In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses a country setting to show how primative the country can often be. He has many simple laborers working in a secluded area, where murders take place without anyone in the outside world really noticing. The country setting also manages to create some simple characters, such as Lennie and Candy. Lastly, the setting influences the dreams that the characters have while living there.
Having sheep dogs killed, and Lennie’s puppy, shows that nobody in the country of this book really cares. It is a part of life, and the people just accept it. When Candy’s sheep dog is killed, everyone accepts it, and they try to get him a new dog. Lennie pets his puppy to death, and Curley’s wife to death. The killing of a human being would ordinarily make the news, and cause sensation, but we are left thinking that soon this will only be a memory. The country setting serves to cover up some of the more viscious crimes that take place.
The setting creates a few simple characters. First we have Lennie Smalls, who has always lived in a country area with his protector, George. We have Candy, who offers his life savings for a farm, without any guile or tricks. Carlson is also a part of the story, with him playing a simple brute of a man. The country setting shows how uncomplicated many of these people are. When Candy offers giving all of his money to three strangers, only George is a little apperhensive at first. He warms up to the idea as well, something that would not happen in a city setting.
The biggest influence the country has on the story is with the dreams of the characters. Candy’s dream is to work his own land. He has spent his entire life working for other people, and now he wants to work for himself, still within the country. If this had been any other setting, he wouldn’t have wanted that. Curley’s wife wants to be a movie star, something that is as far away from the country as possible. George and Lenny’s dream is similar to Candy’s dream, to have their own farm with rabbits. Crooks wants his own garden where he can plant what he wants. All of these people clearly want things based on what they have seen. Curley’s wife wants to get out of the country, everyone else wants a better version of it for themselves.
The country setting in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men leads to many mishaps, dreams, and adventures that would not be possible without it. The pleasant setting belies many of the killings that take place there, the people have dreams due to it, and some of the characters are quite simple.