Steinbeck’s Novel, Of Mice And Men Has Been Described As A Protest Statement

3161 words - 13 pages

Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men has been described as a protest statement

Steinbeck’s novel, “Of Mice and Men” has been described as a protest
statement. To what extent do you think that this is true?

Steinbeck protest’s about the way that several different types of
people were treated during the early nineteenth century. He protests
against the treatment of the mentally retarded, cripples, African
American people and the viewing of women as possessions. He does this
by creating a character for each of these groups of people, and
exposing these characters as victims, which generates the reader’s
sympathy for them. Steinbeck was a sympathizer with the migrant
workers and this is shown in the book. Steinbeck wrote a series of
articles and made a documentary film about migrant workers. For John
Steinbeck this book was used to highlight the issues generated in the
situation. Each character has their own traits. Normally they all
have at least one good quality and they all have a negative quality.

Firstly in this essay I am going to look at the segregation and racial
hatred that Crooks experiences during the novel. Like other hardships
experienced in the book by other characters this kind of treatment
eventually turns Crooks and he is bullied into thinking like his
oppressors. Crooks is more permanent than the other ranch hands and
has his own room off the stables with many more possessions than the
other workers. This room is made out to be a privilege and also
because it means he is nearer to the horses but in fact it is really
because the other ranch hands do not want him in the bunk house with
them. An example of how the men are discriminative towards Crooks is
that he is forced to live in a shack away from the bunkhouse and also
Crooks says that "They play cards in there, but I can't play because
I'm black. They say I stink" and "I ain't wanted in the bunkhouse."
As a result of this prejudice Crooks has become bitter and very
lonely. Because there is nothing Crooks can do to avoid his
mistreatment then he should not be blamed for anything that has
happened to him. However, because he has been at the ranch for a long
time he has grown used to the oppression and segregation. He is now
so used to this mistreatment that he is beginning to think that that
is the correct thing to do.

When everyone else went into town and Lenny is forced to stay at the
ranch he spends time with his puppy that he later kills. However,
while he is sitting with his puppy he sees Crook’s light in the
corner. He goes over to it and because he has the mental age of a two
year old doesn’t know Crook’s situation. At this point Steinbeck
shows Crook’s new found hardness by having him immediately going on
the offensive. For example when Lenny explains that he saw his light,
Crooks replies, “Well, I got a right to have a light. You go on get
outta my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted
in my room.”...

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