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Published: 02-11-2019

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The Role of the Setting in Of Mice and Men

The very first two settings that Steinbeck exposes to his readers in Of Mice and Men are the countryside and the bunkhouse at the ranch. Both of these are quite critical to the development of the characters, as nicely as the progress and suitable story-telling in the novel. Steinbeck begins his novella in the countryside, which is described as a quite peaceful and calm location, with a handful of leaves rustling in the air ahead of the quiet is broken by the two principal characters. As the protagonists George and Lennie make their way from the path to the clearing by the river bank, the goal of the setting becomes evident to the reader. Later, however, the presence of the bunkhouse strategically shifts the complete narrative to a very various set of themes.

The clearing is a spot complete of life there is an abundance of green plants, and the presence of animals and insects is also felt. The warm and clean water provides George and Lennie with the soothing bounty of nature just as the riverbank, with its overshadowing branches and calm atmosphere, offers the two with relief and protection from the relentless sun they endured throughout their extended walk. Just as the riverbank gives them literal protection in their journey, it also gives them a metaphorical type of sanctuary. George feels that this spot is safe, and lets down his guard. His ominous advice to Lennie to return to the riverbank in case of danger, shows that this modest clearing is not just a secure haven for the men, but certainly the only 1 they have identified.

Steinbeck utilizes the countryside as a tool to tell his story – this is the spot where George and Lennie speak about their dreams. Soon after an exhausting day, George is perhaps lulled into a sense of security by the serenity of the surrounding place, and so starts speaking about the dream that they have, and which they hope will someday come accurate. George’s talk of rabbits and farms, and Lennie’s reactions to his words are each essential elements of the book as they signify man’s dreams and his yearning for things which might look not possible and the setting utilized by Steinbeck is instrumental to the improvement of these themes. But Steinbeck’s description also has undertones which could be seen as warning signals. The path that George and Lennie adhere to to the clearing is a worn out 1, as is the tree trunk both of which have been utilised a countless quantity of times prior to George and Lennie. Probably Steinbeck meant this to show that what George and Lennie take into account unique to themselves – their dream and their sanctuary – are each issues which other men and women have gone through as nicely. This could signify that George and Lennie may well have the very same disappointing fate as the “boys and tramps” who have been on the identical path, with similar dreams of a paradise on Earth. This setting is also of wonderful importance due to the climax of the novel taking place right here. Becoming the birth location of the hopes and dreams of George and Lennie, it is only fitting that the riverbank is also the place where George has to take the life of Lennie in the finish, symbolizing the death of all the dreams and hopes that the protagonists after had.

Steinbeck starts the second chapter of his novella with a description of an additional setting – the bunkhouse. This is the spot where the ranch workers reside and spend their time when they are not out operating. From the quite first descriptive line of the chapter, the “long rectangular” bunkhouse is shown as a very mundane and featureless spot. The complete description of the bunkhouse is rather like a prison – devoid of character – and the layout of the place provides the reader a glimpse of the lifestyle of the ranch workers. The similar eight bunk beds that line the wall, the unpainted floor, and the white-washed walls all give a really monotonous image. Possibly Steinbeck also meant this to mirror the monotonous and unappealing life that the ranch workers lead. The “apple boxes” that are “nailed’ near the bunks and which are full of numerous things also give testimony to the life-style of the guys who live there: The truth that they are just nailed on gives an impression of a carelessly completed job whereas the odd issues that are crammed into them show that the guys have created a futile try to personalize their box – there are individual belongings such as combs, medicine, and even magazines, which are shown as a kind of escapism for the ranch males, emphasizing the burden of their lives.

The 3 tiny windows, which only give faint beams of sunlight which illuminate dust particles all around are also symbolic of the life in the bunkhouse. The rays of sun could be a metaphor for the brief and faint hopes and dreams that the men have, but even that faint hope is getting tainted by the atmosphere of the bunkhouse, significantly like the beauty of the sunlight getting marred by the dust which is everywhere. The bunkhouse, on the entire is shown as an area for men only it is a place exactly where the ranch workers reside and sleep, and entertain themselves. Curley’s wife, for example, is shown to not be welcome in the bunkhouse neither is Crooks. Each of these men and women do not come into the category of in a position-bodied guys that the ranch hands embody, and so are not permitted inside.

A comparison of these two main settings yields really an impressing insight into the amount of operate completed by Steinbeck to make confident that every single setting plays its designated function to move the plot forward the bunkhouse, although it must be the place where the men can rest soon after a long day’s difficult function, is rather the site of growing mistrust, arguments, fights, and damaging feelings. Comparing this man-made “shelter” with our very first setting, the small clearing close to the riverbank, shows what message Steinbeck was attempting to prove – there can be no peace exactly where there is man only nature provides attempt sanctuary. The dreams that the countryside gave reality to have been shattered to pieces due to the interference of man.
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