Of Mice and Men

how does the ranch affect people

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Yes, living on the ranch affects people. Many of the characters long for friendship and compassion; they live in fear of each other. As Carlson’s unsentimental shooting of Candy’s dog makes clear, in the Great Depression the useless, old, or weak were inevitably destroyed as the strong and useful fought for survival. Everyone on the ranch constantly tries to look strong, especially if they feel weak. The fear of the weak being overrun by the strong explains why Curley likes to fight larger men, why

Crooks tells Lennie that George is going to abandon him,

and why Curley’s wife threatens to have Crooks lynched.

Each character tries to appear strong by asserting power over

another. The fear of the strong also explains why most of the

other characters in Of Mice and Men can’t comprehend Lennie

and George’s friendship. A human relationship devoid of power

dynamics simply makes no sense to the other characters, all of

whom assume they’re in a fight for survival.