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

Improved Essays
Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is a critical lesson that Steinbeck encourages readers to reflect on when it comes to discrimination or prejudice. Certain aspects of the American society are heavily criticized in the novella, Of Mice and Men, to express the characters as symbols rather than individual people. The novela describes a society in which it is extremely difficult to succeed in any type of vertical movement in society due to prejudice. Based on an individual’s personal insecurities and placement within different power levels, discrimination occurs based on race, age, gender and disabilities.
During the time period in which the book was written, African Americans were viewed as a minority,
…show more content…
Candy is repeatedly described as “old” throughout the book, as well as having a stump for a right hand due to losing it in a ranch accident. Similarly, Candy’s dog is described as “[a] dragfooted sheepdog, gray of muzzle, with pale old blind eyes” (24). Both Candy and his dog reflect the views society has placed on the elderly and their value in the workforce during the 1930’s. Because of his age, Candy is viewed as having less social power, and is pressured to make decisions he otherwise would not have made. One example of this is when Carlson coerces Candy into shooting his dog. Even though the dog was old, Candy had him since he was a pup and had formed a companionship with him. Carlson made the argument that “[the dog] stinks to beat hell,” it was useless, and “[the] dog aint no good for himself” meaning that he would be granting the dog mercy by shooting him (45). The shooting of Candy’s dog may foreshadow Candy’s future of being let go by the ranch, and symbolize the fate of anyone who has outlived his or her purpose. The old, infirm, or disabled are not valued as much as the healthy in the world because the American society believes they lack worth. By using Candy and his dog as a symbol of ageism, Steinbeck could be revealing his belief that prejudice based on a person’s age in the American society is

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    In “Of Mice And Men” by John Steinbeck, two interlinked deaths are the deaths of Curley’s dog and Lennie. Comparing with the death of Lennie, which is the ending of the book at the meantime, the death of the old dog who was belonged to Candy can be regarded as an omen. Firstly, one point is that both the old dog and Lennie are unwanted to most people. Secondly, another aspect is that Candy is incapable to prevent his dog from being killed by Carlson, exactly as George’s inability to guard Lennie’s life. Thirdly, Candy said after the death of the dog, he wishes the killer was himself rather than someone else.…

    • 1036 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The book revolves around the idea of killing, but not by the normalincentives of rage, anger, and hate but out of mercy. The theme of mercy is portrayed by Candy,Candy’s dog, and Lennie.The theme of mercy is represented by the old man Candy. In the novel Candy is “[an]old...” and crippled swamper (Steinbeck, 24). Because Candy lost his right hand and also be-cause he is old, he is not much use at the ranch. The boss lets him continue to…

    • 1067 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Superior Essays

    After the long debate Carlson pulls out his bag from underneath his bunk pulls out his lugger, then takes the gun out then shoot Candy’s dog the way he had explained it before. When confronted afterwards Candy expresses his pain for not shooting his dog stating "I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.” the demonstrates the pain that Candy went through letting someone else beside him kill someone whom he cared about. This links back to Lennie and George, with Lennie being no good to George when all he ever does is constantly gets in trouble and has to have George bail him out. However, George cared about Lennie and since he had promised Lennie’s aunt Clara to take care of him the was what he was going to do.…

    • 1660 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When pressured to shoot his dog, Candy looked for sympathy from other workers, but received none, and his dog is killed. The death of his dog represents what’s left for those who are past their prime. The dog could no longer serve any practical purpose on the ranch, so others decided it was time for him to go. Much like in society how the elderly and disabled are simply tossed aside to live in squalor after it is decided that they no longer provide any benefit to the public. While what happened with Slim and Candy’s animals was tragic, these events are not only limited to…

    • 861 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Ever’ time he comes into the bunk house I can smell him for two, three days. Why’n’t you get Candy to shoot his old dog and give him one of the pups to raise up?’” (Page 45) This is seen as foreshadowing on the death of Lenny. The similarity to how Candy felt to have closure that he should have been the one to put down his dog, not some other man. This is a parallel to how it was George who rightfully was the one to “put down” Lenny in the end. Candy feels that he did not get justice because he was not the one to put down his own dog, one that he had had since the dog was a pup.…

    • 1529 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    I didn’t bounce you hard.” He didn 't even acknowledge it was his fault that the puppy died because he On page 6 Lennie crushes Curley’s hand. The reason why Lennie did that was because George told him to fight back and he was doing it for self defense. On page 95 it says “I’d pet em and pretty soon they bit my fingers and I pinched their hands a little and they was little because they was so dead.” This shows that Lennie reacts too quickly to the littlest things happens to him because probably he thinks that he’s going to get hurt. Something that is likely to…

    • 1159 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In chapter 3 Candy struggled hard with being lonely before he lost his dog not to mention being lonely with his dog but now being depressed knowing his dog was killed, steinbeck 48,49. Candy lost his dog by Carlson, he had shot him in the head to stop the dog from suffering.That dog is all he had to look forward to seeing after a hard day at work on the farm. Candy is the oldest worker on the farm and he is missing a hand. With Candy missing a hand he never got the good jobs he always got the small and easy jobs for one…

    • 856 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays