How Does Steinbeck Use Prejudice In Of Mice And Men

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Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, is an intriguing and captivating piece that captures America’s history. Throughout the text, Steinbeck demonstrates how multiple prejudices can affect contrasting characters in the 1930’s. Lennie Small and George Milton, a pair of bindlestiffs, witness the discrimination throughout the course of the novel. George cares for Lennie, who is mentally challenged, and once Lennie’s onerous actions increase, George makes the formidable decision to abruptly end his life. The characters in the story are faced with internal and external conflicts. These are shown for the duration of the text, supporting the theme: prejudice and discrimination can cause isolation. Steinbeck develops this theme through the literary …show more content…

In the middle of the novel, Lennie unsolicitedly visits Crooks secluded shack. Indirect characterization of Crooks is apparent while discussing the discrimination issues with Lennie. They converse, “‘Why ain’t you wanted?’ Lennie asked. ‘Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can't play because I'm black,’” (Steinbeck 68). Crooks broods over his life, explaining how he is unable to participate in social tasks, such as playing cards, due to his race. Crooks is aware of this bias, indirectly making him attentive. In the section in which Curley’s wife visits the bindlestiffs, she begins to criticize Candy. She bickers and quarrels with Candy, saying, “‘Tell on’ be damned,’ she cried. ‘Nobody’d listen to you an’ you know it. Nobody’d listen to you,” (Steinbeck 67). Nobody is going to pay attention or listen to Candy, as he is crippled and doesn't have the power to stand up for himself. In this section, Steinbeck indirectly demonstrates that Candy is ineffectual, based on what Curley’s wife thinks about him. Both Candy and Crooks are isolated due to prejudice and discrimination. Conclusively, the characterization of Crooks and Candy helps to develop the theme, clearly showing that prejudices and discrimination can cause …show more content…

Crooks’ bunk is cramped and confined, while the bunk for everyone else is much more comfortable. Steinbeck uses imagery to express this, writing, “Crooks, the Negro stable buck, had his bunk in the harness room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn” (Steinbeck 66). In addition to being isolated socially, Crooks is physically secluded, pushed to the side of the barn, due to his race. Steinbeck describes his home as “a little shed” and off the side of the wall, showing it is concealed. Imagery is also used to show the isolation of Curley’s wife. When Lennie is visited by Curley’s wife, he is so intrigued by her soft hair that he grabs it. He strokes it, and although she struggles, he refuses to release her hair, breaking her neck and ending her life. The narrator describes this despondent event, “Curley’s wife lay with a half-covering of yellow hay. And the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face,”(Steinbeck 93). The author uses imagery to describe Curley’s dead wife’s face as being emptied of the ache for attention. She strives for attention because she is a women, and isn’t allowed to interact with others on her husband’s watch. Steinbeck intelligently uses imagery to portray the theme to the

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