A Comparison Of Racism In Of M

12778 words - 51 pages

Examine The Nature of Prejudice in 'Of Mice and Men' and 'The Withered Arm' John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. 'Of Mice and Men' is also set in Salinas, California, USA, during the depression of America. This was a time of unemployment and economic decline. During the American depression over 3 million people were unemployed. Because of this many workers migrated in order to find work, as work was rare. During the 1930's (the time in which this novel is set) women were also treated as second class citizens. Women were dependent upon men for economic support and in return were expected to stay within the home and watch over the children and complete the household chores. Women were only recently able to vote and they were often were uneducated. Women still operated in whore houses as a type of service toward men. Men were dependant on these women for uncomplicated sex. Considering all of these factors women had a type of object like status during the 1930's. Racism was also very present in the society of the 1930's and Blacks were still seen as inferior by white people Blacks were segregated in schools, stores, transport and were unable to vote. Blacks were also given the menial jobs such as servants and stable bucks and not given a decent wages and credit they deserved. Ageism was also present in the 1930's society. Old people were not treated with respect and were also often given menial low pay jobs. Steinbeck explored the social issues of the time ( such as ageism, sexism, racism and the poor) in his fictional novels. 'Of Mice and Men' reflects these social issues. Curley's wife is discriminated against because she is a woman. She is isolated and lonely as she is the only female on the ranch. Curley's wife represented the way that women were treated in the 1930's. In the story 'Of Mice and Men' Curley's wife is seen as a second class citizen. Steinbeck never names Curley's wife throughout the story and the Authorial purpose of this is to obviously show that Curley's Wife is defined due to her relationship with Curley. The authorial purpose is also to show us that women were treated as objects during this era- thus naming her Curley's wife. Her having no name also shows the reader how insignificant she is at the ranch. We receive a bad impression of Curley's wife even before she is introduced to the story. We receive this impression from the way that Candy describes her as a tart:- " Well, I think that Curley's married... a tart." Steinbeck also gives a negative description of Curley's wife which helps demonstrate how little she is respected at life on the ranch:- She has full rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her nails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled cluster, like sausages. Due to her being an obvious possession of Curley's she is unable to make any friends at the ranch and George also says:- "such a ranch ain't no place for...

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