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Prejudice In "Of Mice And Men"

1301 words - 5 pages

"Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart." - Marguerite Gardiner. In society, both modern and in the past, prejudice has been a tool of thinking and labeling a group of race, people, class and culture in order to distinguish ones superiority and dominance from one another, but is simply a way to judge without gathering valid facts. In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, we see that prejudice was just as rampant in the 1930's. In the novel, prejudice is demonstrated on 3 different levels: racial, sexual and social. It is shown how these prejudices generate false perceptions that although meant to aid, do no such good as their end result is clouding the truth.Racial prejudice is most significant when describing Crooks, who happens to be the stable buck for the farm. Crooks is also a Black man with a back disability, hence the reason he is called "Crooks". While most of the other workers live in the same area and attend to jobs that are quite similar, Crooks is forced to live by himself, work alone in the stables and is almost never in contact with any of the other characters. People such as Curly's Wife go as far as to ridicule Crooks and even look down at him simply for the fact that he is a Black man with a disability who is a laborer. In one instance, Curly's Wife threatens Crooks by telling him "Listen, Nigger, you know what I can do if you open your trap, I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't funny" (Steinbeck, 98). The open brutality of this comment shows that even a woman, who would normally not have much or any say during this time in the 1930's, is still considered higher in social class than an African-American man. Nothing is known about him as a person by any of the other farm attendants, but the prejudices that in this case are completely false help propel a gap between them, when one does not need to be. Although he may be physically handicap, he is just as capable as any of the others. As a result of being an outcast at the farm, Crooks has become very isolated and disengaged with the other members. When Lennie enters Crooks cabin in order retrieve the puppies, Crooks lashes out and tells Lennie "I ain't wanted in the bunk room and you ain't wanted in my room" (Steinbeck,124). This comment shows that Crooks has become bitter and alone because of the prejudice constantly being aimed at him when there is no reason for the way he is treated. He is a great overall example of racial prejudice in Of Mice and Men and society, both past and present, in which a African-American male, who is as capable as any man of another color is denied the same opportunities because of stereotypes and perceptions which can only be supported with biased false facts.Sexual prejudice is strong when Curly's Wife is a part of a scene. Curly's Wife also happens to be the only female that is currently occupying the place of work that the novel is set in. Curly's Wife is presented as a character who tends to be very friendly...

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