Power In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

750 Words 3 Pages
Status is a curious thing. It is so often set in a way that cannot be controlled, and there is not much one can do to change it. Even though all men are supposed to be equal, there are still clear lines of status: wealth, popularity, intellect, and ability being some. And those with higher status almost universally have more power over those “below” them. The beloved novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a tale of two wandering ranch workers named George Milton and Lennie Small. The two men find work at a ranch where they experience struggles of power and weakness first-hand. This story displays why some characters are powerful, and why some are powerless. Specifically, two characters with power are Slim and Curley; and two weak …show more content…
This is displayed in Of Mice and Men through two characters: Candy, an old handyman; and Crooks, a black stable buck. Candy is an old man who lost his hand in an accident that occured on the ranch. However, he does simple chores to be kept on the payroll: “‘I got hurt four years ago,’ he said. ‘They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunk houses they’ll put me on the county.’” (Steinbeck 66). His old age and injury make him believe his days on the ranch are numbered, and he thinks there is nothing he can do about it but wait. Candy has an old dog that he loves, but some of the men want to put it out of its misery: “Candy [looks] a long time at Slim to try to find some reversal. And Slim [gives] him none. At last Candy [says] softly and hopelessly, ‘Awright-take ‘im.’” (Steinbeck 52). He is a fundamentally weak person, and he lets himself get walked over. Another weak character is Crooks, a black stable buck. He faces harsh discrimination due to his race. Due to this discrimination, he distances himself from others. However, he makes the mistake of talking to the men one day, and Curley’s wife reminds him just how powerless he is: “‘Well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.’” (Steinbeck 88-89). Crooks is seen as inferior to even the other weak characters just because of the color of his skin. Crooks holds his status because of his race, and Candy holds his status because of his age. Neither of them can do anything to change it, thus being powerless to their position in

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