What technique is used in the quote: "I jus’ come there,” he said. “I didn’t hear nothing you guys was sayin’. I ain’t interested in nothing you was sayin’. A guy on a ranch don’t...

What technique is used in the quote:

"I jus’ come there,” he said. “I didn’t hear nothing you guys was sayin’. I ain’t interested in nothing you was sayin’. A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ast no questions.”

This is from Of Mice and Men.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Let’s start with the quote:
The old man looked uneasily from George to Lennie, and then back. “I jus’ come there,” he said. “I didn’t hear nothing you guys was sayin’. I ain’t interested in nothing you was sayin’. A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ast no questions.”

The one who speaks these words is Candy. He is eavesdropping on a conversation between Lennie and George. Witting or unwitting, we do not know. In the end, it was harmless. Candy is just lonely.

This is one of the main themes of the book. There is little in terms of friendship; there is no community. And even if people live close to each other, there is alienation. The words of Candy show this point with clarity. He just came here. He did not hear anything. He is not interested in anything. In a word, he does not exist. This is the sad plight of the migrant workers. Therefore, what separate George and Lennie from other is their friendship.

Now we can talk about technique. What we have here is colloquial speech. It is not hard to see that Steinbeck used the language of the people, rather than correct grammar. Second, we have use of asyndeton. There is not a single conjunction in Candy’s words. We also have a few double negatives, which do not make positives, but emphasize whatever is being said. That the language limps along adds to the effect of alienation. Candy probably did not have too many conversations.

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