Disappointment in Steinbeck's of Mice and Men

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Prominent themes of disappointment exist in John Steinbeck’s award winning novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. They are as deeply rooted in the story as the plot itself and as superficial as the individual character’s qualms. It is fitting, as the tragedy is set in the universally disappointing Great Depression and documents the lives of two migrant workers with a seemingly unattainable dream. However, the main characters, George Milton and Lennie Small, are not the only ones with a reason to be disappointed. Steinbeck masterfully interweaves the dashed hopes and dreams of all his characters to create a community of hopeless ranch hands and regretful wannabe actresses. Crooks, Curly and Candy are among those whose lives are filled with disappointment, for reasons ranging from seclusion and exclusion for Crooks, to physical appearance and handicaps for Candy and Curly, among other things. Curly is the boss’s son, condemned to a comfortable life in high heeled boots, separated from the ranch’s other occupants by a wall of wealth and status. He is insecure with himself because of his small stature and “tart” wife and often lashes out at others, primarily big guys. Candy explains this by saying that Curly is “like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys…he’s mad at ‘em because he ain’t a big guy,” (Steinbeck, Page 26). He is unable to seek reassurance from the other men on the ranch because they are, in a way, afraid of him because of the power he holds over them by being the boss’s son. Curly is lonely as he cannot socialize with the men in a carefree way, nor can he be entirely comfortable with his wife, who was never truly in love with him. However, the reader is never asked to sympathize with Curly, nor does the author ever portray his disappointment in a straightforward way, opting instead to make him angry and confrontational to show that
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