Both Curley’s Wife and Crooks Are Viewed as Outsiders Who Suffer from Loneliness as a Result of Their Marginalization in “Mice and Men”. How Does Steinbeck Present These Characters as Outsiders and How Do You Think We

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Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” was set in the Great depression in 1930s America. The characters reflect the struggles and harsh times many working Americans faced in that era. Isolated, lonely, marginalised and mistrustful, people had to create new lives for themselves. In the novel Steinbeck describes several characters that are vulnerable due to the social context of that time; Crooks and Curley’s wife face particular hardship which result in them being outsiders in the place they consider home. Steinbeck implies early on in the novel the views other characters have of Crooks and Curley’s wife may differ from the modern reader. Though both women and black people had progressed in their rights by the time of the setting of the novel, old attitudes and mistreatment of black people and to an extent women were still present. Steinbeck immediately emphasises Crooks and Curley’s wife’s low status via their introduction. They are both introduced in such a way to highlight their low regard by others and how they are viewed by society. Steinbeck describes Crooks’ low status very early in the book through the “old swamper” Candy. Candy describes how Crooks gets abuse from the boss for things that are beyond his control. “An’ he give the stable buck hell too.” “Ya see the stable bucks a nigger.” The initial comments depict Crooks as an outsider as he is the only character described to have been getting abused by the boss. It also shows how Crooks is used as an outlet of the boss’s frustration. Candy then describes Crooks using a racial slur. This represents Crooks’ isolation further as Candy’s initial description of Crooks is through his colour and not his personality or other features. The use of the racial term reflects also how society sees Crooks and that this type of language was acceptable to the people of these times. Steinbeck uses a similar ploy when initially introducing Curley’s wife, as he introduces her again through Candy. We see early on how...
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