Historical And Cultural Elements In John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice And Men'

992 Words4 Pages
Emma Siu
English 9
Ms. Mueller
April 19, 2017
Two Truths, One Lie:
Steinbeck’s attempt in displaying historical and cultural elements through Of Mice and Men
Picture, constantly living in fear that someone could come barging in the middle of the night, coming to lynch you. Picture, not living at all, being cooped up in a house all day, not being able to do anything and living a life of boredom. In the early 1930’s, the Great Depression is in its mits and racial minorities are fearful for their lives, women’ role in society is miniscule and the mentally challenged are being institutionalized. Throughout John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men, he accurately represents the historical and cultural elements presented in the 1930’s, including:
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One example of this was seen through Curley’s wife, when she was in Crook’s cabin and her attitude towards racial minorities, “Well, you keep your place then, nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” (Steinbeck 81). Through Curley’s wife’s characterization of her being white and racially “superior”, she can easily lynch Crooks without any reason why. This is cultural, and historical events have been seen in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s through, “Mobs exacted vengeance for real or imagined crimes at their own discretion, not waiting for legal justice to take its course, and such lynchings were usually represented of racial tensions in society” (Law, order, and vigilante justice 1). Mob justice is mentioned in Of Mice and Men in an exchange between Curley’s wife and Crooks. She tells him that she could have him lynched whenever she wanted. As well was when Curley found his wife dead, it was determined by Curley and the other migrant workers, that the misfit has killed the woman, there is no thought of legal justice to kill Lennie. The isolation and size of the ranches allowed frontier justice to prevail and influence many that thought otherwise. Not only were there mass amounts of vigilante justice, the historical events of women’s role in society were displayed throughout the
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