Of Mice and Men Theme Analysis: Negativity

Essay by Evil_WannabeHigh School, 10th gradeA+, November 2007

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Xinran Jia

Period 1

Life is difficult. This is the truth. It is one of the greatest truths. The book Of Mice and Men clearly demonstrates this point. Through the relationships and the backgrounds of the characters, Steinbeck illustrates a cold and unforgiving world filled with prejudice, betrayal and stress. Through this portrayal, he shows the readers the cruelties and hardships of life.

Prejudice and discrimination are noticeably exposed throughout the book. The most prominent example of discrimination is Crooks. He is the only African-American worker on the farm. Because of this, he gets no respect from the others. From in this quote, "'If I say something, why it's just a nigger sayin' it'" (70), it is easy to tell that Crooks lives in a lonely and isolated world, ignored by everyone around him. However, Crooks is not the only character to face such adversity. Curley's wife, one of the less positive characters in the book, is constantly battered with prejudice. Presented with titles such as "tart", "tramp" and even "jail bait," she is given a bad image right from the start. As seen through this quote, "'I don't care what she says and what she does. I seen 'em poison before, but I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her." (32) George discriminates against Curley's wife from their first meeting. But characters are not the only ones that Steinbeck uses to display prejudice. Candy's old dog, a symbol and foreshadowing tool, is looked upon intolerantly by Carlson. Recognized here from these quote, "I'll put the old devil out of his misery right now and get it over with. Ain't nothing left for him. Can't eat, can't see, can't even walk without hurtin'," (47) it is established that Carlson thinks lowly of the dog.