How is insecurity depicted in Of Mice and Men?

Quick answer:

As suggested by the question, insecurity is a common theme in Of Mice and Men. One can argue that insecurity is demonstrated through Curley's wife, Candy, Crooks and Slim. Curley's wife is insecure because she has failed to live up to her own dreams. She finds herself alone with no one to talk to or look after Curley but herself. Candy is insecure because he has no job that he likes and his age is catching up with him. Crooks feels insecure because of his race and disability which make him feel inferior among other workers. Slim feels insecure about having no future and living in the present moment because he does not have any goals or dreams for the future.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think that insecurity is demonstrated in a prominent manner through the characters in Of Mice and Men.  The condition in which all of the men live, one in which financial autonomy and security are near impossible to hold, are realities steeped in insecurity.  The fact that so many of the men come to the ranch, generate what they can, and then leave contributes to an overall state of being that is insecure and uncertain.  The men seem to be plagued with this reality because it represents their own sense of being in the world, one in which financial, personal, and social insecurity all converge upon one another.  I think that Curley, even though he is immune to this insecurity with his position on the ranch, suffers from insecurity in being of small stature and being married to a woman who has little problem in being flirtatious.  Curley is driven by his insecurity to constantly know where his wife is and with whom she is with.  It is evident that marriage has created a condition whereby Curley has "ants in his pants," or representative of his insecurity.  For his part, Curley's wife is insecure because her own life has not matched up to her own dreams.  Her lack of companionship and futility have contributed to her own insecurity, perhaps explaining why she has to seek company out and cause Curley's insecurity level to rise.  If George and Lennie demonstrate a sense of the insecure, it would be in the anticipation and hopes of getting their own stake together and owning a place of their own, a dream that, by the end, has moved from insecure to secure in the knowledge that it will never happen for the two of them together.


See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial