Symbolism and Historical Significance – Of Mice and Men Setting

Meaning and Historic Significance– Of Mice and Guys Setting

In the unique “Of Mice and Guy”, John Steinbeck uses a background setting which lets the reader know that the story could not take place anywhere else. Through complex description of the setting without presenting characters, the author offers the impression that the setting will straight affect the story.

A background setting is integral to the action of the story, unlike a background setting which forms a context for the story. To correctly examine the backdrop setting of the unique “Of Mice and Men” a discussion of the function, meaning, and historic significance of the setting need to take place.

By focusing on the setting in the very first couple of paragraphs of the book, the author sets the stage for what is going to occur. By using adjectives such as “green” and “deep” to describe the Salinas River, John Steinbeck creates a state of mind of mystery, unpredictability which something is going to be revealed. Through numerous landscape descriptions such as “golden foothill slopes” and “rocky Gabilan Mountains”, and a worn walkway beaten hard by “boys swimming” and “tramps looking for a campfire” duality is presented.

As Soon As George and Lennie go into the bunkhouse, Steinbeck makes it possible for the reader to imagine simply what the interior appear like. The bunkhouse is described as a “long rectangle-shaped building” with whitewashed walls, an unpainted flooring and little square windows. (Page 18) By detailing that each of the 8 bunks inside were similar to one other, and contained no individual designs, individuality appears non-existent.

The dull and dark atmosphere is very various from the gorgeous and brilliant landscape of the Salinas Valley. One can not help however to sense a sensation of loneliness, desperation, and seclusion, specifically when comparing the 2 landscapes. Unlike the reality of the bunkhouse and Salinas Valley, the dream ranch is a location of peace, harmony, and happiness.

Although the dream ranch is just an invention of their creativity, when George and Lennie speak about it, their spirits are lifted and a sense of determination comes over them. On their dream cattle ranch they will have independence and freedom, “Well”, said George.

“we’ll have a big vegetable spot and a rabbit hutch and some chickens.

And when it rains in the winter, we’ll simply say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the range and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof”

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Guy Setting, Page 16

In order to completely comprehend the message Steinbeck was trying to relay, a closer look must be taken at the symbolism of the setting.

In the first part of the book, Steinbeck explains in information the Salinas Valley. The reader can imagine the big “Gabilan Mountains” and “golden foothill slopes” (page 1-2). Excellent care is taken in creating symbolic location, which represents the “wild”. There is no mention of other humans present, other than for the two primary characters who have participated in the cleaning.

The reader is made known of the presence of bunnies, lizards, deer, pet dogs and “‘coons”. It is serene, calm in the wild but one must adjust to their environments, and there is no artificiality. The land is not always what it seems; there is more to it. Lennie is compared to a bear and his hands are called “paws”. Unlike the Salinas Valley, the bunkhouse is representative of a rural area.

The bunkhouse is introduced towards the middle of the book and is agent of a rural setting. Although people live and work there, it is still tranquil and serene. Signs such as trees, mountains, and valleys are present as in the wild, however human beings are now a part of the landscape.

With humans come emotions, conflict, insecurities, and discrimination. Lennie makes it clear to George that he is unpleasant by saying,

“I don’t like this location, George. This ain’t no excellent location. I wan na get outa here”

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Guy Setting, Page 32

Lennie wants to leave this place of “reality” and get away to their dream cattle ranch, which represents the supernatural.

Throughout the book, the reader is given in-depth information about Lennie and George’s dream ranch. This is representative of the “city”. A city is not just a place where there are tall buildings, uniqueness and is “hectic”, however likewise a location of artificiality. The dream cattle ranch exists just in their minds; it is not a genuine place.

It is where Lennie and George can escape to when they are feeling the pressures of real life.

“We ‘d just live there. We ‘d belong there. There would be no more runnin’ round the country and getting’ fed by a Jap cook. No, sir, we ‘d have our own place where we belonged and not oversleep no bunkhouse.”

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men Setting, Page 56

Steinbeck likewise utilizes historical reference utilizing signs in several places throughout the book.

The sycamore tree is an example of a biblical impression. Through reading the Bible, we understand that this tree is directly related to Jesus Christ and his arrival into Jerusalem. In addition, the story is embeded in the South, which is likewise known as the “Bible Belt”.

“A couple of miles south of Soledad”

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men Setting, Page 1

The duration in American history is considerable to totally understanding the setting.

Within the very first few pages of the book, the impression is given that it takes place throughout an age of the Great Anxiety called the “Dust Bowl”. Farmers lost a number of their crops due to dry spell and malfunctioning agricultural procedures.

This caused farmers losing their land, which forced farm hands and migrant workers to look for work in other places.

“An’ it ‘d be our own, an’ nobody might can us.”

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Guy Setting, Page 57

Lennie and George were victims to the high unemployment rate and traveled some range to deal with this new cattle ranch.

We understand that Lennie and George have actually simply left a ranch in Weed as George states to Lennie,

“Well– look, we’re gon na work on a ranch like the one we originate from up north”

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Guy Setting, Page 7

George likewise “offers” Lennie’s physical abilities to the brand-new employer by stating,

“He’s a great skinner. He can rassel grain bags, drive a grower. He can do anything. Just give him a shot”

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Male Setting, Page 22

All of the perspectives expressed above conclude that “Of Mice and Male” is an example of a backdrop setting.

Through symbolic location and elaborate description of the setting, the author clearly shows that the setting will directly affect the story. In summary, an analysis of the function, importance, and historic significance of the setting has actually been plainly gone over and defined in this essay. I completely took pleasure in reading “Of Mice and Guy” and look forward to further reading of John Steinbeck’s novels.

You Might Also Like