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The Concept of Power in “Johnny Bear” and Of Mice and Men
Steinbeck incorporates the character Johnny, the primary conflict in the short story “Johnny Bear,” who has a disability that makes him not intelligent nonetheless, he applies his one main talent to attain what he desires in life. The narration describes Johnny Bear is as not “[obtaining] brains sufficient to make anything up”(“Johnny Bear” 105), and as a result characterizes him as not possessing much intelligence but relying on his natural skill to go by way of day to day life. Johnny is also described as becoming “like an animal” (“Johnny Bear” 107) which displays him going off of instinct alternatively of intelligence. Johnny compensates for his lack of intellect with his specific imitation talent. Johnny’s skill is so developed to the point that it is as if the individual he was imitating’s voice is “coming out of the throat of Johnny Bear, [their] words, [their] intonation”(“Johnny Bear” 104). Even though his disability is that he can not consider for himself, he engages his physical skill to push past his impairments to get what he desires. The 1 point that Johnny Bear desires is whisky. When Johnny activates his imitation ability he expects whisky as payment and goes “from face to face expectantly, and as[ks], ‘Whisky?’” (“Johnny Bear” 104). This happens a lot of times all through the story, and the only words of his personal are “Whisky?” (“Johnny Bear” 104), which depicts how that is all that he wants and he will abuse his all-natural skill to acquire what it. When Johnny Bear is “on organization [he] move[s] like [there is] no movement at all… [even] dogs are afraid of Johnny” (“Johnny Bear” 105). Johnny applies his physical talent as although it is his enterprise and the currency he lives to earn is alcohol. Johnny could not be very intelligent even to a regular human level, but like an animal he makes use of physical talent to overcome his mental challenges to accomplish his ambitions.
Steinbeck elsewhere depicts the character of Lennie, who a lot like Johnny is not rational enough to consider for himself, but he utilizes his physical strength to obtain his dreams. Comparatively, Lennie is not quite as uncivilized as Johnny Bear as seen by his potential to speak. In the starting, when George is walking and “stop[s] quick in the clearing, […] [Lennie] nearly r[uns] over him”(Of Mice and Males two ch.1). This quote tends to make it clear that Lennie is not intelligent. Lennie, as opposed to Johnny, is able to occasionally think for himself and speak which shows his intellect is higher than Johnny’s. Lennie’s potential is physical strength and he applies that power to his function. Lennie has been known as “Strong as a bull” (Of Mice and Men 22 ch.two) soon after carrying out his bailing perform. That, assumedly not a hyperbole, shows his pure strength that he makes use of throughout the story. Another factor that shows his raw power is that he would “pet [mice], and fairly quickly they [bite] [his] fingers and [he] pinched their heads a small and then they d[ied]”(Of Mice and Men ten ch.1). He makes use of his strength to work towards his dream in life which is to personal rabbits. Lennie constantly is talking about “rabbits”(Of Mice and Men 57 ch.3) and how he is going to “take care of ‘em”(Of Mice and Males 57 ch.three). This repetition shows how has a longing for rabbits and to take care of them which is in a way his dream. An additional factor that is clear is that Lennie knows he can not think for himself really well so he relies on George, which is why he constantly seeks to remain on Georges very good side. Lennie “can’t keep in mind practically nothing that takes place, but… keep in mind[s] ever’ word [George] say[s]”(Of Mice and Men 103 ch.6), which displays his want to hold George content even at the expense of remembering factors. One particular day, when George stands by a river with Lennie and George tells Lennie to jump in and “[Lennie] jumps” and he “near[ly] drown[s] before [George] [can] get him” he “clean forg[ets that George] told him to jump in” (Of Mice and Males 40 ch.3). This quote tends to make clear Lennie’s allegiance to George and no matter what he always wants to maintain it that way simply because he knows George intellect is higher than his own. Lennie plans to accomplish his dreams of obtaining a farm by working, harnessing his strength to his benefit even though he has the disadvantage of his mental limitations. When functioning Steinbeck describes Lennie as a “hell of a great worker”(Of Mice and Men 22 ch.two) and “can place up more grain alone than most pairs can” (Of Mice and Males 34 ch.two). Such content material depicts how he has strength far superior to numerous males. Lennie, even although smarter than Johnny Bear, faces his own challenges but like Johnny he utilizes his physical ability to overcome such obstacles.
Additionally, the similarities between Lennie and Johnny Bear grow deeper in the end when the abilities they operate to beat their disabilities get them in trouble. When Johnny exerts his mimicking without having cause, he has no concept what he is saying, so when he says anything controversial assault ensues. When the truths that Alex, an acquaintance of the main character, did not want to hear are revealed he beats Johnny up till “Johnny Bear crumple[s]” (“Johnny Bear” 120). This presents that the greatest strength of Johnny leads to his ultimate downfall. On the other hand, Lennie just wants to pet soft issues, like mice, and when he ends up killing them since he has no restraints, such a pattern of action leads to his finish. Lennie is identified to kill a lot of mice over the course of the story but when he kills his puppy he knows he is on the downward slope and is bitter that the dog got “killed [and it] ain’t so small as mice [and Lennie] didn’t bounce [the dog] hard…now possibly George ain’t gonna let [Lennie] have a tendency no rabbits, if he fin’s out [the dog] got killed” (Of Mice and Guys 85 ch.five). This clearly shows he does not have any grip on his energy and when Lennie took petting Curly’s wife’s hair also far by “[breaking] her neck”(Of Mice and Guys 91 ch.5). however even even though he kills her he nevertheless worries that “George gonna say [he] accomplished a undesirable thing [and George ain’t gonna let [Lennie] tend no rabbits”(Of Mice and Men 90 ch.five). As a result, George has to put him down like an animal out of control. As a result, Lennie’s dream is ended because of his violence that he can not handle since of his lack of mental restraint. Nevertheless, in contrast to Johnny someone was there for Lennie when they took him out because he had sufficient mental capacity to be good and make other people like him. In the end “George rais[es] the gun and his hand sh[akes]” yet Lennie still wonders “how’s it gonna be… [Lennie and George will] have… [a] small piece [of] alfalfa—’ ‘For the rabbits”(Of Mice and Men 105 ch.6). Even when George has to place down Lennie for receiving out of control Lennie nevertheless holds on to his dreams until the really end as that is all he can think about as he has his thoughts set on it. Ironically, what had brought his end is what he tried to use to get his dream. Among Lennie and Johnny, the connection they share is the physical powers that they wield to overcome their disadvantages which also bring the finish of their own individual life goals.
Ultimately, Steinbeck portrays characters with mental disabilities to create conflict by means of their seemingly “basic” behavior and tendencies. Both Johnny and Lennie and react in a thoughtless manor in an attempt to accomplish their own ambitions. Their attempts prove meaningless due to the fact they do not know to conduct themselves in a way that is civil which leads to their undoing. All in all, Steinbeck explores disabilities with characters like Johnny Bear and Lennie Modest to generate the theme that physical power without having mental explanation or restraint is a double edged sword.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Guys. Penguin, 1993.
Steinbeck, John. “Johnny Bear.” Johnny Bear, Introduction and Notes by John H. Timmerman, Penguin, 1966, pp.101-120.
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