Powerlessness in “Of Mice And Men”

“Of Mice and Men” , written in 1937, is set in America during the Great Depression and tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced ranch workers who move from place to place in search of jobs. All of the characters in Of Mice and Men are most definitely not powerless. Curly’s wife has control over the other ranchers despite being a female, Lennie though unintelligent has power through his physical strength and George, who although has Lennie to take care of can make his own decisions and live independently.

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First and foremost, Curly’s wife is not powerless because she has supreme authority over the ranchers. Although she is a female, all Curly’s wife has to do is complain to Curly about one of the ranchers and they’re canned, “…Curly maybe ain’t gonna like his wife out in the barn…”. Subsequently, Curly’s wife has authority over Crooks because he is a negro. She could not only get him canned, but killed, “I could get you strung up in a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.” Curly’s wife is certainly not powerless in Of Mice and Men.

Furthermore, Lennie is not helpless because of his physical strength. Despite him not being the smartest tool in the shed by a long shot, Lennie still has power over the other ranchers because of his massive strength. “The next minute Curly was flopping like a fish on a line, and his fist was lost in Lennie’s big hand.” Moreover, because of his strength he can “buck barley” exceptionally well, meaning that without too much trouble he and George are able to find jobs, “Maybe he ain’t bright, but I never seen such a worker.” Lennie is absolutely not debilitated in Of Mice and Men.

Penultimately, George is not disempowered because he can make his own decisions and be independent. Without a doubt George is affected by having to take care of Lennie, but he also could live fine on his own, “…if I was alone I could live so easy.” Additionally, although Lennie is a burden in many ways he also empowers George because he is stupid. George can tell Lennie to do whatever he likes, and Lennie will do it, “I turns to Lennie and says, ‘Jump in.’ An’ he jumps.” George is unmistakably not impotent in Of Mice and Men.

Conclusively, not all characters in Of Mice and Men are powerless. Curly’s wife has unquestionable power over the ranchers, Lennie has power through his supreme strength and George has power through Lennie and his own ability to survive. How can anyone say that all the characters in Of Mice and Men are powerless?

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