John Steinbeck and Social Problem of Discrimination

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Picture one dream you have for yourself. Imagine having to abandon that dream for an inexplainable or unfair reason and instead live in a constant state of loneliness and alienation where you are treated like nothing more than an object. John Steinbeck examines these issues of discrimination and alienation realistically as they relate to gender equality through his novella Of Mice and Men.

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Set during the Great Depression in the 1930r’s, the ADJ plot follows the intricate friendship of George and Lennie as they begin working on a ranch in central California. Within the novel, discrimination and unethical treatment of women is addressed by Curleyr’s wife. John Steinbeck uses the discrimination of Curleyr’s wife in his novel, Of Mice and Men, to depict the theme of alienation. Through a female character, one who is not even given a name, Steinbeck criticizes the American society for its disenfranchisement of women and its relegation of unworthy or gender specific roles through Curleyr’s wifer’s words and actions.

Steinbeck prominently displays the oppression of women by simply only referring to her as Curleyr’s wife, but more so through the extensive objectification of Curleyr’s wife, stripping her of ___. For example, by referring to the only female as the bride of a male, Steinbeck shows Curleyr’s wife as only an extension of Curley, not an individual person; she has no personal identity. Furthermore, through the use of the possessive noun, Curleyr’s, Steinbeck further exaggerates Curleyr’s ownership. This is important because readers are forced to relate to her through Curley; all of her power comes from the ranch workers fear of Curley.

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