Steinbeck as an author always seemed to have a niche for writing stories that made you think about the importance of life. Respect for life was highlighted in his stories many times, whether it’s the presence of or the lack of. A few stories that involved this were The Pearl, Of Mice and Men and Travels with Charlie. He knew how to tug on peoples heart strings and make them really think about what life truly means to us even after we close the book.
The importance of respecting life is evident. Life is something that is beautiful when it is given and sorrow some when its taken away. The beauty of something alive can easily outweigh the beauty of it dead, to some people. To some people the thrill of the kill is all that matters and showing that they are the dominant species. This disrespect of life itself is portrayed in the story Travels with Charlie. Steinbeck, being an older wise man at this time knew the beauty of life and felt that it was better to keep the two coyotes alive than kill them and take the beauty of them away. He respects life greatly because he sees the beauty in it and wants to see that beauty shine on. Also, in The Pearl, he shows his respect for life through Kino wanting to preserve Coyotito’s innocence and let him live on to be more than he was himself.
On the other hand, some people do not respect life. These people, like Curley’s wife in Of Mice and Men, treat people like property, like Crooks. She threatened to lynch him if he ever did anything wrong or got out of place. She does not see the beauty in this mans life and therefore does not treat him with the respect he deserves, instead she puts herself before him metaphorically and treats him like a common slave.
In conclusion, Steinbeck shows that the beauty of life can either be respected and appreciated or disrespected and abused. These two viewpoints of life can differ between the person but he shows how respect and admiration can prove the best way to go about a situation. And how hate and disrespect for someone can cause you to think less of them and not see the beauty they possess within.
Courtney from Study Moose
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