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Of Mice and Men Hardships Analysis

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In the world today, one sees people being mistreated; they are insulted and degraded, hurt physically, or excluded and scorned. These are hardships that people of color, women, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community face and they are not unique to this time period. In fact, a lot of this mistreatment was much worse, yet for very similar reasons in earlier times. During the Great Depression, which occurred in the 1930's, many of the hardships people faced also had to do with being mistreated on the basis of race, gender, and disability. One of the main hardships faced in John Steinbeck's novel, Of Mice and Men, is degradation in an attempt to gain power, which is shown through characterization and imagery.

Crooks is very unusual in that he is a literate person of color, meaning he can read, and that is very uncommon for this time period. This is illustrated through Steinbeck's description of Crooks' books: "…and [Crooks] had books, too. A tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California Civil Code" (67). Notice that when describing the dictionary, Steinbeck uses the word 'tattered,' having a neutral connotation of being used. However, when the civil code is described, the word used is 'mauled.' The word mauled has a connotation of being viciously destroyed or ripped apart. The Civil Code is a book of laws and rights given to all people. Crooks has used this book many times; clearly it is used. He knows his rights inside and out, but the use of the word 'mauled' implies anger, and the reader can see Crooks' anger at a lack of power and rights.

One of the characters in Of Mice and Men is Crooks, the black stable buck. He does not have very much power, or many rights. Characterization of Crooks occurs when he bullies Lennie in an attempt to gain a little power, and make Lennie feel how he feels a lot of the time. Crooks insults Lennie and makes fun of him because he sees Lennie as less competent than himself as a result of Lennie's cognitive disabilities. Lennie doesn’t understand what it means for one to just "s'pose" as it is put, and Crooks knows that. When he poses these hypothetical situations of what George might be doing or what might happen to George, he is very cruel about it because he knows Lennie thinks these things are actually happening to George, and doesn’t know any better. For example, Crooks says, "S'pose George don’t come back no more....s'pose [he] went into town and you never heard of him no more" (71). Crooks is being purposefully cruel to Lennie because that is how people are to him, and he wants to turn it around so other people understand how he feels.

Throughout the novel, the only woman is Curley’s wife. Because of her gender, she is a powerless character, oppressed

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