Of Mice and Men

Essay by Supergirl85302High School, 11th gradeB, March 2005

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Everywhere there is society and civilization and there is always prejudice. Someone is always the wrong color, worshiping the wrong God, or wearing the wrong thing. No one fits into our idealistic world perfectly. This prejudice has been around for thousands of years because it is just human nature not to accept people for who they are. In the novel Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, which is about two migrant laborers, George Milton and Lennie Small, who make their way to a ranch in the Salinas Valley for a job. On the ranch, John Steinbeck address several different levels of prejudice. Three significant forms of prejudice Steinbeck believes are devastating to mankind are racial, sexual, and social prejudice.

One of the significant forms of prejudice Steinbeck believes are devastating to mankind is racism. Steinbeck uses great deal of racial prejudice shown in Of Mice and Men towards Crooks the Black crippled stable buck.

Crooks is more permanent than the other ranch laborers and has his own room off the stables with many more possessions than them. This room is made out to be a privilge and also because it means he is nearer to the horses but in fact it is really because the other ranch laborers do not want him in the bunk house with them. As a result of prejudice Crooks has become bitter and very lonely. When Lennie comes to pet the puppies, not even realizing that Crooks' room is out of bounds, Crooks instantly becomes defensively and uncivil "I ain't wanted in the bunk room and you ain't wanted in my room" but Lennie in his childish innocence is completely without prejudice "why ain't you wanted" he asks. Crooks retaliates to this with: "Cause I'm black, they play cards in there but I can't play because I'm black. They say I stink. Well I tell you, all of you stink to me" This line showing that Crooks desperately wants to join in, be accepted, but because of his color he can't be so he feels the only way he can make himself feel better is to cut himself off further, it is a vicious circle.

The second form of prejudice Steinbeck believes are devastating to mankind is sexism. Curley's wife is shown a lot of sexual prejudice over the course of the novel. Living on the ranch where the large majority of the inhabitants are male, she is very lonely. George says "Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain't no place for a girl". Steinbeck signifies the fact that she is insignificant; she is always referred to as Curley's wife, never given a name. She experience sexual prejudice in that none of the ranch laborers will talk to her. Some of the sexual prejudice she experiences is her fault, she scares the ranch laborers with her femininity but she is not really a tart, she just craves for attention which she deosnt' get from Curley, her husband. Ignored by both the ranch laborers and Curley she has ended up very lonely, the one thing she most wanted to escape.

The third form of prejudice Steinbeck believes are devastating to mankind is social prejudice. Most of the characters experience social prejudice at different levels throughout the course of the book. Candy, the old swamper is prejudiced against because of his age and his disability. Because of his hand, he is unable to do many of the jobs that the other ranch laborers do which makes him instantly an outsider. Lennie, who is a victim of social prejudice in the fact that, being retarded, he cannot socially interact with the natural ease of George. He is left behind when the ranch laborers go into town, and he left out of card games purely because he cannot play. With all these reasons Steinbeck defined to readers what social prejudice is.

In conclusion, through all these reasons, it shows that Steinbeck uses racism, sexism, and social prejudice through the novel Of Mice and Men to demonstrate that discriminations are horrible to the society. Moreover, it shows that the characters such as Crooks and Curley's wife have become intensely lonely through racism and sexism, but they are in hopeless position that they can do nothing about it. These prejudices, which can still be seen in the world today.