This conflict and turmoil Is caused by two distinct and contrasting natures of humankind: cruelty, and hope. However, Steinbeck uses these literary tools to specifically emphasize the perpetual victory of mankind’s cruel side. Using tone, Steinbeck is able to express man’s true cruel nature. As he describes Curlers wife’s corpse, “And the meanness and the planning and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face. She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young.
Now her rouged cheeks and her reddened lips made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly (Steinbeck 90). Steinbeck uses repetition in the first sentence, so that he can highlight the numerous qualities of Curlers Wife that disappear along with her pitiful life. Notice the fact that Steinbeck doesn’t even refer to curlers Wife’s real name, but Just the fact that she belongs to Curler. The sass’s were a time period before women’s suffrage had come through, and the misogynistic ideals of people at the time prove man’s inability to treat others respectfully and equally.
Steinbeck also simplifies his writing style here, to show that curlers Wife’s life was so lamentable, that death was more merciful for her than life itself. Furthermore, the concept of Social Darwinism comes into play. The strong survive, while the weak are forced to adapt. This can be further taken into account during George’s tirade, like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong to no place” (Steinbeck 15). Steinbeck Is voicing George with a much more rough, ragged tone, to show that George has been through a lot of suffering.
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The social hierarchy at the time of the Great Depression is quite ironic, in the fact that the upper echelon of society felt loneliness and tries to cover up that hollowness with material possessions and money; and the poor compensated for their Isolation by looking for others. Yet, the middle-class feels loneliness too. s George clearly says, Men are too worried about survival and their own lives, rather than looking out for one another. This again validates the notion that mankind’s real nature is that of a cruel one. Another major literary element Steinbeck employs Is foreshadowing.
The first major instance where this tool is used is where George and Leonie first encounter Slim, who says that out of nine puppies born to his female dog, that, drowned four of ‘me right off. She couldn’t feed that many (Steinbeck 35). Dogs dying the story ‘Off lack of strength. Slim has to drown some of the puppies, simply because there were o many born, and the four smaller ones were killed off. The writer also develops this idea by comparing Leonie to Candy dog, which was shot simply Candy dog had gotten old and sick.
Leonie and Candy dog are killed in similar fashion: a single shot. This confirms the meaninglessness of some lives in society, and how quickly humans will continue on with their daily lives, not bothering to give a second thought about the deaths of others. Later on when Leonie realizes he has killed his beloved puppy, “He scooped a little hollow and laid the puppy in it and covered it over with ay, out of sight; but he continued to stare at the mound he had made” (Steinbeck 83).
The narration Steinbeck uses here is almost identical to the way he later describes the way Curlers Wife dies. Both the puppy and Curlers Wife were killed by Leonie accidentally, and laid to rest in the hay. Lien’s inability to comprehend is made obvious when he doesn’t lament over the fact that he took away lives, but because of the fact that George will be mad at him. Dogs and Curlers Wife are both metaphors of the hopelessness and deprived state of death, which people are ignorant too. Leonie is the epitome of the passive nature humans have with death.
If death happens, it happens. The final literary tool Steinbeck uses consistently uses is symbolism. Numerous objects or people are used throughout the novel, and all are applied to convey the meaning of man’s hopeless state. This decay of the American Dream can be demonstrated most efficiently with George telling Leonie of their dream of owning the ranch, where he says, we’re goanna get the Jack together and we’re goanna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs (Steinbeck 15). The sentence structure here is loose and simple, with George peaking quite simply.
The way he speaks so simply reminds that one of a child, which can be used to argue the naiveté of George and Lien’s dream. This dream is so ideal, it captivates the attention of several others looking for something worthwhile in life, like Candy, who is lonely after the loss of his beloved canine companion, and Crooks, who seeks refuge from racial persecution. The farm is a symbol of the lack of compassion, freedom, and hope from the world at this time. Another commonly recurring theme within the novel is not Just the lack of hope, but the absence of power from the middle and lower classes.
When Leonie laments the mice he would pet when he was younger, he says, pet them, and pretty soon they bit my finger and I pinched their heads a little and then they was dead- because they was so little (Steinbeck 11). Using childish and immature sounding dialogue allows the reader to accept the simplicity of the principles and themes Steinbeck attempts to substantiate. These mice, along with other animals in the book like the dogs, symbolize weaker members of society. As animals are mice, dogs, and other animals are inferior to men, the same rule can be applied with the poor and the rich.
Leonie is stronger, and can effortlessly kill such small organisms like the mice, which struggle in vain due to his vastly superior strength and size. Lien’s lack of intellect, however, and mental inferiority leads to his eventual demise. Steinbeck presents the tools of symbolism, tone, and foreshadowing in order to illustrate his point of humankind’s sole and true nature: cruelty. Mankind has always soon forget moments later. It is this unintentionally cruel nature of people that has prevented mankind from morally progressing forward, while technology moves on.