“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.” This was said by Albert Einstein over 50 years ago, but is still relevant today as it describes all bullying behaviors. This relevance is shown through modern literature by the way that the characters interact. John Steinbeck, in Of Mice and Men, uses Curley’s attitude towards Lennie, Carlson killing Candy’s dog, and conversation between Crooks and Lennie to show that the emotionally insecure oppress the innocent.
When George and Lennie entered the ranch, Lennie was immediately harassed by Curley due to his mental handicap and his large size (pages 25-26). Curley, being a small person, was jealous of those larger than him and hated them. Curley was insecure; he attempted to control his marriage, he loved his wife as an object instead of a person, and he was aggressive towards everyone.
Another way that John Steinbeck shows oppression of the innocent is when Carlson decided that Candy’s dog was too old to be useful on the ranch, so he offered to kill it. Carlson promised that the dog “wouldn’t even quiver”. Candy declined the offer at first, but is pressured by other workers at the ranch. Carlson couldn’t see the friendship between Candy and his dog, even after the dog was dead and Candy was grieving. (page 45)
The third way that oppression is shown is through Crooks. Crooks, who was isolated in his shed, became lonely and became insecure because of how badly he wanted to talk to people. On pages 71-73, he criticized Lennie’s dependence on George for survival, and then played with Lennie’s mind by suggesting that George would never come back. Crooks continued to taunt Lennie until Lennie threatened him physically.
Curley, Carlson, and Crooks were emotionally damaged, lacking, and insecure people who picked on and oppressed innocent people such as Lennie and Candy. John Steinbeck used these facts to show that bullying and oppression will always occur between the insecure and the...
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