Role of Women and Symbolism in of Mice and Men

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Symbolism: Crooks

Crooks is symbolic of dignity in the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Dignity describes the sense of self-respect and self-worth, along with physical and psychological integrity and empowerment. Steinbeck shows Crooks as a symbol for dignity and pride in midst adversity when he draws himself up and will not “accept charity” from anyone. For example, when Crooks, Lennie, and Candy are in the bunkhouse they speak of their dream and initially Crooks is on board. After a couple minutes, Crooks deserts the dream as follows: ‘“Well, jus’ forget it,” said Crooks. “I didn’t mean it. Jus’ foolin’. I wouldn’ want to go no place like that.”’ (Steinbeck 83). This statement illuminates that for Candy, a man must have a home to grow old in. In juxtapositions, Crooks idealism is that pride and dignity is the most important thing a man can have. When he lost hope in the dream, Crooks was hit with the reality that the best thing that he could have is dignity. Another example of dignity seen through Crooks is when he describes his lineage to Lennie. Crooks states: ‘“I ain’t a southern Negro,” he said. “I was born right here in California. My old man had a chicken ranch, ‘bout ten acres.”’ (Steinbeck 70). Crooks shows pride and dignity in this quote. He is not the descendent of slaves, he tells Lennie, but of landowner’s. Crooks is proud of his lineage and this shows that he has self-respect. By decreasing these prejudices, Crooks stands empowered. In Of Mice and Men, Crooks is a symbol for dignity in the midst of adversity. Theme: Role of Women

In the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck presents women as a danger to toy with or as a person who engages in sex for payment. There are two types of women portrayed in this novel; prostitutes and mother figures- for example, the girls from the whore house and Aunt Clara. The major female character in the novel, Curley’s wife, does not fit into either of these categories. Her status between...
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