Discrimination In Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

881 words - 4 pages

In the literary work Of Mice and Men, the reader is introduced to the ranch as a world of its own, within which prejudice plays a significant part. The characters in this novel act as a community in a world of their own, having no connections to any other type of society. A strong point, enforced through many examples in the book, is the constant ability of the stronger to overcome the weaker. The prejudices of the majority towards the minority, at the ranch are the white-males, who retain power over the lesser groups of people. This inequality, as well as the influence of the time period, causes discrimination against people of color, women, and those that are disabled, either mentally or physically.
The crippled, African American stable hand, Crooks, is the victim of racial discrimination on the ranch. He is given his own room off the stables as if a privilege, but in truth the white-male majority of the ranch wants to have as small an amount of contact with Crooks as possible. Crooks understands this, as is shown when he explains it to Lennie in a simple statement, ?They play cards in there, but I can?t play because I?m black. They say I stink.? (p. 33) As a result of this separation, Crooks becomes incredibly bitter and lonely. Through his request of having a part in George and Lennie?s dream, it becomes obvious that he searches for a friend, struggling to be recognized as a human being.
Curley?s wife is the typical example of discrimination based on misunderstanding. Because she is never given the chance to express her point of view, the men have a strong opinion on her based only on their interpretations of her actions. In the men?s opinion, she does not belong around the ranch, and should stay inside her home, doing the things women do: cooking and cleaning. They see her as a lowly woman, thinking that she?s only out to seduce them, and give them the ?eye?. As Candy, the housekeeper mentions to George, ?Well, I think Curley?s married?a tart.? (p. 14) What the men do not know is that Curley?s wife is just incredibly lonely, once having dreamt to be a star, and marrying Curley after the failure of that dream. She is all alone in the secluded world of the ranch. Having a husband who pays no attention to her, she tries to find someone to talk to among the men in...

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