Outcasts in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men
In the book Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck illustrates the loneliness of California ranch life during the early 1900s. Throughout the story, Steinbeck introduces characters that are isolated and lonely as a result of discrimination and prejudice. The racism towards Crooks, the physical disability of both Crooks and Candy, and the fear towards Curley’s wife causes them to suffer from loneliness and the pain of being outcasts.
Crooks is an outcast because of his race and physical disability. He is a black man, and black men were discriminated against during the early 1900s. “I ain’t wanted in the bunk house… I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink” (pg. 68) He is also physically disabled because he “Got a crooked back where a horse kicked him.” (pg. 20) Black people weren’t treated well in society during that time, and being a disabled black man just made things worse. Crooks may be nice and good at his job, but the others don’t care. To them a black man is a black man, no matter how he acts or what he can do.
Candy is an outcast because his age and physical disability makes him different from the rest of the men on the ranch. He is old and is missing a hand, which he had lost at the ranch. Candy is always excluded from the other ranch hands’ activities, like going to Old Susy’s place and playing horseshoes. When Crooks asked Lennie whether all of the guys went to town or not, Lennie said: “All but old Candy. He just sets in the bunk house…” (pg 69) He is afraid that he will be rejected by the others because he is different from them. The only living thing he didn’t have to fear rejection from was his dog. After he had lost his dog, he felt much lonelier than he was before, since his dog was the only true companion in the world he had.
Curley’s wife appears to be an outcast in this book because of her sex. It is true that she is the only female on the ranch, but that isn’t the main reason she is an...