Prejudices are the Chains

Category: Literature
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Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart. -Marguerite Gardiner. It is human nature to look for the easy or straightforward way out and in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, he writes a story that goes into the nature of human existence. Throughout history, there has been a desire for power that is irresistible to almost all humans. In each example of this, humans go for the weaker ones. They see opportunities and get excited by the prospect of control. In Of Mice and Men, this is in the form of normal workers at a farm taking advantage of those who are born unlucky or are no longer fit to have power and fight back. Those opportunities change the way they act around others, like women, and leads to consequences that are unforeseen. In brief, cruelty and prejudice towards others are fueled by selfishness and a longing for power.

Throughout the story, many of the characters express racially funded speech and hate towards Crooks, the black stable buck. Take the case of when Curley’s wife is in Crook’s room, he asks her to get out, and she turns and responds, Listen, Nigger, you know what I can do if you open your trap. I could get you strung up on a tree it ain’t funny(80). Curley’s wife being a woman in this time period, does not have many rights, and knowing this she makes the extremely brutal comment towards Crooks.

This interaction also demonstrates how even women are higher in the social hierarchy than African Americans are. Furthermore, Steinbeck evidences the idea that we as humans only care for ourselves. Rather than getting to know Crooks, those at the farm only see a black man and therefore inferior to the rest of them, pushing the thought that prejudice is only is one’s self-interest for power over others. In addition, when Lennie first tries to enter Crook’s room, he lashes out at Lennie saying, I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse, and you ain’t wanted in my room(68). The years of bitterness and hate towards Crooks has led to complete isolation from everyone else and has causes Crooks to just accept his reality. Rather than try to fight this oppression, he now believes black people are weaker leading to why he said this comment to Lennie. Understanding that he does not have any control, Crooks tries to get rid of Lennie, who does not see racial differences, like a child, because of his mental disability.

Summing up, prejudice is caused by one seeing an opportunity to have more power than those around them.
Social prejudice is prevalent in the farm and many workers are spiteful towards those like Lennie and Candy who each have their own weaknesses. For instance, after Curley’s wife first meets Lennie and George, George commands Lennie, Don’t you ever even take a look at that bitch. I don’t care what she says or what she does. I seen them poison before, but I ain’t never seen no piece of jailbait worse than her(32). From the beginning, there is already stereotypes about women, that all they have is looks and nothing else. The men at the farm believe that she is just trying to seduce them even though she already has a husband.

In reality, though she has had a hard life full of deceiving lies and she just wants a chance to with someone because girls are not supposed to talk with anyone else besides their husbands. Steinbeck knows how stereotypes and prejudice towards women prevents them from getting opportunities to connect and converse with others. Moreover, when Candy, Lennie, and Crooks are talking, Curley’s wife enters, her eyes traveled from one face to another.

They left all the weak ones here.'(77). From the outside, it seems as if she is just referring to the three men, but indirectly this statement could also be referring to herself, not having many rights as a woman. Curley’s wife does not ever get the chance to tell others her real name, and is only referred to as, Curley’s Wife. In addition, this statement sheds light on the fact that the weak ones, do not get chance to live normal lives and go out with the others, showing how in society weakness or disabilities leave one behind. If a person is not normal society leaves them behind with the other below pars. All in all, in this world, if one suffers from a disability or roadblock in their future, it is inevitable that those around will take advantage, and leave them behind.

To conclude, prejudice is like a baby walking. Humans are not born thinking that some people are better than others, but it is instinctive. Just like it is inevitable that a child will learn to walk, it is imminent that humans will be hateful to those we do not respect or believe to be of lower power. In Of Mice and Men this manifests itself in the form of a small town farm where people are indirectly being hated and separated for being different. Humans use prejudice as a machine to overcome the worry of not having authority over other. It is just the simple and straightforward reasoning that we as people use to tell ourselves that our future is protected.

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Prejudices Are The Chains. (2019, Jul 12). Retrieved from

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