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Of Mice and Men Essay

Discuss the theme of exclusion in relation to one or more characters and how its presented in of Mice and Men In the novel, there is a strong link to the theme exclusion within the characters. Steinbeck presents this by describing the character in a certain way to make the reader aware of the social ranking and judgement, and does this by also giving the reader an idea of how the characters refer to each other and why this may portray exclusion and how. Crooks is a highly isolated and excluded character in the novel as the stable buck.

We know as the reader that he is excluded from the moment he is introduced. This is first presented when Candy says “the stable bucks a nigger”. Using the term ‘nigger’ to describe the character tells us that there is a strong racial exclusion and that Crooks isn’t very socially high up. Steinbeck later then develops the exclusion of this character when Candy also says “the boss give him hell when he’s mad”. This just tells us that the Boss, who is much higher up than Crooks excludes him and makes his life ‘hell’.

By this Steinbeck might mean that the Boss takes out all of his anger on Crooks because of his low status due to his race. He can be treated however by people that are at a higher status ranking than he is. In my opinion Crooks has the lowest social ranking and the most negative judgements compared to all the other characters who are excluded as even Candy refers to him simply as a “nigger”. Another character that is highly excluded is Curley’s wife. Right at the beginning of the novels George is describing Curley’s wife to Lennie… listen to me you crazy bastard, he said fiercely. Don’t you even take a look at that bitch. I don’t care what she says and what she does. I see em’ poison before but I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her, now leave her alone. ” George is telling Lennie to stay away from her. Steinbeck uses an imperative where George is telling Lennie to ‘listen’ to what he is saying. Meaning it’s very important because he says it “fiercely” as he really wants Lennie to take on board what he has said.

George is really quite horrible in that hes is describing Curley’s wife as a “bitch” and “poison. ” There is derogatory language used here by Steinbeck to really ethicize how George is feeling. And they are insults, specifically to her. Steinbeck also uses slang from around the time that the book was written. George says that she is like “jail bait”. This is slang to describe somebody who gets other people into trouble, even by just going near them. Curley’s wife knows how all the other men feel about her nd she has ways of showing how she feels back. “she turned on him in scorn. “listen nigger”, she said. “you know what i can do if you open your trap? ”… for a moment she stood over him as though waiting for him to move so that she could whip him again… she turned at last to the other two. ” Here Curley’s wife is trying to seek attention from Crooks, Candy and Lennie. From this quote it shows exclusion within all the characters. Curley’s wife is excluded as she is the only woman and nobody will speak to her. Also she gets no attention.

The other three characters are excluded as all the other men have gone out from the ranch and they’ve been left behind. Steinbeck shows us that Curley’s wife reacts to how excluded she is as she has to turn to insulting people sp that she can feel above them and more powerful. Physically she also “stood over him”, to feel better about her self esteem and less worthless. An imperative is used to begin with also so she feels higher ranked than the men around her. Steinbeck represents her as a bully by being racist to Crooks and describing him as a “nigger”. But just let two of the guys get together an’ you won’t talk. Jus’ nothing but mad”. Here Candy and Crooks are being spoken to by Curley’s wife. She was speaking to Crooks, seeking for attention when Candy showed up and there was silence form both characters. She’s telling them that she has experienced things like this before obviously. As Curley’s wife says “the” guys it makes me think that she is describing them as objects and not as real people. We, as the reader can tell that she is getting more and more upset as we reach halfway through the passage.

She shortens her words such as and to “an’ and just to “jus’”. This proves that she is losing her temper and patience as to why they will not talk to her. We can also tell this as her sentence structures are getting shorter as she goes on. This quote clearly promotes exclusion as nobody really wants to talk to Curley’s wife. This is because they believe that they will get into trouble if they do so. It also shows how much Curley’s wife is excluded. She’s being excluded from a black man and an old disabled man who are already excluded against.


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