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Tyshaun ChristianMr. LiedCP English 1114 January 2018    In John Steinbeck’s, “Of Mice and Men”, he uses social realism to illustrate the negative treatment of African Americans, women, the elderly, and the disabled in the 1930s.    Crooks is an important example of how terribly African-Americans were treated at the time. For one, this character was not given an actual name. Instead, he was given a title that referenced his crooked back. He is a lonely character with no friends or family. Doesn’t even have people to hangout with to feel like he has a place in the world. “I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick” (Steinbeck 73).    Women were seen as non resisting figures in the novel. To start off there were very few female characters. There was only one female character that was important, Curley’s wife. She didn’t have a specific name she was just referenced as, “Curley’s wife”. Her being the only female had a big effect on the guys. She was very focused on her physical appearance knowing she is in area where there is mostly men. Therefore the men on the ranch referred to her as a “tramp”. “…I seen ’em poison before, but i never seen no piece of jailbait than her…” (Steinbeck 32).    Steinbeck shows the negative treatment of the disabled through Lennie and Candy. Candy lives in fear of being forgotten by his boss due to the loss of one of his hands. Even Candy’s dog, who can no longer do his job without any teeth, was put down in a very awful way. Lennie, however, deals with a serious mental disability. He is introduced in the novel as a character who will clearly fail, and in the end doesn’t even realize when this happens. He thinks him and George are going to own some land where they will have freedom, and he will be able to tend rabbits. Yet Crooks knows that’s not going to happen because he says, “You’re nuts”(Steinbeck 69). The author then shows the mistreatment of the elderly through the character Candy. They treated him poorly because of his old age and useful because he only had one hand. They didn’t show him respect except for Lennie and George. Carlson and everybody agreed to get rid of Candy’s dog, so Carlson shot him. “The way I’d shoot him, he wouldn’t feel nothing. I’d put the gun right there. Right back of the head, he wouldn’t even quiver” (Steinbeck 45). Besides the point it is similar to disabilities, old age will also lead to a worker being seen as useless.    Literature is an art form. Of mice and men is a work of literature that brings attention to several types of mistreatment amongst a population of poor and/or working class men. When they arrive at the ranch Lennie says, “I don’t like this place George. This ain’t no good place. I wanna get outta here” (Steinbeck 32). Everything and everyone there seems to be trying to set the two up for failure. The people there are rude, and are trying to start unnecessary problems. Basically Steinbeck’s idea from the beginning was the two main characters, Lennie and George, are meant to fail at whatever it is they do. Which is basically the concept of Naturalism. “…Naturalism, which blends social critique with a tragic narrative structure wherein a sort of natural fate irresistibly propels the characters toward their downfall….” (Attell,Kevin)    

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