Allegory – of Mice and Men
Adel and Cain both presented God with a gift, “Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the [Him]” and “Abel presented…some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions”, God liked Abel’s gift more and so, out of jealousy, Cain led Abel to a field and killed him. As punishment, Cain was sentenced to be a restless wanderer on the earth and “whoever finds [him] will kill [him]”. This story is similar to Of Mice and Men in the belief that we are all descendants of Cain.
The men on the ranch live life restlessly, always moving around and alone. This theme is carried further with the use of the letter “C”, and the lack of names with the letter “A”, in many of the names of main characters in the novel. The “C” symbolizing once again the connection the rancher’s lives have to the fate Cain was sentenced with. Slim’s name, curiously, does not begin or contain either letter. This could indicate that Slim’s position in the novel is one that is more “god like” than that of other ranchers.
He is first described as extremely capable, that there was a “gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke”, “his authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject”, he “heard more than was said to him”, and had “understanding beyond thought”. Everyone in the ranch looks up to him, and respects him. God punished Cain and Abel’s parents, Adam and Eve, after eating the forbidden fruit with the task of having to work to make shelter, and having to work the land for food.
This ties in with the setting of the story, as all the ranchers have to work the land in order to live. George A man who is quick to anger, witty, and gentle; He is Lennie’s caretaker, and though he mentions that Lennie is a burden to him, their friendship is something that is irreplaceable. George is forced face the reality of his long held dream and make the decision to kill Lennie himself, at the end of the novel. Which shows his understanding of the reality of the situations he is faced with. * “No –look! I was jus’ foolin’, Lennie. ‘Cause I want you to stay with me. (PG 13) * “ ‘You ‘an me can get that little place, can’t we, George? ’ … ‘He usta like to hear about it so much that I got to thinking maybe we would. ’ ” (PG 94) Curley The boss’s son, and somewhat insecure about his marriage and height. He is always eager to pick a fight, especially with guys that are bigger than him, like Lennie. Curley seeks out fights with him whenever he can, throughout the book, and when Lennie kills his wife he uses it as an excuse to get Lennie. Which, in turn, drives George to kill Lennie himself. * “that golve’s fulla Vaseline” (PG 27) * “Curley’s gonna want to shoot ‘im.
Curley’s still mad about his hand” (PG 97) Crooks A black man that lives isolated and alone on the ranch. He’s a stable buck, and those he denies it, dreams of the company of someone else. He seems to be a bit cranky, and unwelcoming. Especially when Candy and Lennie come into his room, but quickly warms up to them. His confidence is easily brought up with little kindness, he sometimes abuses this, but at the same time brought down with the smallest discrimination as well, as shown by Curley’s wife, as she enters the room while Crooks, Candy, and Lennie are talking and “puts crooks in his place. * “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. ” (PG 72) * “Crooks has reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ago – nothing to arouse either like or dislike… [He] sat perfectly still, his eyes averted, everything that might be hurt drawn in” (PG 80) Lennie Childish and simple, Lennie is very forgetful and cares very much for his friend, George. He relies on George for almost everything, and trusts him completely. He doesn’t acknowledge his own strength, and because of that many issues are caused. “Ain’t nobody goin’ to suppose no hurt to George”(PG 72) * “He shook her then…her body flopped like a fish…then she was still, for Lennie had broken her neck” (PG 91) Candy A veteran rancher, he works as a swamper on the ranch. Candy is the first one to introduce himself to Lennie and George as they arrive on the ranch. He joins in their dreams to own a ranch of their own, and even offers to pay for some of it and help out. He supports Lennie and George constantly throughout the novel, and always takes their side.
He also cares very much about his companion, an old dog. Who is shot in the back of the head by Carlson, who assumes that because he is useless that he is no longer of use. . * “ ‘Let’s get it over with’ [Carlson] said…Candy said softly and hopelessly, ‘Awright-Take ‘im’ ” (PG 47) * “S’pose I went in with you guys. That’s three hundred an’ fifty bucks I’d put in” (PG 59) Curley’s Wife She dreams of being an actress, and living the good life. She never wanted to marry Curley, and she regrets ever making the decision.
The men on the ranch believe she’s a bit of a tart, because of the way she dresses and looks at the other ranchers. Because of that, she feels isolated and frustrated that she cannot talk to anyone other than Curley. She ends up being killed by Lennie, right after telling him all about her and her dreams. * “I coulda made somethihn’ of myself…a show come through, an’ I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show… If I’d went, I wouldn’t be livin’ like this, you bet” (PG 88) * “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while? ” (PG 77) 1.
In the wilderness, away from the city a. “the damp flats are covered with the night tracks of ‘coons…split wedge tracks of deer” (PG 1) 2. California, pacific coast b. “The strong and rocky Gabilan mountains” (PG 1) 3. Sun is still powerful during the day c. “the water is warm” (PG 1) 1. Autum a. “Leaves lie deep and so crisp” (PG 1) 2. Post industrial revolution b. “thrashing machines” (PG 8) 3. 20th Century c. “Bastard bus driver” 1. Travel a lot, don’t have many belongings a. “Unslung his bindle” (PG 3) 2. Don’t have much money b. “Well, we ain’t got any [ketchup]” (PG 3.
Comfortable traveling around, used to sleeping outside. c. “made their beds on the sand” (PG 16) * Symbolizes the needlessness of useless things and foreshadows Lennie’s death. * Symbolizes the isolation of the ranchers, Crooks, and Curley’s wife, in the novel. * Symbolizes lust and temptation to sin in the novel. Red is the colour of blood (to symbolize the deaths in the novel) and red is also the colour worn by Curley’s wife. * Symbolizes the flickering, and delicate dreams of the ranchers and Curley’s wife. * Symbolizes the diversity at the ranch, and how there are all types of men there.