Oppression And Discrimination In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

Improved Essays
The way human beings act on impulse towards each other is truly preposterous. It is human nature to treat others differently depending on the relationship the perpetrator has with that person. More likely than not, acting towards a different ethnicity or gender results in a level of discrimination or cruelty. The inhumane acts of oppression and abuse are regarded with repulse and punishable by death. Furthermore, when oppression and abuse is ignored and encouraged, it becomes a threatening abandonment of human nature, as seen during the era of the Great Depression. In the 1937 novel Of Mice and Men, the author, John Steinbeck argues and explores the concept of the evil of oppression and abuse through the varying character traits of Curley’s …show more content…
There are hate groups dedicated to violence towards the colored, even though discrimination is viewed with disgust now. Some people still hold the old belief that they are superior, and that no race is better. An example of this is the Ku Klux Klan, the clan made up of white southerners that exists to hate different races. Through many combined efforts, colored people now have more rights and freedom, but the oppression and discrimination towards black and colored people still exist in today’s society. In Of Mice and Men, the stable buck is a black man named Crooks. He is shown to be oppressed and discriminated many times throughout the book. There are repeated instances of him being abused verbally:“Where the hell is that God damn nigger?”(Steinbeck 29). Crooks is a considered a “minority” on the ranch because of his skin color and race. All the ranch workers live together in the bunkhouse, except for Crooks, who lives in the stable alone. Crooks thinks of his stable as his own room, where he can be alone and not bothered. However, it is shown that Curley’s wife still has control over him when he tells her to leave his room: “Listen, nigger...You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?” This indicates that Curley’s wife has control over Crooks, because of his color, and is using that control to oppress and abuse him. Steinbeck portrays to the readers the evils of …show more content…
He wishes to belong with the other ranch workers, but he is old and useless. When Candy’s ancient dog was shot and put to a rest, he realizes that the dog is a foreshadow of what will happen to him, hence why he was eager to leave with George and Lennie. As soon as Candy becomes too old, he will be fired and kicked out: “They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunkhouses they’ll put me on the county.” (Steinbeck 60). Candy suffers from ageism, discrimination based on his age. Candy’s dog symbolizes it’s owner, showing that the older you become, the less valuable you will be to the workers. He is without purpose, and knows that he will be “canned”. In some Asian cultures, reaching a certain age is a sign of respect, and the younger generations take care of the older grandfathers and grandmothers, but in other places the elderly are still being discriminated. They are sent away to nursery homes for others to take care of. This symbolizes disrespect and oppression, sending the elderly away against their will. The oppression and resentment towards the older people still continue today, and Steinbeck clearly illustrates ageism through the character of Candy and his

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Theme Of Loneliness

    • 1158 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Later on when Candy is talking to George he tells him he regrets letting Carlson shoot his dog, “I oughtta of shot that dog myself George. I shouldn’t oughtta let no stranger shoot my dog.”(Steinbeck, 61). Candy knew his dog was getting old and needed to be put down, but he didn’t have the heart to do it because his dog was his only friend. Candy also saw himself in his dog. A while back Candy got his hand caught in a machine, so now he sees and old disabled man who will be thrown off the ranch as soon as he is no longer able to swamp the bunkhouse.…

    • 1158 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The men on the ranch suggest, “get Candy to shoot his old dog (Steinbeck 45).” Through Candy’s eyes he sees his dog as a symbol of him. When the dog grew old, everyone on the ranch said he was useless and wanted to shoot him. Candy is scared they will feel the same way about him, that when he gets too old they will hurt, can, or possibly kill him. Candy also feels a sense of hopelessness. “I won't have no place to go, and I could get no more jobs (Steinbeck 60).” Candy feels that just because of his age, that he will get canned and have to go somewhere else.…

    • 850 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    As an old man who is getting useless in ranch, Candy lived in a hopeless way before George and Lennie’s coming, but had the only comfort, his old dog. Curley, the offspring of the ranch’s owner, uses rudeness and violence to mask his inferiority about stature. Curley’s wife falls into the dissatisfaction of her marriage, while she flirts with the men on ranch to relieve her loneliness. Another character is Crooks, called Negro by his co-workers, who suffered a lot of prejudice, he had to isolate himself until Lennie warms…

    • 1036 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Although he stays in the bunkhouse with the ranchers, Candy is still alienated from them as he is older and disabled. Candy’s only true companion is his dog. The other workers do not like his dog as they say, “that dog stinks. Get him outa here, Candy!” (44) but they eventually convince him to allow Carlson to “shoot him for you” (45). By killing the one entity that Candy related to and found comfort in, his loneliness is reinforced.…

    • 1229 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Candy’s dog is veryold and sick in it’s old age, much like Candy himself. The ‘ “...dog...is so God damn old he can’thardly walk. Stinks like hell, too’ ” (Steinbeck, 36). The author reveals that the dog is probablyin pain and is an unpleasant animal to have around the other workers. Although Candy has “‘...been around him so much that [he] never notice[s] how he stinks...’ ”, the other ranch hands,especially Carlson, despise having the dog around (Steinbeck, 44).…

    • 1067 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Crooks is the only African American in the ranch and suffered from inequality. He is the most isolated persona in the book, he is segregated from the rest of the guys. Being prohibited from the bunkhouse, force to live alone in a barn gave him some time to feel alone. He indicates his need of being cared about when he says, “ Don’t make no difference who the guy is long’s he’s with you. I tell you, a guy get too lonely an’ he gets sick.” (71) Further in , Crooks interacts with Lennie and lets off some steam coming from his racial injustice.…

    • 833 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Secondly, the crew of men that made up the ranch’s work force wanted to not only end the dog’s life but later on wanted to terminate Lennie’s individual . The two situations are different because the dog was old and disheveled, and he was suffering. Lennie was younger, but George ended his life to prevent suffering. While one had already endured excruciating pain the other was saved from it. The dog’s worth was also defined by his age and ability to eat, while Lennie’s worth was defined by his mental handicap and his recent harmful acts.…

    • 1170 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Tis shows that Candy was in very deep thought about his dog. But what Candy was really thinking about was his old age and what will happen to him. Proof of this is “You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn't no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody'd shoot me.…

    • 868 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Candy has no relatives, which means he has no one to go to if he gets fired. Candy is also an old man, and fears of being fired, and if he does, he “wisht somebody’d shoot” (60) him because he would rather die than be by himself all alone. Candy is desperate for companionship and sees this ranch as a perfect opportunity to be with someone: he even decides to put all of his three…

    • 2251 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    When they can me here I wisht somebody 'd shoot me. But they won 't do nothing like that. I won 't have no place to go, an ' I can 't get no more jobs’” (Steinbeck 60). Candy is talking about how he came to realize, from the help of others, that his dog was much too old to be happy any longer, and Candy was forced to allow his dog to be shot. Without his dog, Candy is emotionally destroyed and fears to go on in life without his only friend.…

    • 1388 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays