Where is power located in Of Mice and Men?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To a large extent, the conditions of Steinbeck's work really lacks power.  This is what makes the narrative so compelling and equally sad, in that there is a negation of power elements in this setting.  One location of power is where money is.  Curley and Curley's wife both enjoy power because of the money they have in owning the ranch, and the money that they are able to pay out to the workers.  This is where one location of power lies.  When George thinks about the dream of owning his farm with Lennie, part of what attracts him to it is the idea that he would be economically autonomous, representing the idea that money equals power.

Another conception of power offered is the ability to act.  From a physical sense, Lennie has some level of power because he can act in a physically powerful manner, whether it is seen in crushing Curley's fist or producing a great deal of output in terms of work on the farm.  Additionally, in the scene where Lennie is alone with Curley's wife, he possesses physical power over her when he holds her hair and when he tries to silence her.  In this same conception, Carlson represents power because of his ability to act with a gun, demonstrated in the way he seizes the opportunity in the third chapter to put down Candy's dog.  In contrast, Candy lacks power because he lacks the will to act.  In a similar manner, George possesses a degree of power in the ending of the novella when he puts down Lennie, something that startles him, leaving him hollow and empty at the end, requiring Slim to steady him.  In these visions, different visions of power are evident and located in the work.

oldspice999 | Student

Thanks for the answer Akannan, much appreciated! Also, I forgot to mention what are the ways 'Power' is presented in Of Mice and Men and are there any other types of power?

amar-ali278 | Student

In George's trousers