Injustice In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

967 Words4 Pages
John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men both protests and explores the sense of injustice that pervades the novella. Set in a time in America where inequity formed a prevalent part of society, Steinbeck dissents against this unfairness through his characterisation and treatment of his characters. His portrayal of the inequality, sexism and racism affecting Lennie, Candy, Curley’s wife, and Crooks is a subtle objection to such injustice, and he suggests that these prejudices severely constrain the victims of such intolerance. Through investigating the weak and the prejudiced, Steinbeck suggests that discrimination can destroy lives, both figuratively and literally.
The way Steinbeck dichotomises society into the weak and the strong is a clear protest
…show more content…
She is literally defined as a possession, and the other ranch-hands objectify her as a “tart”, choosing to isolate and ignore her. As a “looloo”, she is derogatorily compared with Slim’s dog, implying that she is a “bitch”. Nobody wants to talk or be seen near her, and Steinbeck protests this loneliness by describing her desire to “talk” with someone. This loneliness is so profound that she doesn’t even have a name. Curley treats her as a possession by isolating her and forcing her to stay in his “house alla time.” Even Crooks, Lennie, and Candy– a crippled “nigger”, a “dum-dum” and a “lousy ol’ sheep” – refuse to talk to her, suggesting that being a merely being a woman is the worst kind of ‘disability’. Steinbeck uses this hierarchal disparity to illustrate the injustice of sexism. Steinbeck further protests this injustice when Curley’s wife reveals she has a “dream”, yet is too “lonely” to tell anyone else. She has “nobody” to share her thoughts and feelings with because of her sex. Her death represents the futility of trying to overcome sexist prejudice – she dies trying to confide her loneliness in Lennie – and Steinbeck uses this fact to emphasise the extent to which sexism defines her life. The injustice faced by Curley’s wife is almost synonymous with the discrimination against Crooks, and Steinbeck compares many of Curley’s wife’s issues with the consequences of
Open Document