The Role Of Sexism In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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“‘[Writers] are charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures...for the purpose of improvement’” -John Steinbeck, Nobel Prize Speech. According to Steinbeck’s speech, the purpose of literature is communication and exposition of problems, and understanding and teaching of the ways to fix those faults in society. One of John Steinbeck’s books Of Mice and Men advances his speech’s purpose by illustrating how discrimination, especially sexism and racism, can alter one’s personality and destroy their desire to achieve anything greater in life than their current situation.
To begin, Steinbeck demonstrates the adverse impacts of sexism in this novel through the character of Curley’s wife. In the beginning of the book, Curley’s wife is
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Crooks is not used to getting visitors, so Lennie coming into the barn was a surprise. At first, Crooks says, “‘You ain’t go no right to come in my room’” however, he finally says, “‘Come on in and set a while...Long as you won’t get out and leave me alone, you might as well set down’”(Steinbeck 68-69). Racism creates a segregation at the ranch which leaves Crooks all by himself in the barn, which can sensibly make him lonely. The loneliness that racism creates makes life really boring for Crooks because he rarely has someone to talk to. To add, Crooks mentions that he has learned over time that “‘If [he] say something, why it’s just a nigger sayin’ it’”(Steinbeck 70). Racism creates an image in Crooks’ head that anything he says is worthless, so he does not say much. His sense of worthlessness leads to a lack of passion for anything in his life because racism makes him believe he will never do anything beyond being a slave on a ranch. In summary, Steinbeck demonstrates the consequences racism has through Crooks’ character and his feelings of worthlessness and loneliness, created by the ideals of racism and segregation.
In conclusion, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck furthers Steinbeck’s speech by illustrating how dreams can be crushed, as well as people feeling lonely and worthless when they are discriminated against, whether it be racism or sexism. By illustrating what happens when these isms are present in society, Steinbeck is demonstrating exactly why they should not be existent. Discrimination has lasting negative effects that can only be prevented by treating everyone as equals. To end, a n unknown wise man once said “Treat the janitor with the same respect as the
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