Of Mice And Men And The Pearl: Characterization Essay

This essay has a total of 1863 words and 7 pages.

Of Mice And Men And The Pearl: Characterization

Of Mice and Men and The Pearl: Characterization

What is depth, and what does it mean? Depth is the extent, the intensity,
depth is a distinct level of detail. When someone talks about depth of
characterization, they are talking about the level of intensity that someone is
using in order to describe a character. John Ernst Steinbeck, in The Pearl, Of
Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath describes many of his main characters in
great depth.

Steinbeck and Characterization

What is depth, and what does it mean? Depth is the extent, the intensity, depth
is a distinct level of detail. When someone talks about depth of
characterization, they are talking about the level of intensity that someone is
using in order to describe a character. John Ernst Steinbeck, in The Pearl, Of
Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath describes many of his main characters in
great depth. In Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, a story of two traveling laborers
who are on their way to a job loading barley at a California ranch. The two most
important characters in the novel are George Milton and Lennie Small. They are
ordinary workmen, moving from town to town and job to job, but they symbolize
much more than that. Their names give us our first hints about them. One of
Steinbeck's favorite books when he was growing up was Paradise Lost by John
Milton. In this long poem, Milton describes the beginnings of evil in the world.
He tells of Lucifer's fall from heaven and the creation of hell. He also
describes Adam and Eve's fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. By giving George
the last name of Milton, Steinbeck seems to be showing that he is an example of
fallen man, someone who is doomed to loneliness and who wants to return to the
Garden of Eden. Perhaps this is why George is always talking about having his
own place and living "off the fat of the land," as Adam and Eve did before their
fall. Lennie is anything but small physically. He is a big man who is often
described with animal images. In the opening scene of the book his hands are
called paws and he snorts like a horse (Steinbeck, Mice 3). Yet Lennie is small
on brains and on responsibility. Someone has always taken care of Lennie and
done his thinking and talking for him. First his Aunt Clara looked after him,
and now George does. He is like a child, a term George uses several times in
describing Lennie to Slim. Lennie has a child's short attention span and
tendency to hang onto one idea stubbornly--the rabbits he will get to tend. He
is innocent and "has no meanness in him." In a sense, Lennie and George are both
small men. They will never be famous or amount to anything great. Even their
dream is a modest one. The ranch George is thinking about costs only $600. They
will have just a few chickens and pigs and, of course, rabbits(Steinbeck, Mice
56). They will not have to work real hard. George and Lennie are practically
opposites in the way they look and in their personalities. George is described
as small and quick with sharp features. Lennie is described as big, slow witted,
and shapeless of face. George can comfortably fit into the ranch hands' world.
He plays horseshoes with the others and goes along to the whorehouse on Saturday
night. Lennie plays instead with his puppy in the barn and spends Saturday night
in Crooks' room with the other outcasts - Crooks, Candy, and Curley's wife. Yet
it is very difficult to look at George and Lennie separately. Over and over,
under Lennie's prompting, George explains that their uniqueness lies in the fact
that they are together. As Lennie says (repeating George's words): "But not us!
An' why? Because... because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look
after you, and that's why." It is said that Sigmund Freud, the famous
psychoanalyst, has written that each person has two sides - the ego and the id.
The ego is the person's thinking side, the leader figure within him or her. The
id is the physical side of the person, the body and senses. George is obviously
the leader of the two men; he does all of their thinking. He remembers the
things that must be remembered and instructs Lennie about them. Lennie, on the
other hand, is all body. He "thinks" with his senses. The most important parts
of Lennie's body are his hands. He likes to touch soft things, and he does so
without thinking. That's why he keeps getting into trouble. Lennie crushes
Curley's hand with his hand, and breaks the necks of his puppy and Curley's wife
when his hands get the better of him. It is interesting to note that Lennie gets
in trouble only when George is not around. Steinbeck seems to be saying that a
body without a mind controlling it can easily get carried away. A person must be
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