October 2, 2013
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck- Prejudice and Alienation
Prejudice of many groups of people was prevalent in America during the Great Depression era. In the 1930s when the book took place, there was an extreme amount of racism and sexism, little to no knowledge of mental disability, and assumedly a great deal of ageism. In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses prejudice to illustrate the theme of alienation through ageism, racism, sexism, and ableism.
Candy was an old man who lived on the farm who lost his hand in an accident while working. The ranch hands constantly tortured Candy by telling him that his dog was too old for his own good, and that he would be better off dead. Candy takes this personally, assuming that they were insinuating that he was also worthless to the ranch, and too old for his own good.
The old man realizes that this is the only job he'll ever have, considering he only has only had one hand and is too old to do hard labor and said, "'When they can me here I wisht somebody'd shoot meÃ¢ÂÂ¦ I won't have no place to go, an' I can't get no more jobs'" (60). The other men understand this and exclude Candy for his differences. Slim, another ranch hand, talking about Candy's dog said, "'I wisht somebody'd shoot me if I got old and a cripple'" (45). Candy's dog is an obvious parallel to Candy and his physical conditions that prevent him from working.
To show racism, Steinbeck uses the character Crooks, a black stable buck who lives on the ranch. Although sometimes in the book it seems that Crooks isolates himself, it is clear towards the end of...