Prejudice in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

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“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” This quote, once said by E. B. White, excellently states what the novel, Of Mice and Men, is trying to clearly state. Of Mice and Men is a profound novel that has many things to teach society. This novel, written by John Steinbeck, reflects many flaws in the world today. It mirrors many of the characteristics that every human possesses. Prejudice is still a common way of thinking in today’s society, and to the people who feel victimized, it can be hard to overcome. Curley’s wife, Lennie, and Crooks all deal with prejudice against themselves different ways.

Curley’s wife is what we in modern day might call a “tease”, but there is more to her than just looks. The ranch workers do say thinks like, “well, I think Curley’s married… a tart,” (28). Curley’s wife, who never is given a name, is criticized before she has spoken one word. She is considered “promiscuous” right off the bat. Although, she is not, the workers on the ranch tend to think that she is attempting to flirt with them. They claim that “She got the eye… I seen her give Slim the eye.” Curley’s wife only acts this way because she trying to fix the void between her and Curley with someone else. Part of the distance between Curley’s wife and Curley is that his wife does not care for him the way he cares for her. She claims that she “wasn’t gonna stay no place where [she] couldn’t get nowhere or make something of [her]self, so [she] married Curley,” (88). When she says this, she implies that she settled for Curley when she could have been a huge star. She walks around the ranch telling people “’I’m to find Curley, Slim.’ ‘Well you ain’t tryin’ very hard. I seen him goin’ in your house’...

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...omin’ in, you might just as well, (74). While earlier on in Crook’s life he wasn’t always secluded from the white folks’. He says “The white kids play at our place, sometimes I went to play with them… My ol’ man didn’t like that. I never understood why, until now,” (70). By saying this, Crooks expresses that he has so much pent up anger from people ridiculing his race. Crooks has almost accepted prejudice as a way of life.

Prejudice is a common factor in society today. It is an excuse for people not to get to know someone because they do not feel it is necessary. Of Mice and Men portrays many flaws in society then and now. All three of these characters experience different forms of prejudice and deal with it different ways. In the end, they are secluded from gatherings of ranch workers. This book also brings the timeless phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
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