Discuss the Significance of the Barn Throughout of Mice and Men

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Discuss the significance of the barn in ‘Of Mice and Men’ Throughout ‘Of Mice and Men’ the barn is a key factor. Its’ importance ties in with some of the themes from the novel i.e. loneliness. Other themes such as death run right through the novel and the barn is right at the heart of it all. At first Steinbeck portrays the barn as a liminal space – a place for outsiders – but in the latter chapters of the book we realise the importance of this key location. Steinbeck briefly mentions the barn in Chapter 3 but in chapter 4 we recognise it properly for the first time and we realise the significance of it. Is Steinbeck trying to foreshadow what’s to come in Chapter 5 or is he simply emphasising the importance of this location. As mentioned above one of the main themes running through the novel is loneliness. This crucial theme links together three of the characters – Lennie, Crooks and Curley’s Wife. All three of them go to the barn – their safe place – to get away and to relax. They each feel alone, isolated and neglected however when they go to the barn, those feelings are forgotten. They are all outsiders. They are all, in turn, escaping from their problem and they all end up in the barn. The barn is like their home and it is in fact Crooks’ home. As Crooks has faced so much discrimination and racism in his life he has turned aggressive and impolite. He was forced to live and work alone – isolation – and because of this when anyone does try to talk to him he snaps at them. ‘Crooks said sharply, “You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me.”‘ This passage from the text illustrates what loneliness has done to Crooks. Just like Crooks Curley’s Wife and Lennie are both lonely too. The barn is where they all feel safe. Even Curley’s Wife. She feels safe enough there to share all her secrets with Lennie and its where

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