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Cyclical Structure In "Of Mice And Men"

645 words - 3 pages

The novel "Of Mice and Men" written by John Steinbeck in 1937 is a short novel about the story of two migrant workers living in California. They travel from town to town looking for work at ranches and farms. Steinbeck follows the two migratory workers who dream of saving enough money to buy their own land and finally settling down. One of the main characters is George Milton, an angry, hopeless, and brusque man, who is the leader of the duo. The other half of the duo is Lennie Small, who is oversized, mentally challenged, physically powerful, and inclined to getting into serious trouble. In the novel there are multiple occurrences of repeating patterns and events. Steinbeck effectively uses cyclical patterns throughout his novel to thoughtfully portray its themes.
In section four of the novel Steinbeck uses a cyclical pattern to depict feelings of hope and companionship. Section four begins with Crooks, a stable hand, rubbing liniment on his spine alone ...view middle of the document...

Later, Curley's wife approaches the three men asking if they have seen her husband. Candy asks her to leave insisting the men want nothing to do with her, but she refuses. After further berating the men Curley's Wife becomes angry and says to Crooks, "I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny" (Steinbeck 81). At this moment Crooks reduced himself to nothing as all his hopes were destroyed. This moment brings the cycle full circle leaving Crooks exactly where he began in section four. Steinbeck shows the reader this through using the same image as the introduction, thus leaving Crooks in his shack applying liniment to his back alone.
Steinbeck also uses cyclical structure in order to make strong parallels between characters. Lennie and Candy's dog both have strong similarities presented to the reader through the cyclical structure of the novel. Lennie is George's companion, the same way Candy and his dog are companions. Both Lennie and Candy's dog rely on someone. Candy's dog relies on him for food, water, and shelter. While Lennie relies on George for guidance in everyday life. Candy's dog was killed by Carlson because he was too old to work and also in bad health. The reader is shown that Candy regrets letting someone else put down his dog when he says, "I oughtta shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't oughtta let no stranger shoot my dog" (Steinbeck 61). Similarly after Lennie kills Curley's wife George knew he had to kill Lennie himself or else Lennie would face Curley's vengeance. All of these similarities are shown to the reader through the cyclical pattern of events within the novel surrounding the characters Lennie and Candy's dog.
Steinbeck's successful usage of cyclical structure allows a more effective and powerful depiction of the novel's themes. Steinbeck also uses cyclical patterns to show similarities between characters. The cycle involving Crooks is an excellent portrayal of the influential hope theme. Also the similarities between Lennie and Candy's dog are successfully represented through cyclical events. The usage of cyclical patterns is a creative and beneficial writing strategy that is useful in many situations.

Work Cited
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1993. Print.

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