Naturalism is an artistic motion that rose a great contention between creative persons and authors. One of them was John Steinbeck, nevertheless many writers dared categorise him as realistic author. Even he asserted that he did non care about genre. I have hence decided to reply this research inquiry: How is Naturalism depicted in the character Lennie from the short novel Of mice and work forces of John Steinbeck?
This qualitative descriptive extended essay belongs to the class of literature. In this essay, I examine Naturalism and explicate its beginning and features. From amongst those features, I so analyze Lennie ‘s word picture and show the influence of Naturalism on it. For that ground, I divide my analysis into six parts, which do non entirely consist a literary analysis of narrative resources and literary devices, but besides they include a deep stylistic analysis that uses the curious linguistic communication use to explicate Lennie ‘s features.
Therefore, I demonstrate Lennie is a character that mirrors many realistic thoughts. One of them is the reality of Lennie, which depicts the objectiveness realistic authors are supposed to hold. Furthermore, I explain how Lennie is a item of the realistic statement that respects worlds as crude existences. Likewise, I so argue that Lennie has no free will and Acts of the Apostless after being influenced by his environment or his ain crude inherent aptitude, demoing one time more a realistic thought of determinism. Finally, after attesting that George does non impute any duty to Lennie for his bad actions, I prove another realistic statement that forbids writers from demoing any sort of moral judgement.
Table OF Contentss:
Chapter 1: Background to literary Naturalism p.5
Chapter 2: Naturalism in the character Lennie from Of mice and work forces p.7
Realistic features of Lennie p.7
Crude behavior of Lennie p.8
Animal Behaviour of Lennie p.9
Influence of the environment on Lennie p.11
No free will in Lennie p.12
No moral judgement on Lennie ‘s behavior p.14
BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES p.16
No uncertainty John Steinbeck was a hard-to-categorize writer. Many writers have regarded him as a realistic and a kind of romanticism author whereas others province that he is a realistic author. Steinbeck emerged from a universe of Experimentalism in which new signifiers of aesthetics and subjects were being created and assorted. Furthermore, this writer stated, in one of his letters, as cited by Fredik Eliasson[ 1 ], that he did non care about genre and, in another one, that a author ought to make all work himself, avoiding taking advice from others.
In the interim, American Naturalism was a literary motion lifting a great contention between bookmans. Darwin ‘s thoughts caused a big controversy, in which many people adopted and argued in favour of Naturalism. Then, in a universe heading for globalisation, why would John Steinbeck avoid being influenced by others?
Given the context, I have formulated the undermentioned research job: How is Naturalism depicted in the character Lennie from the novel Of mice and work forces of John Steinbeck? Throughout all this work I will seek to reply this inquiry. Therefore, it will be really of import to emphasize that this qualitative-descriptive drawn-out essay will non merely concentrate on detecting what realistic features are depicted in Lennie, but besides on what devices Steinbeck used to allow Lennie convey those characteristics. Furthermore, I would label this research as of import because this work will non merely concentrate on imagination and descriptions in the novel, but besides there will be a stylistic analysis, which will be much better than a simply stray literary analysis.
In this essay, I will demo how Steinbeck conveys some realistic thoughts through the character of Lennie of his novel Of mice and work forces. In the first chapter, I will analyze what Naturalism is and what its features are. After this brief definition, I will discourse how John Steinbeck conveys realistic thoughts in the word picture of Lennie, for which I will split this analysis into six parts. After that, I will do some decisions about it.
Chapter 1: Background to Naturalism
Naturalism is a literary motion that took topographic point between the late nineteenth century and the in-between twentieth. It stems, harmonizing to the “ The Oxford comrade to American literature ”[ 2 ], from Gallic literature, in which Emile Zola was the outstanding figure. This writer wanted to organize a literature ruled by scientific discipline, that is, a literature that was non traveling to be an art anymore, but a scientific discipline. He explicated his theory, as cited by Fredik Eliasson[ 3 ], in his vast survey “ Les Rougon-Macquart ” , in which human existences are regarded as “ human animals ” and he asserts that they can be studied through their relationships to their environment.
The old thoughts were on the footing of the philosophical philosophy of biological and societal determinism[ 4 ]. On the one manus, the former derived from Charles Darwin ‘s theory of development. Although he ne’er applied his theories to human behavior, they were used to analyze how one ‘s state of affairs was determined by biological facets[ 5 ]. On the other manus, the latter was influenced by the political orientation of Marx, which canvased the societal and political state of affairs of American urban life[ 6 ].
