The Role Of Social Criticism In The Pearl By John Steinbeck

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Of Mice, Pearls, and Critics Former British prime minister Winston Churchill once said that “criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” Many writers use their work as a way to address real-life issues. These issues could be personal, political, social, religious or economic in nature. This form of writing is typically referred to as social criticism. John Steinbeck, author of many notable novels, is often referred to as a social critic. Steinbeck presents messages about many issues through his writing. Throughout the course of Of Mice and Men and The Pearl, Steinbeck displays his commentary on clear flaws in our society, such as racism, ableism, prejudice against the poor, the marginalization of women, loneliness, and greed. Clearly, the inclusion of such controversial topics has brought much attention to these…show more content…
The book focuses mainly around the characters Lennie Small and George Milton. Though they are both white men, Lennie is often looked down upon because of his mental disability. While it is never explicitly stated by Steinbeck that Lennie has a disability, it is very easy for the reader to infer this. Throughout the novella, Lennie is often ridiculed and taken advantage of. For instance, when they were still young, George would often use Lennie as the base of his jokes. He tells Slim that he, “used to play jokes on ‘im ‘cause he was too dumb to take care of ‘imself… I’ve beat the hell outta him” (OMAM 40). Steinbeck constantly portrays George as someone who talks down to Lennie; always claiming that he could make a much better life for himself if he did not have Lennie dragging him down. With the way George talks to his friend, along with the way he used to take advantage of him, it is obvious that this is Steinbeck’s way of demonstrating ableism on a much lower
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