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Discrimination Present In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

Powerful Essays
Discrimination Present in Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck was born at the beginning of the twentieth century and experienced the turning point of many eras that are evidenced throughout his writings. Steinbeck lived through the strong economic years during World War I, the dirt poor years of the Great Depression, and even saw the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s; all of his dreams for these decades are evidenced in his works, more specifically, Of Mice and Men. Of Mice and Men is set in the 1920’s in the Salinas Valley of California. Other writers, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, char-acterize the 1920’s as a fun decade with a booming economy filled with men rising from rags to riches, but Steinbeck shows how life was for men…show more content…
Curley’s wife has always been taught to sell her-self, whether it was to a road show or into the hands of a husband. Richard Hart recognizes that Curley’s wife is more like a store bought good, rather than an actual wife and writes, “Curley’s wife views herself as a commodity, and an object of sensuality” (36). Curley’s wife’s dream was to be an actress on a traveling road show, but she is too ignorant to realize that that dream is long gone and selling herself is not in the least bit attractive or becoming of a young woman. Stein-beck characterizes the men on the ranch as male chauvinists who cannot fathom a woman ever being half as important as themselves. “Curley’s wife stands as a glaringly bitter and ironic illus-tration of the immorality of narrow minds and the social conditions that produce them” (Hart 39). No one on the ranch gives Curley’s wife the respect that a young, beautiful woman deserves, but she also has been treated so low her whole life that she does not demand respect. For exam-ple, “Curley’s wife is not given a proper name. Apparently she does not merit it;” Curley’s wife never takes notice to her name never being used, which is…show more content…
In today’s time period, Candy would be re-tired and drawing a deserved Workers’ Compensation check, but in the 1930’s this was not the case. Richard Moore writes, “Candy is an old man, reduced to cleaning the bunkhouse after los-ing his hand in an accident at work” (3). The ranch life is not meant for the elderly, especially the disabled elderly, but due to lack of social security at the time, Candy has no hope of seeing his retirement any time soon. Authors Umadevi and Saranya give prominence to the fact that, “Can-dy is a senior citizen with a physical handicap, and even though we get the sense that he has been at the ranch for some time, he has few ties or friends either, and tells Lennie and George later in the story that he has no family, no kids” (53). Steinbeck shows readers how poorly the elderly were treated before Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s social security program more formally known as the “New Deal”. The social security program created in the late 1930’s allows people to be able to retire at a set age or with a disability, whether it is due to old age or disability. Candy stays nervous and desires to make a life outside of the ranch. His beloved hound dog is a parallel to Candy in the fact that both are decrepit and physically useless. Warren French writes that the dog stinks, has no purpose, and is very old; this is a symbol
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