As set before, realistic plants were fundamentally defined by determinism. It stated that people are controlled by their inherent aptitude, their passions and their societal and economic environment[ 7 ]. Therefore, worlds should be considered as if they did non hold free will. Furthermore, determinism, as established by Kathryn VanSpanckeren, “ denies faith as a actuating force in the universe and alternatively perceives the existence as a machine, godless and out of control ”[ 8 ].
Then, due to the deficiency of free will, it would do no sense to judge human behavior, for world does non made determinations by itself. Zola, in his essay “ The experimental novel ” , related the scientific method to literary plants. He said: “ the experimental novelist is hence the 1 ( … ) who does non interpose his personal sentiments ”[ 9 ]. Therefore, novels had to be every bit nonsubjective as possible because realistic authors were supposed to offer a scientific position of world, in which neither an semblance nor a moral judgement had to be included[ 10 ].
Among subjects in Naturalism, the literary critic Walcutt could acknowledge four subjects: Determinism, endurance, force and tabu[ 11 ]. The subject of determinism has already been explained. The subject of survival roots from the application of determinism to biological competition, which points out work forces can, due to their beginning in animate beings, behave like them. The subject of force is related to survival, because as everybody tries to last, they have to damage each other in order to outlast. Finally, the last subject is forbidden, which includes sex, disease, bodily maps, lewdness and corruption.
On the whole, Naturalism respects worlds as existences fated to obey their natural inherent aptitude and environment, picturing a world in which they can non be criticized. Taking the information given into history, in the following chapter it will be seen that pragmatism, which is consequence of objectiveness, crude and carnal features, environmental influence and the deficiency of free will and moral judgement will be used to analyse the word picture of the character chosen.
Chapter 2: Naturalism in the character Lennie from “ Of mice and work forces ”
Of mice and work forces is a playable novel of John Steinbeck published in 1937. This writer was the victor of a Nobel Prize in literature thanks to his novel The Grapes of Wrath. Of mice and work forces is known on history of its subjects of friendly relationship and American dream. The two chief characters are Lennie and George. In the undermentioned sub-chapters, I will concentrate on Lennie, a unit of ammunition and inactive character that is chiefly characterized by indirect word picture.
Realistic features of Lennie
One of the chief and noteworthy features is the representation of world. John Steinbeck takes advantage of descriptions and address in order to show how the people of those times were. Therefore, he is besides emphasizing the objectiveness of Naturalism, which states that everything has to be described as it is in existent life.
First of wholly, since the third-person storyteller is all-knowing, the fresh becomes more nonsubjective. Furthermore, the usage of a description of Lennie ‘s frock, given in the gap chapter, depicts some features of existent workers. It can be seen in the narrative discourse: “ Both were dressed in jean pants and in denim coats with brass buttons. Both wore black, amorphous chapeaus and both carried tight cover axial rotations slung over their shoulders ”[ 12 ]. Here, the fact that they carry their covers allow us cognize, since the beginning, that they have no topographic point to populate. What is more, the usage of the pronoun “ both ” extrapolates these features to every individual who is in the same state of affairs, that is to state, any other rancher who is working hard to last wretchedness.
Second, there is a great contrast between the linguistic communication used in the voice of the storyteller and the address of Lennie and all characters in general. The former contains a Standard English whereas the latter nowadayss a Common English. As stated by Johanna Seppala , in her short survey “ Common English in John Steinbeck ‘s Of Mice and Men ”[ 13 ], this sort of linguistic communication shows extensions of the s-ending to all verb signifiers, skips of the subsidiary verb in the present perfect, dual negation, decrease of words and usage of conversational phrases and words. Therefore, we can see that Lennie is uneducated like the manner workers of that period were. Therefore, this another ground to believe that this novel has a great trade of pragmatism, which is a realistic feature.
Crude behavior of Lennie
Another feature of Naturalism in Lennie is his crude behavior. Clearly he is a childly individual and it will be demonstrated through the analysis of his actions, his address and what other characters think and say about him.
To get down with, one of the most insistent narratives, that will allow readers cognize Lennie is like a kid, is the act of smiling and its equivalent word such as “ smile ” , “ giggle ” , “ chortle ” , and “ laugh ” . By analysing the scene and the state of affairs in which Lennie feels pleased, happy or is being friendly, one can deduce Lennie laughs because of pride. For case, he smiles when he is able to retrieve what happened in Weed, the old spread in which he worked, and what George had told him about non stating any word. Besides, when he feels proud to strike Curley, the boy of the proprietor ‘s spread, and when he hears George stating that he was every bit strong as bull. Decidedly, Lennie fits the description of a kid that feels pride when making something right and being congratulated.
