Which characters are the most disadvantaged in the novel Of Mice and Men?

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lsumner's profile pic

lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In Of Mice and Men, four characters are most disadvantaged. First, Lennie is mentally handicapped. He has the mind of a child. He lives and works in a man's world, but he functions as a child. He is constantly in trouble. He makes immature decisions which create difficulties in his life. Although he works hard, Lennie is weakened by his immaturity:

Lennie is a good worker and has the strength to do much of the farm work. Yet, handicapped by his lack of adult intelligence, Lennie is doomed in the world of the migrant worker.

George is often frustrated with Lennie because of his immature actions. Lennie definitely finds himself disadvantaged.

Candy is at a disadvantage. He lost a hand in his work on a ranch. Now, he cleans up the bunkhouse. He feels threatened as far as his job is concerned:

Candy is the old, disabled ranch hand who is helpless to stop the shooting of his dog and who knows that he too will be banished when he is no longer useful.

Candy realizes that he is not as useful as he once was. He is disadvantaged in his crippled situation.

Crooks is at a disavantage because he is black. He is ostracized by some of the other white ranch hands. He has to sleep in separate quarters:

Crooks, the despairing old Negro stable worker, lives alone in the harness room, ostracized from the ranch hands.

Also, Crooks is not invited to join the others in their pleasurable activites such as playing games. His opinion does not count among the other ranch hands.

Curley's wife finds herself at a disadvantage. She is the only female on the ranch. She lives a lonely existence. Her husband keeps her isolated from others. She has to deal with Curley's possessive nature. She lives a miserable life. She only dreams about the days she could have been an actress. She flirts with the other men due to her loneliness:

Curley's wife (as the boss's son's flirtatious wife, she is not identified by any other name) wanders around the ranch searching for some human contact. She is stereotyped by the men as a "tart." Indeed, she plays the vamp, which enrages her jealous husband. George tells Lennie to avoid her, calling her "poison" and "jailbait." But she is pathetically lonely and had once had dreams of being a movie star.

She lives a life filled with disadvantages.

Sources:
agent21's profile pic

agent21 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

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George and Lennie are two migrant agricultural workers on a California ranch who share a dream of owning their own farm someday. They take jobs at a ranch where their hopes are at first raised but then destroyed by a tragic accident. Steinbeck depicts George and Lennie as two innocents whose dream conflicts with the realities of a world dominated by materialism and greed. Their extraordinary friendship distinguishes them from other hopeless and lonely migrant farm workers. The novel portrays a class of ranch workers in California whose plight had been previously ignored in the early decades of the twentieth century.

 

agent21's profile pic

agent21 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

George and Lennie are two migrant agricultural workers on a California ranch who share a dream of owning their own farm someday. They take jobs at a ranch where their hopes are at first raised but then destroyed by a tragic accident. Steinbeck depicts George and Lennie as two innocents whose dream conflicts with the realities of a world dominated by materialism and greed. Their extraordinary friendship distinguishes them from other hopeless and lonely migrant farm workers. The novel portrays a class of ranch workers in California whose plight had been previously ignored in the early decades of the twentieth century.

 

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