Names are significant in Of Mice and Men for a number of reasons. First, they help to establish the setting of the story which is during the Great Depression. This is evident in the names of the characters such as George, Lennie, Curley, and Slim. These names are not particularly unique or interesting, but they convey a sense of realism and ordinariness that is appropriate for the time period.
Second, the names of the characters often reveal something about their personalities or physical characteristics. For example, Lennie is large and strong but also childlike and innocent. Curley is small and aggressive. Slim is tall and thin. And George is intelligent and resourceful. By understanding something about the characters from their names, readers are able to connect with them on a deeper level.
Finally, the names in Of Mice and Men also symbolize different things. For instance, Lennie’s name may represent the idea of nobility or strength, while Curley’s name symbolizes physical size. By understanding the symbolism behind the names, readers are able to gain a greater understanding of the themes of the novel.
Overall, the names in Of Mice and Men play an important role in establishing setting, revealing character traits, and conveying symbolic meaning. By paying attention to these elements, readers are able to get a richer understanding of John Steinbeck’s classic novel.
Authors frequently use unusual names for their characters, as seen in the novel Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. However, it appears to be nothing more than a coincidence that they are named this way. Steinbeck assigns these particular names to his characters in order to display the significance of these people to society and capture their personality.
For example, the name “George” is extremely significant to the story. George is a small, yet quick-witted man who is always looking out for his best friend, Lennie. The name “George” itself means “farmer”. This is significant because it shows that despite being disadvantaged and poor, he still tries to make an honest living.
In contrast, the name “Lennie” has a much more negative connotation. Lennie is large and strong, but he is also mentally disabled. The name “Lennie” means “lion”, which ironically represents his physical strength, but not his mental capacity. This highlights the society’s perception of people with disabilities during the Great Depression era.
In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck uses names to give the reader a better understanding of the characters and their place in society. He shows that even though they are disadvantaged, they are still human beings with feelings and emotions.
The letters C, D, and E are also used as initials to symbolize Cain, who was a nomad from the Old Testament who was cursed by God that he would never be able to settle down due to his crimes of power. This indicates that the characters and Cain have a resemblance: they are unable to settle down but must constantly move from one place to another.
The characters in the novel are not given full names to strip them of their identity and individuality. By having limited or no information about a character, Steinbeck is able to encourage readers to empathise with the characters.
An example of this is ‘the Boss’, he has no name which immediately removed any sense of importance or value from him. This could be seen as a direct comparison to how migrant workers were treated during the great depression; they were considered expendable and had no legal rights.
Candy is an old, disabled man who works on the ranch; his name suggests that he is past his prime and nearing the end of his life. He lives in constant fear of being fired and being sent to the ‘Bummers’ camp, Candy is a representation of how ageism was rife during the great depression.
Crooks is a black stable buck who works on the ranch; he is kept separate from the white workers and isn’t allowed into the bunkhouse with them. His name suggests that he is bent or crooked, which could be in reference to his hunched back or his deformed hand. Steinbeck uses Crooks to highlight the racism that was present during the great depression.
Curley is the boss’s son; he is an aggressive man who likes to start fights. His name could be seen as a play on words, as it sounds similar to ‘curls’; this could be a reference to his curly hair or his aggressive nature. Curley is a representation of how violence was often used as a way to intimidate others.
Curley’s Wife is perhaps the most essential female character in the narrative, but she has no name. The most obvious explanation for why Steinbeck did this is that he was using a historical reference to the American community, where women were regarded as male property.
When thinking about the time period in which this book was set, it is essential to remember that America was in the midst of The Great Depression. This meant that many people were living below poverty lines and as a result, women were often forced into marriages or relationships with men who could provide for them. In many cases, these women were treated as property rather than human beings.
By not giving Curley’s wife a name, Steinbeck is emphasizing her lack of individuality and independence. She is defined solely by her relationship to Curley – she is his wife and nothing more. This is further emphasized by the fact that almost everyone in the novel refers to her simply as “Curley’s wife”. She is never given a chance to develop as a character beyond being Curley’s wife and this ultimately leads to her tragedy.
While Steinbeck’s decision to not give Curley’s wife a name may be seen as a way of highlighting her lack of autonomy, it could also be interpreted as a sign of respect. In many cultures, it is considered disrespectful to refer to someone by their first name if you are not close to them. By not giving her a name, Steinbeck may be showing that he is not particularly close to her and is therefore not comfortable referring to her by her first name.
Whether Steinbeck’s decision was intentional or not, the fact remains that the lack of a name for Curley’s wife is significant. It serves as a reminder of the treatment of women during this time period and highlights the ways in which they were often seen as property rather than human beings. It also emphasizes the tragedy of her character – she is never given a chance to develop beyond being Curley’s wife and this ultimately leads to her downfall.