Continuing, Steinbeck used suspension points when he wrote Lennie ‘s address. This device creates a intermission which can digest more than a individual period or comma. Therefore, this intermission could intend he stops for a piece until he remembers what he has to state. Here are some illustrations: “ I remember some misss come by and you says. . . you says. . . ”[ 14 ], “ “ I. . . I “ Lennie idea. His face grew tight with idea. “ I. . . ai n’t gon na state nothin ‘ ( … ) ”[ 15 ], “ Because. . . . because I got you ( … ) ”[ 16 ]and “ I. . . I ai n’t gon na. . . state a word ”[ 17 ]. Suspension points are besides seen by the clip Lennie is building the thoughts that he wants to show: “ I was jus ‘ playin ‘ with him. . . an ‘ he made like he ‘s gon na seize with teeth me. . . . an ‘ I made like I was gon na thwack him. . . an ‘ . . . an ‘ I done it. An ‘ so he was dead ”[ 18 ]. As it can be seen, Lennie stops when he finishes stating a sentence and so he continues speaking. This is similar to the manner kids learn to speak and, hence, it is another ground why Lennie should be labelled as a kid.
Finally, one peculiar feature he has is forgetfulness. When George is speaking to Lennie in the beginning of the novel he says: “ I got ta tell you once more, do I? ( … ) O.K-O.K. I ‘ll state ya once more ”[ 19 ]. Here the accessory “ once more ” forms an iterative narrative and, therefore, it let us cognize that it is non the first clip he forgets something. As he can non retrieve things, he besides takes problem to larn them. When George says: “ You say that over two, three times so you sure wo n’t bury it ”[ 20 ]and “ ( … ) Say it over to yourself, Lennie, so you wo n’t bury it ”[ 21 ]he shows that Lennie needs to reiterate words in order to internalize them, which seems to be a mark of subnormal intelligence. Likewise, because of his deceleration, Lennie is regarded as a kid. Indeed, he is compared to childs and babes. For case, when he cries, George tells him: “ Blubberin ‘ like a babe! ”[ 22 ]. It is besides seen when Slim asks George: “ He ‘s jus ‘ like a child, ai n’t he? ”[ 23 ]and so George answers: “ Sure he ‘s jes ‘ like a child ”[ 24 ]. Furthermore, even Curley ‘s married woman uses the adjectival cub to name him: “ What you got at that place, sonny male child? ”[ 25 ]and so she says: “ Jus ‘ like a large babe ”[ 26 ]. As it can be seen, the copiousness of point of views from different characters provinces that Lennie unimpeachably behaves like a kid, which should be considered as crude behavior.
Animal Behaviour of Lennie
Edmund Wilson holds, as cited by Susan Shillinglaw[ 27 ], that Steinbeck ‘s characters were more about carnal than human. No uncertainty, this averment is valid when discoursing Lennie ‘s word picture because, in the following statement, it will attest that Lennie, by agencies of imagination, a curious enunciation and prefiguration, is presented as if he had carnal characteristics.
Throughout all the novel, the storyteller compares Lennie to a bear and a Equus caballus three times. His gesture is compared to “ ( … ) the manner a bear drags his paws ”[ 28 ]in both the beginning and the terminal of the novel. Furthermore, there is a comparing to a Equus caballus because, as the storyteller says: “ [ Lennie was ] snorting into the H2O like a Equus caballus ”[ 29 ]. The latter differs from the former because it points out that Lennie has non good manners. However, they have two things in common: they symbolize strength and great size. Hence it can be stated that the most outstanding features in Lennie are physical, whereas the rational 1s are subnormal.
The comparing to animate beings is mirrored by enunciation. In the first chapter, a simile compares Lennie to a “ terrier who does n’t desire to convey a ball to its maestro ”[ 30 ]. Furthermore, when he fights against Curley, the storyteller describes the scene utilizing the undermentioned words: “ Lennie covered his face with his immense paws and bleated with panic ”[ 31 ]. Here the noun “ paw ” and the verb “ bleat ” , which means to do the sound of sheep and caprine animals, convey Lennie ‘s similarity to animate beings. Finally, he is besides referred to as a fathead by Slim. “ Cuckoo ” is synonym ofA ” mad and senseless ”[ 32 ]but, at the same clip, as defined by the Encyclop?dia Britannica, it represents ” any of legion birds of the household Cuculidae ”[ 33 ]. The lexical ambiguity of this word could hold been used to label him as a huffy individual and at the same time compare him to an animate being. Therefore, Steinbeck nowadayss, once more, Lennie with carnal features.
