Who has power on the ranch? By Mashud Rahman and Laura Tippett
Slim • The kind of power which Slim has is from earning it by being a trustworthy guy working on the ranch. • It shows that he is a very able ‘skinner’ from when it says ‘capable of killing a fly on the wheelers butt with a bullwhip without touching the mule’ This shows that he could kill a fly with a whip whilst its on a horses butt without even touching the mule. • The main source of power which slim has would be earned, Every person on the ranch respects and likes him, however he could also have some physical power because he is described as ‘big’ and ‘tall’.
George Milton • From looking at the beginning of the story we know that George doesn’t have any physical power just form looking at the description given at the beginning shows that he is small ‘small and quick…. Every part of him was defined: small strong hands, slender arms and a bon nose’ This shows us that he will not have any physical power . However he does have a large amount of mental power, possibly the most on the ranch. This is because Lennie does whatever George asks him to do. As we know, Lennie is a huge character with unknown strength. • George is also a very clever minded guy, he knows what to do and when to do it. We know this from when he says ‘ Me and Lennie’s rollin up a stake’ when he is invited to go to the brothels. This shows us that he is determined to save up that large amount of money which he and Lennie need to achieve their dream.
Lennie Small • As we know Lennie has the most physical power on the ranch. We know this from when he has a fight with Curley, from just grasping onto Curley’s hand, Lennie breaks it leaving Curley in a sling. We also know this from the description George gives the boss in chapter 2: ‘But he’s a hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull’ • The description Steinbeck uses for Lennie at the beginning is ‘ a huge man’ and his hands are more like described as ‘paws’. This shows us that he is a giant man who is going to have lots of strength. • We also can see that he has lots of strength from when he kills Curley’s wife, all he does is hold onto her head and shakes her, ‘and she shook and her body flopped like a fish’ Steinbeck doesn’t use any effective descriptive words but instantly her neck breaks and she dies.
Curley’s wife • Curley’s wife has lots of power because she manages to control most of the men on the ranch. Due to the fact of which she is married to Curley, this also gives her power. • The way that she presents herself to the other men puts her in a position of control. As soon as she enters the room all the men in the room feel uncomfortable, ‘ but Candy and Crooks were scowling down away from her eyes’ this shows that she has made the men in that room feel uncomfortable and cause them to eventually leave the room. • Because she is described as ‘purty’ this shows that she is a good looking woman and she uses this as an advantage to get her into that position of control which she likes to be in. She also uses her skin colour to her advantage we know this from the way in which she talks to Crooks ‘Listen Nigger’ ‘I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny’ The way Steinbeck describes Crooks after this is ‘Crooks had reduced himself to nothing’ ‘ “Yes ma’am” and his voice was toneless’ This shows us that she has used her colour and her position of being the Boss’s son’s wife as power over Crooks.
Curley’s Wife • Being a woman, at the time Curley’s wife's presence was not valued. We can also tell that she was not highly thought of, because we never discover her name. At these times women didn’t have any power and because of the great depression men will always be travelling around from place to place looking for work. Curleys wife has put herself in a situation in which she can only meet men and be treated like a woman would have been treated at those time. • She is seen as a sexual figure. We know this from the descriptions Steinbeck provides as she enters the Barn House. ‘She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes’. She is depicted as ‘leaning against the door frame that her body was thrown forward’.
Curley • Curley has different kinds of power, he has physical power we know this from the word used by Candy ‘He’s pretty handy’ from having experience from fighting professionally inside the ring. • He also has lots of power from being the son of the boss of the ranch. • Curley also has plenty of mental power, the way he picks on bigger guys puts him in a no lose situation. What he does is by picking a fight with him, if he wins the fight he gets major respect from beating up a guy bigger than him, however if he loses then he can give the other guy misery because people say ‘so what ?he beat up a little guy’
The Boss • We know little about the boss, but from his name we know that he has plenty of power on the ranch. This type of power is from his position on the ranch. We also know that he knows that he has power from the way in which he speaks to Lennie. We also can see this from the way he says ‘ I got my eye on you’. This puts him into a position of power. • Due to the great depression men are always looking around for work, looking for the American dream so that they can all live of ‘the fatta the land’ And this is what The Boss has done, he has made his own place and is living of his land.
Crooks • Crooks has no power on the ranch because of his colour. He is mainly described as ‘the negro stable buck’ At the times of when this book was written black people had no respect or power at all. This shows that he doesn’t have any respect on the ranch either. However he does take pride in his colour and room, and he also takes pride in his possessions. He may also have a bit of power from all of his knowledge, we know this because he has lots of books in his room.
Candy • Candy doesn’t have much power on the ranch, he is described as the ‘old swamper’, this shows us that he is an old man, with a very low rank on the ranch. It also shows us that his abilities reflect respect in the ranks. • Candy has only one friend, and this is his old dog which gets killed later on in the story.
Summary • Overall everyone on the ranch has power but in their own way. However some people such as Curleys wife have power but at the same time she is one of the people with the least amount of power on the ranch.