There’s an Italian Proverb that says, “At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.” This quote is really just saying we are all the same no matter our race, gender, or sexual orientation. People still get discriminated against and discriminate against others. In the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck tells the story of two men who travel together during the Great Depression. Steinbeck explores the major theme of the loss of hope that can be caused by discrimination.
Steinbeck used Crooks and Curley’s Wife to show that discrimination leaves people without power and hope.
Crooks is a stable buck who has to deal with racism everyday. Nobody ever treats him like a normal guy. He is almost always alone because others do not like around him. Crooks says that he’s not wanted in the bunkhouse, and states that the reason why is “Cause I’m black. They play cars in there, but I can’t play ‘cause I’m black.
They say I stink”. Everyone discriminates against him. Most of them are not rude to Crooks, but they still do not want to be around him. He has to sleep in his own little shed because they don’t want him in the bunkhouse. Crooks has to deal with unfair treatment and discrimination. He doesn’t have any of the same rights as a white man does. He can easily be framed or accused of crimes he didn’t commit.
Curley’s wife threatened him by saying “Well, you keep your place then, N. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” (Steinbeck,81). She threatens to say he did something he didn’t do just because he stood up for himself. Because he is a black man, he has basically has no rights at all. No matter what, racism will always be a major problem in society. No matter what race someone is, they probably dealt with racism at one point or another.
Curley’s wife was considered to be a tart because she was friendly. The guys on the ranch were always saying things behind her back. They were always being very sexist towards her. Candy talks down about her by saying “Yeah. Purty… but…. well- she got the eye” Even when shes just talking to the guys, they say she’s a tart. They as men believe if a pretty woman even speaks to them, she is considered to be flirting. She was so young and got married to a man who is unkind. Curley’s wife even says “Well, I ain’t told nobody this before and maybe I ought’n to. I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella”. She most likely doesn’t wanna spend all her time with a man she doesn’t like. She always goes to talk to the guys on the ranch because she wants people to talk to. Curley’s wife is called a tart a lot. She is really just trying to make friends. A woman couldn’t have a conversation with a man without it being called flirting.
Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. Curley’s wife dealt with sexual discrimination constantly as do women today. Crooks dealt with racial discrimination his entire life. No matter what, these will always be major problems in society. These problems made the characters feel alone throughout the book. Throughout this story, Crooks, Curley’s wife, Lennie, and Candy all had to deal with awful discrimination. The novel Of Mice and Men has such a strong theme of discrimination. I believe people discriminate against each other because they are uncomfortable with themselves. We as a society need to stop judging ourselves and others.