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What does Steinbeck have to tell us about the theme of prejudice in the novel?

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What does Steinbeck have to tell us about the theme of prejudice in the novel? Steinbeck manages to include many different types of prejudice throughout the novel, putting each one across clearly and carefully, to portray just how it was for the people who were seen as lower than the rest of the population. The different types of prejudice include: Racism- the belief that people from certain and different races are inferior and as a result, abusive or aggressive behaviour towards these people. Sexism- the unfair treatment and discrimination on the basis of the sex of a person. Ageism- the discrimination against someone based on his or her age. Discrimination against mental and physical impairments- the unfair treatment and prejudice against people with mental and physical disabilities. The theme of prejudice plays a huge part in the novel, all the characters seem to be affected by it either directly or they are close with someone who is. Some types of prejudice are far more obvious than others. For instance, Crooks, the stable buck, is very heavily racially abused in the novel. Reading the novel now makes you realise just how hard it was for people who were and are racially abused. ...read more.


He supposedly lost his hand in machinery at the ranch but because he's quite old and isn't allowed to do much anyway, again he isn't shown special treatment. Another major theme is ageism. One of the main characters Candy and also, although it sounds odd, his dog are both victims of ageism. Because candy is so old, he has been allowed to stay on the ranch as it is his home but he seems to merge into the background and doesn't seem able to voice his opinions and over speak the younger men maybe as much as he would like to. Candy's dog, who we are told is very old and ragged is actually killed in the novel by the younger men on the ranch. They complain the dog is no use and is a nuisance because of it's age which seems to reflect onto Candy because he also is old and can't do much due to the loss of his hand. It makes you feel sorry for Candy, as he doesn't seem to have much hope left. The men killed the old dog and maybe it's a warning sign that he could be next. ...read more.


This shows that these 2 characters are in a constant war for power because although Crooks is much cleverer and quick minded, Lennie greatly over powers him in physical strength. The next characters to be introduced into the scene are Candy and Curley's wife. The fight for power continues as Candy becomes more out spoken and not afraid to voice his opinions. Curley's wife seems to win the power struggle this time by putting the other 3 men down by calling them names such as ''nigger'', ''dum-dum'', and ''lousy ol' sheep''. She knows she has an edge over the other 3 because of her link with Curley. She uses this contact to threaten the men and it appears the battle is over. Overall, it is clear that discrimination outlines the main story and is persistent throughout the novel. The power struggles continue to the end of the book. Steinbeck uses the idea of prejudice very cleverly in the book, making you feel sorry for one character after another and then finally leaving you to make your own decision. Some people may say the theme of prejudice is overused but I personally think that its so well thought out and planned that Steinbeck easily gets away with it, creating a very powerful and tension filled novel. ...read more.

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