The Development of Freedom and Confinement in Of Mice and Men

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The characters are confined by their circumstances, or by their identity, with the theme of one is never truly free.

Throughout the story, Steinbeck uses Curleyr’s Wife to show how being a woman confines her, and makes her feel lonely shown best by her interactions with Lennie. One of the first times this is displayed, is the reader gets a real interaction with her, and finally learns more about her, when she says, You bindle bums think youre so damn good. Whatta ya think I am, a kid? I tell ya I could of went with shows(Steinbeck 78). This shows that she regrets not going with ?one of the shows because she had opportunities there, where she doesnt have those opportunities on the ranch. Everyone treats her poorly, and unfairly because they dont want to get in trouble for talking to the boss daughter in law and she realizes that she probably couldve lived a better life, had she not married Curley. She had wanted to escape a life where she was confined by her mother, and ended up confined by her new life. Throughout the book Steinbeck continues this theme, through Curleyr’s Wife, however it is most prevalent when she herself points it out by saying,Why cant I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.(Steinbeck 86) She implies that she isnt allowed to talk to anyone, and states blatantly that sher’s lonely. This shows that the men confine her, that how independent she is allowed to be depends on Curley, and the other men in the bunkhouse. Soon after this, when Lennie still refuses to talk to her, Steinbeck says,Her face grew angry. Whar’s the matter with me? she cried. ?Aint I got a right to talk to nobody?(87) Sher’s upset that whor’s supposed to be the nicest guy on the ranch, still wont talk to her. She talks about her right to talk to people and how no one lets her exercise those rights. She suggests that her right to talk to others has been taken away from her and just wants to know why, and if she has something to do with it. This shows that no matter how hard she tries, the men in the bunkhouse will always push her into a life of loneliness, just because sher’s married to Curley. Being Curleyr’s Wife confines her to loneliness, a loneliness caused by her lack of freedom.

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Furthermore, the character Crooks also plays a role in illustrating freedom and confinement, due to being segregated from everyone, because of his race.

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