What View of Life On the Ranch Does Steinbeck Present and Develop in ‘Of Mice and Men?
‘Of Mice and Men’ was first published in America in the 1930s, and tells the story of two ranch hands, George and Lennie, and their struggle to achieve ‘The American Dream’. The focus of this dream was that hard work and determine could lead to independence and ownership of a piece of land; this dream was one shared by many migrant workers who wanted the freedom to be self sufficient. The book follows the lives of George and Lennie over a period of three days, detailing the events that occur and the subsequent effects. In this essay I will consider the views of life on the ranch that Steinbeck presents, particularly focussing on how this may be different for the different characters.
The first mention of the ranch is in the evening before George and Lennie have arrived at the ranch. Lennie is keen to get there, “George-why aren’t we goin’ on to the ranch...They got supper at the ranch.” (p.9) This dialogue from Lennie is written in quite simple language, reflecting the abilities of Lennie and the fact that George is the one in charge. It indicates that Lennie would like to reach the ranch as he associates it with a physical reward. However, George is more reluctant, “Tomorra we’re gonna go to work...Tonight I’m gonna lay right here and look up.”(p.9) In comparison, this reply shows George has a greater dislike of what lies ahead and is relishing his freedom before the hard work of ranch life begins. The language used to describe the time settings ‘tomorrow’ and ‘tonight’ helps to emphasise the differences between where they are now and where they are going. The ranch is also portrayed as being quite remote and isolated, as suggested by George and Lennie’s long walk to get there. Indeed, even the name of the town ‘Soledad’, is Spanish for ‘loneliness’.
In the second section of the story, the physical view of the ranch as an undesirable place to be is reinforced. The conditions...