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How is the world in 'Of mice and men' portrayed as brutal and indifferent? 

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ritibahl | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 28, 2013 at 3:33 PM via web

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How is the world in 'Of mice and men' portrayed as brutal and indifferent? 

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gojsawyer | Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:16 PM (Answer #1)

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One way in which the world in “Of Mice and Men” is portrayed as brutal and indifferent is in Lennie’s killing of small animals. The world is portrayed as brutal because Lennie is characterized as an oaf and a brute. He is big, somewhat bumbling, and uncontrollable. His killing of animals so much smaller than he is suggests a certain desensitizing to violence and lack of regard and accountability for his behavior. The world is portrayed as indifferent because Lennie can only objectify the small animals for his own pleasure in regaling and petting them for their softness. Yet, he cannot contextualize or control his impulses or his supposed accidents that end in the tragic taking of lives. He cannot see outside of himself from the perspective of other living beings, a flaw that reflects both the brutality and indifference in his world and in the world-at-large.

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