The Theme Of Disabilities In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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Chen Guangcheng, a prominent blind civil rights activist, said, “How a society treats its disabled is the true measure of a civilization.” The topic of disabilities is touched upon many times in the novella Of Mice and Men. John Steinbeck writes masterfully, driving character development forward employing societal paradigms on which to model his alternate world. Because the story is less plot driven as some others, it relies heavily on the presence of literary elements coupled with the exploration of civic themes. The undertones of political commentary in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men attempt to convey the mistreatment of people with disabilities in that they are isolated from society and treated vehemently, in order to connect us to characters’s social experiences in relation to the norms of the time period.
John Steinbeck continually makes the assertion that
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While their friendship is evident, so is the subtle tinge of inequality. The reader’s first impression of Lennie and George is one of equality and similarity. Steinbeck writes, "Both were dressed in denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons. Both wore black, shapeless hats and both carried tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders" (2). At first blush, the unlikely pair form a support system, relying on each other undeterred by the disheartening temperament of the Great Depression. As the story progresses even further, deeper insight into the characters as well as the narrative contradicts this preconception. Just a few pages after, Steinbeck discusses the aspect of their relationship that adheres to the leader and follower dynamic. “Lennie stopped chewing and swallowed. His face was concentrated. ‘I… I ain’t gonna say a word.’ ‘Good boy! That’s fine Lennie’” (Steinbeck 15). Regarding social altercations, like the pair meeting their new boss, George require that Lennie be silent due to his mental ailment. What is more troubling is the treatment of Lennie as if he
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