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From your reading of the novel so far, (up to and including chapter four), comment on the way in which the theme of prejudice is presented.

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Introduction

From your reading of the novel so far, (up to and including chapter four), comment on the way in which the theme of prejudice is presented. The subject of prejudice is one of the major themes throughout the novel 'Of Mice and Men'. There are three main characters that suffer prejudice from others, although this isn't always intentional. Crooks, Candy and Curley's wife are all examples of characters that are discriminated against, whether because of race, sex, age or appearance. Lennie receives some prejudice, however not nearly as much as the others. Candy is the oldest of all the ranch workers, and has lost his hand (presumably in a working accident), so therefore is resigned to be the swamper, as he can't do anything more. Because of this, he is isolated from the other workers in the bunkhouse due to his age and disability, and has become incredibly lonely. Candy is one of the three pairings in the novel, a relationship that is quickly destroyed. ...read more.

Middle

She is treated very harshly, suffering much verbal violence, for example being referred to as a 'bitch', 'tramp', 'poison', 'jailbait' and a 'looloo'. Most of these names are said in a cruel way, however some are merely how the workers refer to all women in general. Because of the neglect that she is given by everyone on the ranch, she dresses flamboyantly in order to gain some of the attention that she craves. She is said to have "full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up." She wears a lot of red, which is a symbol of danger and also is a vibrant colour that may get her noticed. Also, it is very similar to a description of Mae West - a film star at the time. When Curley's wife first meets George and Lennie she "put her hands behind her back and leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forward." This is done only so that people will notice her for her good looks and therefore (she hopes) ...read more.

Conclusion

The only people in the book who don't instantly discriminate him because he is a 'nigger' are Candy and Lennie, Lennie only because he doesn't know how. Crooks is still bitter and rude to them though, because he is afraid of being friendly to people because he no longer trusts anyone to return the friendliness. When Lennie comes into Crook's makeshift home, Crooks is instantly very rude to him. However, when Candy also wants to talk to him, Crooks "found it hard to conceal his pleasure with anger", showing that Crooks actually enjoyed the company. He starts to come out of his shell and even asks to be part of Lennie's dream, but then Curley's wife enters and is met with nothing but rude comments. This causes her to become defensive and she is very scornful to Crooks, causing him to "retire into the terrible protective dignity of the negro". He is put in his place, and refuses to be part of the dream, because, as he says, "I wouldn' want to go no place like that." ...read more.

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