How significant is the theme of violence in "Of Mice and Men"?

2506 Words Nov 5th, 2007 11 Pages
The novel 'Of Mice and Men', written by John Steinbeck, is a tale of an extraordinary friendship between two ranch workers who fight for survival in the harsh times of the 1930s, the great depression of America. The essay concerns the role of violence throughout the novel and explores the theme of violence in different parts of the tale, as well as looking how specific characters use violence for different reasons. Specific areas of which the novel will explore are parts such as the death of Curlys wife, the fight between Curly and Lennie and the death of Lennie.

The content of the book as a strong historic and social element, as well as a literary one. The social element refers to the way they lived. This would have been poorly, as they
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After Carlson has belittled Curly by calling him weak, Curly feels foolish. This causes him to pick on a person weaker than him, as he feels he can rebuild his respect and keep his last little bit of dignity. This person happens to be Lennie.

'No big-son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me. I'll show ya who's yella'. This show Curly trying to show everyone that he is not weak, and that he is still in charge. He also uses the word 'yella' to insult Lennie with.

The fight between Lennie and Curly is a major point in the novel. This mid point to the story displays the most violence, aggression and emotive language in a single scene, and also sees the two most physical characters go head to head. On one side there is Curly - a psychotic mad man who craves violence and respect. On the other side there is Lennie - a simple, child minded man who would not whish to hurt anyone until he is forced to.

When Curly starts to attack Lennie, Lennie does not retaliate until George instructs him to. This is because Lennie's use of violence is unintentional. He does not use violence to hurt them on purpose, but will when he is forced to. In this case Lennie grabs Curly's hand. When this happens he panics. This causes him to hang on, and he will not let go until he calms down. This can also be seen in the incident at weed, when Lennie grabs a women's dress. In this incident, the woman yells. This causes Lennie to panic, and therefore he grabs tighter. This also