Of Mice And Men Theme Analysis

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Explore the theme of discrimination within Steinbeck’s novella ‘Of Mice and Men’ and how this relate to the historical context of the time.

“In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing – antihumanism.” – Shirley Chisholm.

Discrimination. It’s a key theme that crafts, changes, and destroys certain aspects of the novella; such as the relationships, the hopes, dreams, and all the good in the world.
Sometimes, it even overpowers the very structure itself of the novella. Characters such as Candy, Crooks and Curley’s wife are all subjects to it. John Steinbeck himself was largely analysing the lifestyles of migrant workers, and while doing so, found inspiration for ‘Of Mice and Men’. He portrays his knowledge by isolating certain characters in the novella. The accuracy of his observations are perfect, as at that time – during the ‘Great Depression’ - people felt like they had to use what little power they had to uphold their position on the social hierarchy scale.
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During those times, anybody with even a slight hint of a weakness was a victim to prejudice. Candy, Crooks; Curley’s wife. That fact that you were old, disabled, black or even just a woman was your ‘weakness’. It started a long path of hate, lies, deceit and sadness. But in some points in the novella, Steinbeck twists aspects of the Great Depression, and morphs them into similar yet impactful versions of his own. For example, the fact that Candy thinks the may get replaced wouldn’t have been a reality. While Steinbeck wrote Of Mice and Men, all itinerant ranch workers were starting to be replaced by machinery. Nonetheless, his novella captures lives of those at that time, and his perspective of it himself.
By doing this, Steinbeck takes us into the minds of the characters and gives the novella a more personal
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