Of Mice and Men, is a short novel by Steinbeck that has managed to create an impact that is very powerful. It takes place besides the Salinas River at the time of the Great Depression. In this novel several characters are physically and mentally impaired, a theme that the author create to make the reader understand the character. For instance Lennie is mentally deficient, a situation that should make the reader sympathise with him. George is terse, impatient and hot tempered while Candy an old man operates with one hand.
One of the principal characters in the novel Of Mice and Men is Lennie, however Winks and John, (20) describes him as the least dynamic. Throughout the story there is no major change, growth or development in his life. Steinbeck portrays Lennie as doomed from the beginning of the story and readers should sympathise with him. The author achieves this by creating a character that is helpless; he is very defenceless. For instance he is unable to avoid the dangers that Curley, the wife of Curley and the rest of the world presents him. He appears innocent which portrays his pure goodness. He is so devoted to his farm vision that he convinces Crooks, George, Candy and the audience that it is possible to have such a paradise. However the author sets up him for disaster and his innocence only allows his inevitable destruction.
George is a character who is short-tempered, a close friend of Lennie. The character is at times terse and impatient but he does not forget his main role of protecting Lennie (Winks and John, 43). As the story progresses, George is seen to change, as in one instance he tells Slim that he abused Lennie but has later learnt that one should not take advantage of people who are weak. As the story begins, George seems to be an idealist. However, be believes in their vision of the farm. He dreams of living a comfortable life with Lennie free from people like Curley and his wife who are only there to cause trouble.
Candy is an old handyman who is aging and only has one hand as he lost the other during an accident. Candy is worried that his boss will see him as useless and asks him to leave the ranch. His past accomplishment and the emotional ties he is going through does not matter a lot. Candy’s old dog, that used to a good sheep herder, act as a reminder of the fate that fall on any person who is no longer useful. However, he takes a moment to think of his dream farm; the few acres that George and Lennie described as worthy of his savings. Like George, Candy hopes to have freedom of doing his work. He is so devoted to the idea that even after Curley’s wife is killed by Lennie he persuades George that they should buy the farm (Winks and John, 65).
The story has portrayed the characters as people with ability to achieve their dreams despite their disability. The author also presents a society that embraces the physically and mentally impaired as seen in George who believes in his friends dreams. However, the author is not kind in the way he portrays women. Throughout the story women are treated with hatred. Steinbeck shows women to be troublemakers who ruin the life of men. Curley’s wife is an example of this destructive trend as she makes her husband’s temper to worsen. The author is not fair as women are destined for greater things in future.