John Steinbeck's use of Realism, Characterization, and Dreams in "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men"

2460 Words Apr 11th, 2006 10 Pages
John Ernst Steinbeck has written many award winning novels, some of which has even been produced as plays that captured audiences everywhere. Steinbeck wrote about real life experiences using realism, characterization, and dreams to emphasize his points and make an impact on his readers in order to reform or change society. The realism used in Steinbeck's works is not only effective in informing the reader of circumstances that should be changed, but this nineteenth century literary style also creates great feelings of empathy toward the characters and their dreams. Steinbeck used realism to convey his points for a purpose, and his main purpose was that he wanted something to be made known to the public. Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of …show more content…
The character of Crooks is used to symbolize the social standing of the black community occurring during the time at which the novel is set. Crooks is a lonely African American on the farm that feels out of place. As George and Lennie explain their dream to Crooks he brushes them off and says that no one around here can implement their dreams. This realism gives the reader an impression that Crooks has absolutely no hope. However, Crooks may be pessimistic, but yet even he has a dream, which is the hope of one day experiencing the joys of his childhood again. Crooks' character is portrayed as very lonely in the novel, this is evident when Crooks explains, "A guy needs someone." (Mice 77). Crooks is telling the reader the need of human interaction. This realism that Steinbeck uses shows the reader the harsh realities of the black community during the time of the depression in the 1930's

Steinbeck not only uses realism to make an impact on his readers but he also uses strong characterization to his advantage as well (Howard). By using characters such as Ma Joad and Curley's wife, he is able to personalize the novel for the reader. This technique that Steinbeck uses makes the reader feel like he/she can relate with the characters' struggles, therefore, creating a greater sense of understanding toward the characters' situations (Horn). These two characters can best be described as strong, courageous, and they show great amounts of…