes the relationship between the two and the personalities as well. As this scene establishes the relationship, that helps readers to understand the story. If author did not put this scene, readers could not understand about the situation that author has created.

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