Another device used for depicting Lennie is boding. As cited by Byung-Chull Bae and R. Michael Young[ 34 ], S. Chatman defines it as “ intimations of what is to come ” . That is precisely what can be seen in the novel when Candy ‘s Canis familiaris is shot at its caput because the workers regard it as a Canis familiaris that does non merit to go on enduring. Lennie is implicitly compared to this animate being when in the terminal of the fresh George shoots at him, for otherwise he would be murdered cruelly.
Influence of the environment on Lennie
Naturalism provinces that human existences are the merchandise of their societal environment. Following, it will be shown that Steinbeck conveyed this thought by agencies of enunciation, the symbolism of George and his address.
First of all, one should understand what George symbolizes. Harmonizing to the definition given by Steven Croft and Helen Cross in their book “ English for the IB Diploma ” , “ ( … ) a symbol is merely a characteristic whereby a word or phrase represents something else ( … ) ”[ 35 ]. If George is to be considered as a symbol, one should state that he symbolizes Lennie ‘s societal environment because George has been like Lennie ‘s household for a long clip and has been looking after him since they met.
When the storyteller introduces Lennie and George, he uses a curious linguistic communication when mentioning to their place. The voice of the storyteller starts stating: “ one stayed behind the other ”[ 36 ], by which readers do non cognize neither who is behind nor who is frontward. Immediately, George ‘s visual aspect is described, allowing readers know he is little. At first sight, one can conceive of the little 1 must be following the other. However the storyteller says: “ Behind him walked his antonym ”[ 37 ]and readers, therefore, can conceive of he is bigger than the other and nil similar to the first 1 ‘s visual aspect. In this state of affairs, despite his size, Lennie is the follower and, hence, here a intimation appears to indicate out that Lennie is surely dependent upon George.
That dependance upon George can besides be seen in the imitation. When George “ replaced his chapeau, pushed himself back from the river, drew up his articulatio genuss and embraced them ”[ 38 ], Lennie did the same and the writer used the accessory “ precisely ” and the same vocabulary for depicting both George and Lennie ‘s actions. What is more, he does non merely make it, but he besides watches George once more to see whether he is making it right. The accessory “ instantly ” is used when Lennie imitates George at their reaching at the bunk house. Hence, it can be stated that worlds existences, symbolized by Lennie, imitate and copy what they see in their environment, symbolized by George.
Furthermore, George ‘s address reveals that Lennie “ ( … ) sure can take orders ”[ 39 ]. When he is speaking to Slim, he says: “ [ Lennie ] can make anything you tell him ”[ 40 ]and “ jus ‘ Tell Lennie what to make an ‘ he ‘ll make it if it do n’t take no calculation ”[ 41 ]. George knows Lennie can make everything he asks him to and that is why he “ turns to Lennie and says, “ Jump in. ” An ‘ he jumps ”[ 42 ]. After that, Lennie is really thankful, for George saves him from submerging, and forgets he had told him to leap. Here Lennie shows that he would non knock any order he receives from George. Therefore, we can reason that, harmonizing to this novel, environment has a finding influence on human existences.
No free will in Lennie
George says in one of his addresss: “ [ Lennie ] ca n’t believe of nil to make himself ( … ) ”[ 43 ]. It shows the thought of determinism which states that worlds existences have no free will. In this sub-chapter, it will be demonstrated how Steinbeck conveyed this thought by agencies of chiefly curious usage of linguistic communication.
To get down with, when Lennie was asked to give a mouse off, “ his manus went into the pocket ( aˆ¦ ) ”[ 44 ]in order to make what was being asked. However, Lennie did non desire to make it and “ held his closed manus off from George ‘s way ”[ 45 ]. However, despite his attempt, “ Lennie ‘s closed manus easy obeyed ”[ 46 ]. By looking at the topics and the objects, it can be seen that his manus is making the actions, in the first and last citation. It tries to manus it over to George, but, when Lennie acts as the topic and his manus is the object, it seems that he has to order it to be off from George. As Lennie ‘s manus surrenders the mouse over to George, one could deduce that nevertheless much Lennie tries to avoid making something against his will, he can non forbear from that.
