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Shantelle Knight

Mr. Robbins

AP Language

January 9, 2013
Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck relates the history of the 1900s to the book he writes called Of Mice and Men, which is written in the 1930’s. The issue of segregation is one way Steinbeck compares the two. Another relation to Steinbeck’s life in Of Mice and Men is his job as a “bindle stiff” which means farmhand. One of the major settings in Of Mice and Men is on the farm that is believed to be referred to Steinbeck’s job. Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. This is also where this story takes place. As you can see Steinbeck uses a lot of his own personal experience to write his fictions. Steinbeck went to Stanford, but failed to graduate from that college. His working class experience helps develop the interesting personality of the main characters in his novels. There is a significance of “dream, friendship, and loneliness” in this story.

Written around the time of the Great Depression, and other major important historical events, Steinbeck uses the events happening around this time to make this novel extraordinary. One major thing is how he expresses the racial tension between the workers and farm owners. Change is one of the themes expressed in this story. Although the blacks worked on the farm and did the most of the work in the town, they were not appreciated at all. They were treated as if they were wild animals yet to be tamed. Crooks is an African American, self-educated man, who works on this farm, Crooks is the only colored in this story. He is treated differently compared to everyone else. Crooks has a “cynical intelligence and a contemptuous demeanor that he uses to prevent others from inevitably excluding him because of his race.” Crooks is always excluded from the activities of the other farm workers and treated very poorly. '"Why ain't you wanted?" Lennie asked. "'Cause I'm black they play cards in there, but I can't play because I'm black. They say I stink.”(p.68).This quote explains how racist some people were back then: Crooks was always shunned. '”.a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn.”(p.66).That means that his bed was separated from everyone else’s. Lennie is the only one on the farm that doesn’t show racism towards Crooks,

“I was a bindle stiff myself for quite a spell. I worked in the same country that the story is laid in. The characters are composites to a certain extent. Lennie was a real person. He's in an insane asylum in California right now. I worked alongside him for many weeks. He didn't kill a girl. He killed a ranch foreman. Got sore because the boss had fired his pal and stuck a pitchfork right through his stomach. I hate to tell you how many times I saw him do it. We couldn't stop him until it was too late.” Lennie is based on a real person as told in this quote. He is mentally disabled but a kind-hearted person but at the same time a very physically strong person who has a love for soft things. The fact that he doesn’t know his own physical ability puts the people around him in danger. At one point in Of Mice and Men Lennie goes and walks into Crooks room, but crooks tells him to leave because Crooks isn’t able to hang around the other farmers so he doesn’t want to let Lennie in his room. Racism exists a lot in the second chapter. The men on the ranch were continually called the black worker the “n” word. I don’t think all the swear in the book is needed in the first place, Steinbeck shouldn’t have said the “n” word so many times. At the same time, Steinbeck probably put so much emphasis in using the “n” word because of how it was used around the time this book was written, The book was written to show what times were like in the 1940s and how everything changed after the Great Depression, It also show how normal it was for people to thrown around that word like it was nothing. The worst part about it is that black people accepted it, but Lennie was never one to think the way they did. Lennie...
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