What are some representations of IDENTITY in the novella "Of Mice and Men"?
I know there are representations of class, gender, race, handicapped identity, but I'd like some information on the specific representations of these.
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The most important aspects of identity are related to social class and animal symbolism (anthropomorphism). Steinbeck sets up a social class hierarchy on the ranch based on the white male's work status:
THE RULING CLASS:
1. The Boss
THE WORKING CLASS:
4. Carlson, Whit
5. George / Lennie (Lennie is in two classes, really. He does the work of two men in the fields, but in the bunkhouse, he's like a child)
6. Candy (old, missing hand)
7. Lennie (mentally disabled)
8. Curley's wife (a woman in a man's world)
9. Crooks (lives alone because of his race)
In terms of animal symbolism, here are the connections:
Lennie: identified as a bear early by the size of his hands. Also connected to mice and puppies (which he kills). Later, dreams of tending rabbits. Thinks he sees a giant rabbit, symbolic of his Id, or pleasure principal.
George: not identified with much animal symbolism, but he's small and crafty (fox?).
Slim: identified by the team of horses he drives. A leader. The hero of the novella
Curley: hates big fellas, so he's got a Jack Russell (little dog) complex.
Curley's wife: becomes like the dead mice and puppy that Lennie kills. Dies in the barn like an animal.
Candy: identified by his old smelly dog, which gets shot by Carlson
Crooks: crooked back like the mule that kicks him. Lives in the stable next to the mules.
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