A similar state of affairs is seen when Lennie has the mouse for the 2nd clip. Before passing the mouse over, Lennie makes “ an luxuriant dumb show of artlessness ”[ 47 ]seeking to happen clemency in a state of affairs in which he can non make anything to avoid the loss of the mouse. Then he looks at bay and Steinbeck uses the undermentioned words: “ Lennie hesitated, backed off, looked wildly at the coppice line as though he contemplated running for his freedom ”[ 48 ]. Here Lennie clearly shows that he does non desire to obey George. After that, the accessory “ reluctantly ” is used to depict the manner he is seeking to go forth the mouse. Lennie, still indecisive, is in a great quandary in the undermentioned infusion: “ Lennie approached, drew back, approached once more ”[ 49 ]. As it can be seen, by agencies of an antithesis, the writer shows that Lennie uncertainties as to the two wholly different options he has: “ to near ” and “ to pull back ” . Nevertheless, “ George snapped his fingers aggressively, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his manus ”[ 50 ], demoing one time more that he can non follow his will, because he has to make what his milieus ( George ) tell him to make.
Furthermore, his organic structure can be characterized as that of an entity that acts following its crude inherent aptitude. It is evidenced when Lennie kills Curley ‘s married woman. This event started when “ Lennie ‘s large fingers fell to stroking her hair ”[ 51 ]. Then she asked him to halt, but “ Lennie ‘s fingers closed on her hair and hung on ”[ 52 ]. She started to shout, but “ Lennie ‘s other manus closed over her oral cavity and olfactory organ ”[ 53 ]. The fact that Lennie ‘s fingers and manus are the topics in these sentences shows how he loses control of his ain organic structure. Afterward, “ he looked down at her, and carefully he removed his manus from over her oral cavity ”[ 54 ], recognizing, therefore, that she was dead. In the old sentences, Lennie is the topic, demoing that he regains control of his organic structure, but it is excessively late, for “ his manus ” had already killed Curley ‘s married woman.
No moral judgement on Lennie ‘s behavior
Similarly, as stated antecedently, human behavior can non be criticized, for it is the merchandise of the environmental influence. Next, it will be demonstrated that this thought is presented by Steinbeck by agencies of George ‘s address.
When George and Slim talk about Lennie, they say, reiterating many times, that he is non average. For illustration, after killing Curley ‘s married woman, Lennie flees the spread and so George says: “ Lennie ne’er done it in beastliness ( aˆ¦ ) ”[ 55 ], “ He ne’er done this to be average ”[ 56 ]and, eventually, “ He di’n’t cognize what he was doin ‘ “[ 57 ]. In fact, they say he does non move by maliciousness but by unconsciousness of what he does. Another illustration is given after striking Curley, when George straight tells Lennie: “ You done jus ‘ what I tol ‘ you to ( … ) You ai n’t done nil incorrect ”[ 58 ]. Therefore, it is stated that person is non responsible for what they do because they merely act unconsciously in response to their environment.
Taking everything into history, I can corroborate the initial averment which stated that John Steinbeck conveys some thoughts of Naturalism. Use of similes, spoken linguistic communication, curious enunciation, iterative narratives, descriptions and the voice of the storyteller assistance to qualify Lennie and, hence, allow readers see the realistic thoughts conveyed in this character in the short novel Of mice and work forces of John Steinbeck.
Steinbeck introduces Lennie as a realistic character that depicts a portrayal of human existences who behave senselessly and demo crude characteristics that approach the Darwinian thought which states that we all worlds and animate beings had an beginning in common. Although Lennie can non make things by himself and is about ever waiting for orders, he follows his natural inherent aptitude, which is demonstrated by his division into two entities: himself and his organic structure. Furthermore, Through the relationship between George and Lennie, Steinbeck conveys the chief subject of Naturalism: determinism, which is evidenced in George ‘s influence on Lennie to move. Finally, as George said, Lennie has non free will and is non witting of what he does. Therefore, he can non be criticized by other people. All in all, the old features of Lennie convey realistic subjects that at the same time bring the influence of Naturalism on Steinbeck out into the unfastened.
Having concluded this drawn-out essay, I bid research workers to go on analyzing this subject. As it could be seen, I limited the range to one character, which permitted me to reserve infinite for an geographic expedition of it in considerable deepness. Then, other essays could explicate some research inquiries from the undermentioned inquiries: How is Naturalism depicted in other characters from this novel? , is at that place any hint of moral judgement in this novel? , how is friendship, label of the relationship between George and Lennie, related with Naturalism? and how is Naturalism depicted in other novels of John Steinbeck? By replying these inquiries there will be a deeper apprehension of the writer and the subjects he intended to convey.
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