Of MIce and Men Naturalism

Decent Essays
John Steinbeck 's novel Of Mice and Men is a famous Naturalist work in American literature. Various elements of Naturalism is exhibited in this novel through its character types and story plot. Charles Darwin, an English Naturalist proposed a theory called natural selection, meaning that nature selects the best adapted varieties to survive and reproduce. Darwin also identified this theory as survival of the fittest. Steinbeck incorporated this belief of natural selection in many instances throughout Of Mice and Men using characters and their circumstances. One character named Candy has an injury and is old in age. They were leading factors in his fear of being unemployed. His dog’s old age and uselessness also resulted in its death.…show more content…
Another example of Naturalism is the death of Candy 's dog. Candy 's dog was old and sick with rheumatism. All the men recommended to shoot the dog because it would not be beneficial to anybody. "‘He ain 't no good to you, Candy. An ' he ain 't no good to himself. Why 'n 't you shoot him, Candy?...You wouldn 't think it to look at him now, but he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen’" (Steinbeck 44). Candy 's dog was useful in the past when he was a sheep herder. He was young and energetic, but he started to age and was infected by disease. Candy 's dog depicts natural selection because as his effectiveness on the ranch declines, the need for him decreases as well, resulting in a different dog to take his place. Candy’s dog was not able to endure the competition because he did not have the best adapted varieties to survive.
In this novel, Darwin 's speculation of natural selection is demonstrated through Lennie 's mental condition. His condition was a catalyst for all the predicaments he caused for himself and George. Although Lennie has an abundance of physical power, he lacks knowledge and common sense. "’Maybe he ain’t bright, but I never seen such a worker. He damn near killed his partner buckin’ barley. There ain’t nobody can keep up with him...Sure he’s jes’ like a kid. There ain’t no more harm in him than a kid neither, except he’s so strong’" (Steinbeck 39-43). Lennie being mentally handicapped illustrates survival of the fittest because
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