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What is the main conflict in "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck?

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lulu-wakowski... | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2011 at 9:24 AM via web

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What is the main conflict in "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 3, 2011 at 6:17 AM (Answer #1)

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There are two main conflicts in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. One conflict is an internal one: Man verses Himself; the other conflict is external: Man verses Man.

In regard to the internal conflict, George feels responsible for Lennie. He made a promise to Lennie's aunt which forces George to care for Lennie.  This conflict is highlighted through Lennie's, inevitable, getting into trouble.  The problems that Lennie cause force George to feel held back and unable to move on for himself. In the end, George must come to terms with what is best for Lennie.

In regard to the external conflict, Man verses Man, this is exampled in many different ways throughout the novel. 1) Lennie against Curley. 2) Lennie against George. 3) Lennie against Curley's Wife. 4) George and Lennie against Society.  While examples 1-3 are basic physical conflicts, example 4 is not.  Lennie and George are conflicted with society as a while because they cannot find a place where they fit in.  They, like many ranchers at the time, would find work, make enough money to move on, and leave.  George and Lennie wanted more; they wanted a place to call their own.  Unfortunately, there is no place for them.

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missladybug | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 18, 2011 at 10:10 AM (Answer #2)

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The conflict is that Lenny is always holding George back,and George is always trying to be Lennys guide or father figure. But, Lenny keeps getting in trouble, and sooner or later Goerge has to think and do things for himself.

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komal786 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted November 2, 2011 at 4:14 AM (Answer #3)

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when curley tries to hit lennie but lennie fights back

the use of language

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