Naturalism is a literary style that displays action or thought that is derived exclusively from natural desires and instincts (The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, p. 901). John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men contains several instances of this element. Some of these are found when Lennie breaks Curley's hand, when Lennie kills Curley's wife, and when George kills Lennie.
When Lennie breaks Curley's hand, Lennie's honesty is contrasted with Curley's hotheadedness and arrogance. "Then Curley's
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on with his own life.
Naturalism in this novel has the overall effect of making the conflict clearer and showing more of a contrast between the opposing forces. The three events mentioned have the overall effect of heightening the conflict and the contrast between Lennie's frank honesty and brute strength with the other men's stifled honesty and false courage. This courage appears to be lacking until the climax and final resolution resulting in Lennie's death.