Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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4. Characters in Conflict

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck, 1937
Famous for: Bunnies, an “interesting” perspective on women, a horrible, tragic ending.

Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men explore similar character conflictsIt’s pretty simple. There’s George. There’s Lennie. Then there are the folks that George and Lennie meet on the ranch. John Steinbeck populates Of Mice and Men with simple people simply trying to survive.

They may quarrel. They may fight. But the characters in Of Mice and Men are, nevertheless, united…in their loneliness, their powerlessness, and their yearning for a better life.

(For more on that, click here.)


 

The Girls of No Return: When close-knit characters turn on each other.

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George, Lennie, Candy, Slim, Curley, Curley’s wife, and Crooks.

Those are your cast members: Two main characters (George and Lennie) and the personalities they meet on the ranch.

Now, like I said, these guys don’t really get along. Candy’s an old man, and he’s afraid he’s about to be given the boot because of his age. Curley’s the boss’s son, a bad-tempered, jealous guy who’s always afraid that the other men—like Slim, the main mule driver—are messing around with his wife. Curley’s wife is a temptress who’s looking for attention. And Crooks is crippled—and the only black man on the ranch.

But if you want to remember anything about these characters, remember this:

In spite of their fighting, they’re united in their loneliness, their powerlessness, and their desire for a better life.

Remember this, too: Loneliness, powerlessness, and that desire for something better are also the characteristics that determine these characters’ actions. And that’s important because their actions—and interactions—help reinforce Steinbeck’s themes …which you’ll hear more about in Recap 6. (It’s about themes in Of Mice and Men.)

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck | 60second Recap study guide resources

 

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