A Comparison Of Racism In Of Mice

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A Comparison Of Racism In Of Mice And Men And The Withered Arm. Essay, Research Paper Examine The Nature of Prejudice in Of Mice and Men and The Withered Arm John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. Of Mice and Men is also set in Salinas, California, USA, during the depression of America. This was a time of unemployment and economic decline. During the American depression over 3 million people were unemployed. Because of this many workers migrated in order to find work, as work was rare. During the 1930 s (the time in which this novel is set) women were also treated as second class citizens. Women were dependent upon men for economic support and in return were expected to stay within the home and watch over the children and complete the household chores. Women were

only recently able to vote and they were often were uneducated. Women still operated in whore houses as a type of service toward men. Men were dependant on these women for uncomplicated sex. Considering all of these factors women had a type of object like status during the 1930 s. Racism was also very present in the society of the 1930 s and Blacks were still seen as inferior by white people Blacks were segregated in schools, stores, transport and were unable to vote. Blacks were also given the menial jobs such as servants and stable bucks and not given a decent wages and credit they deserved. Ageism was also present in the 1930 s society. Old people were not treated with respect and were also often given menial low pay jobs. Steinbeck explored the social issues of the time (

such as ageism, sexism, racism and the poor) in his fictional novels. Of Mice and Men reflects these social issues. Curley s wife is discriminated against because she is a woman. She is isolated and lonely as she is the only female on the ranch. Curley s wife represented the way that women were treated in the 1930 s. In the story Of Mice and Men Curley s wife is seen as a second class citizen. Steinbeck never names Curley s wife throughout the story and the Authorial purpose of this is to obviously show that Curley s Wife is defined due to her relationship with Curley. The authorial purpose is also to show us that women were treated as objects during this era- thus naming her Curley s wife. Her having no name also shows the reader how insignificant she is at the ranch. We receive

a bad impression of Curley s wife even before she is introduced to the story. We receive this impression from the way that Candy describes her as a tart:- Well, I think that Curley s married… a tart. Steinbeck also gives a negative description of Curley s wife which helps demonstrate how little she is respected at life on the ranch:- She has full rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her nails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled cluster, like sausages. Due to her being an obvious possession of Curley s she is unable to make any friends at the ranch and George also says:- such a ranch ain t no place for a girl, specially like her. This therefore also demonstrates the prejudice against women in the book as all factors concerning Curley s wife point toward her

isolation from others. We can also see the large amount of dependency that women have upon men during the book when Curley s wife tells of how she saw that the only escape from her mother was to be married. Due to some complications and disagreements with her mother over her wanting to go in the movies due to an offer she had from a man, she is forced to quickly make an escape from home and makes a quick and poor choice to marry Curley. Discrimination against women is also demonstrated within the book when in conversation the subject of a particular whore house arises between the ranchers. This section also portrays to the reader women being treated as objects. During this section George is invited by Whit to visit a whore house in town. This also has the effect of showing us how