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Of Mice and Men- Prejudice

By love2eat Oct 16, 2012 728 Words
OMAM – Prejudice
In john Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice And men, there are many examples of prejudice. The main types of prejudice shown in this novel are racial, sexual and social prejudice. This essay is firstly going to look at racial prejudice. There is much racial prejudice shown in of mice and men towards Crooks, the black crippled stable buck. Crooks is more permanent than the other ranch hands and has his own room off the stables and in the barn, he has many more possession than the rest of the ranch hands. This room is made put to be privileged and also because it means he is nearer to the horses but in fact it is really because the other ranch hands do not want him in the bunk house with them. As a result of this prejudice Crooks has become bitter and very lonely. When Lennie comes to pet the puppies, not even realising that Crooks room is “out of bounds”, Crooks instantly becomes defensive and uncivil, “I ain’t wanted in the bunk room and you ain’t wanted in my room” but Lennie in his childish innocence is completely without prejudice, “why ain’t you wanted”, he asks. Crooks retaliates to this with: “Cause I’m black, they play cards in there but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink. Well I tell you, all of you stink to me”. This quote shows us that Crooks desperately wants to join I, be accepted, but because of his colour he cannot so he feels the only way he can make himself feel better is to cut himself off further. When Crooks realises that Lennie means no harm he invites him to “come on in and set a while” Lennie talks to him about George and his dream, it makes Crooks remember his childhood which he looks back on as a kind of heaven. “The white kids come to play at our place, an’ sometimes I went to play with them and some of them were pretty nice. My ol’ man didn’t like that. I never knew till long later why he didn’t like that. But I know now”. Crooks did not experience racism directly as a child, this makes his current situation worse as he was not used to racism. Crooks is fascinated by the strength of the friendship of Lennie and George. Especially how close they are. Crooks said, “Well, s’pose, jus’ s’pose he don’t come back. What’ll you do then?” Crooks asked these questions as he does not have any friends, and he would not know how losing a friend unexpectedly would feel. He was curious and Envious, about the friendship of Lennie and George, noticing that Lennie is mentally immature, he takes advantage of this situation to “torture” him mentally, to make him feel better and ease the pain of having others reject him “Crooks face lighted with pleasure at his torture” he also does this to ease his jealousy towards the friendship Lennie has, but that Crooks will never have. He wants the people to feel the way that he does, completely alone.

Crooks goes on to talk about his loneliness “‘A guy needs somebody to be near him’, he whined: ‘A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you’ he cried ‘I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ gets sick’” Crooks is looking for sympathy, he is so incredibly lonely that he says being lonely can make you fall ill. Lennie continues to talk about is dream. Crooks, having been on the ranch for quite a while, has witnessed a lot of people with the same dreams, he mocks it “Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody never gets no land” but when Candy comes in and backs up what Lennie has been saying he begins to believe in the dream “if you… guys want a hand to work for nothing just his keep, why I’d come and lend a hand” Crooks sees the dream as his escape from what he is living in, somewhere like his childhood where his colour would not be an issue. There are different levels of racial prejudice throughout the book. Most of the ranch hands do not socialise with Crooks but would not go out of their way to insult him.

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