Essay on Power in of Mice and Men

1498 Words Mar 1st, 2013 6 Pages
By Maria Liddy

The theme of power is prevalent throughout the novel Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck uses various methods and techniques to establish the dynamics of power on the ranch. In the first extract, George and Lennie are in the brush and we get a strong sense of George’s parental control over Lennie, but it also shows how Lennie’s physical stature gives him a degree of power over George. In extract two we meet Curley for the first time, and his authority over the ranch workers is clearly asserted through the various ways in which Steinbeck describes him. And finally, in extract three, we see the first fight of the novel. The fight is very diverse in how it portrays power. At different stages in the fight some people have more
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This is shown through Lennie’s very simple language.
“..But it didn’t do no good”
Steinbeck also uses many question marks to show how Lennie is constantly asking questions and therefore constantly seeking guidance from George, and again, that’s what gives George the edge over Lennie.
When discussion moves to the bus tickets and work cards Lennie realises that he doesn’t have his. “He looked down at the ground in despair” which shows that he is ashamed and perhaps a little frightened of George’s reaction, but Steinbeck then goes on to say that George took responsibility for both of the work cards, knowing that Lennie could not be trusted. This, again, demonstrates the balance of power and shows that both George and Lennie are aware of how much power the other possesses.
After looking for his work card in his pocket, Lennie take out a mouse to which George replies sharply.
“What’d you take outta that pocket?”
George’s tone is accusatory which shows that he is astute. He then continues to bombard Lennie with questions, which gives Lennie the chance to demonstrate another type of power – his cunning. He attempts to deceive George.
“Ain’t a thing in my pocket”
Although childlike, this sentence shows that Lennie’s mind is able to think of plans. How would he keep the mouse? By attempting to deceive George. Eventually, George’s patience wears thin and he exclaims “Give it here!” shouting at Lennie like a parent.
Throughout the extract

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