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Mauricio Mejia
18 February 2014
Of Mice and Men
The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, It is the mark of an educated mind to
entertain a thought without accepting it. This quote can be applied to Lennie, Curleys wife, and
Crooks. Of Mice and Men is a novella written by John Steinbeck. It is about two workers who go
into a farm looking for work, but instead find discrimination all around the people who live
there. To illustrate the theme of discrimination, Steinbeck includes the characters of Curleys
wife, Lennie and Crooks in this novella. Through these three characters, Steinbeck shows his
displeasure with the way people treat one another.
John Steinbeck uses Lennie as an example of discrimination towards people with mental
disabilities. An example of the discrimination is shown when George says, So you forgot that
awready, did you? I gotta tell you again do I? Jesus Christ, youre a crazy bastard (Steinbeck
4). In this quote George gets mad at Lennie for forgetting something so quickly and having to
remind him over and over again. Even though he is Lennies friend, George still discriminates
Lennie because he is frustrated that his disabilities slow them down. However there are more
examples of the discrimination Lennie experiences. For example, Curleys wife moved away
from him a little. I think youre nuts (Steinbeck 90). In this quote Curleys wife is
uncomfortable because of Lennies disability. Curleys wife is suddenly uncomfortable because
she realizes that she might get hurt. Lennie symbolizes the discrimination people with mental
In Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck uses Curleys wife as an example of gender
inequality during The Great Depression. For instance, George looked around at Lennie. Jesus,
what a tramp, he said. So thats what Curley picks for a wife(Steinbeck 32). In this quote

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George is introduced to Curleys wife because she comes looking for Curley but she is actually
being flirtatious. George immediately thinks she is a tramp because she is Curleys property, yet
she is still flirting with other men. However, this is not the only example of gender inequality in
this novella. For example, Ever time the guys is around she shows up. Shes lookin for
Curley , or she thought she left somethin layin around and shes lookin for it ( Steinbeck 51).
In this quote Whit talks about how she is always looking for Curley or something she left
behind. Whit clearly thinks that Curleys wife only goes looking so that she can have an
excuse to flirt with the other men on the ranch. He clearly judges her for this because he views
her as property rather than a lonely human being. Curleys wife is an example of the gender
inequality during the time of The Great Depression.
Of Mice and Men also has racism as a main theme, especially against Crooks. For
example, Listen nigger, she said. You know what I can do to you if you open your trap
(Steinbeck 81). In this quote Curleys wife snaps on Crooks because he talks back to her. This
shows that even though she is a woman, she is still superior to Crooks because she is white and
he is black. However, this is not the only example of racism in this book. For instance Jesus,
how that nigger can pitch shoes (Steinback 44). In this quote Carlson is explaining how good
Crook is at pitching shoes. Even though he is not trying to be mean, he still used a word that is
very derogatory to Crooks. Because Crooks is black, he is often discriminated.
By putting Curleys wife, Crooks, and Lennie in Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck show
his displeasure with discrimination towards blacks, people with mental disabilities, and women.
Crooks is discriminated because he is black and at that time there was still a lot of racism.
Curleys wife is discriminated because she is a woman, and Lennie is discriminated because he is
not very bright. Of Mice and Men is a great book because it discusses very sensitive topics, such

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as racism and sexism, that most authors would be cautious about writing about.

Work Cited
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. Penguin Books, New York: 1993