Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to today’s lecture which is related to the classic novel titled ‘Of Mice and Men.’ To begin, I would like to tell you all a little bit about the novel. ‘Of mice and men’ was written during the 1930’s throughout the depression era. During this period in America, millions of men traveled around looking for work in a bid to support themselves and many also traveled alone which meant that they were lonely. John Steinbeck wrote an exceptional novel which reflects the values, attitudes and beliefs of that period in time. Today’s lecture will look at these values, attitudes and beliefs, but will to a much greater extent look at issues relating to the past and present matters revolving around discrimination and normality. The reason that I chose to talk about these two issues was because, I believe that these matters were not only a major issue in the 1930’s but also in this time and age of 2007.
For those of you here today who are not familiar with the plot, I will briefly take you through it, so you have a better understanding about the characters and the setting of the novel. George and Lennie are drifters who are looking for work. These two men do not have many prized possessions and are left with only the clothes on their back. Both men, just like other drifters, have an American dream of finding their own place with a piece of land. There are many ways to describe George, but it can be said that he is responsible and protective. Lennie on the other hand can be described as child like who is care-free with not a worry in the world. Both of these men have distinctive physical features. While George is short, he is tough and independent; meanwhile Lennie is quiet the opposite, he is tall and resembles a giant. Lennie is a friendly giant who wouldn’t hurt anyone intentionally unless he was ordered to. He is vulnerable and naive, which is a set back as there are times when he has been taken advantage off. Lennie is intellectually disabled, although this is not possibly seen as he has decent physical appearances. The two men settle down on a ranch that Steinbeck has created in an attempt to show how marginalized characters were treated and regarded as due to their race, age, or gender.
Of Mice and Men: Lennie and George Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, is the story of two simple farm hands, Lennie Small, who incidentally, really isn't very small, and his better half, George Milton, on their quest to have "a place of their own," with plenty of furry bunnies, of course. Sound strange Read on to get clued in. The book opens along the banks of the Salinas River a few ...
In ‘Of Mice and Men,’ discrimination is not only based on the skin color of a person, but also their gender and age. On the ranch there are many victims of discrimination. The most evident characters to be discriminated against in the novel include Crooks, due to his disability and the color of his skin, Lennie, as he is intellectually disabled and has the mind of a child; Candy, due to his physical disability and his age, and lastly Curley’s wife, as she is the only female on the ranch and she needs company.
Crooks was seen as an independent and proud Negro who was also seen as an outcast on the ranch. He was a victim of racial discrimination, and was only fully accepted on the ranch by Lennie, as color did not matter to Lennie as he was intellectually disabled, and in many cases did not know from right to wrong. Crooks was not only marginalized due to his disability but also because of the color of his skin. Crooks was not allowed to go into the bunk house of the white men as they believed that he smelt and that it would be downgrading to talk to a black crippled man. Crooks was discriminated against to a much greater extent than other characters as he was not allowed in the bunkhouse and was forced to live alone. When there were social events such as visiting ‘cat houses’ in town, the marginalized characters were always left at the ranch as they were not accepted by anyone.
Don’t judge a book for its cover. In the book “Of Mice and Men”, the people in the bunkhouse had their differences and similarities. Crooks and Lennie had their own differences and similarities, Crooks suffered from racism while Lennie didn’t, Crooks was a lonely man while Lennie had George, and both of them were outside of society. Crooks suffer from racism. He lives alone in his own bunkhouse. ...
Although Curley’s wife and Crooks are basically of the same social status, it is understood that she obviously feels that she is much better then him as she is white, and in her eyes, Crooks is inferior. Candy’s discrimination is as mentioned before due to his age and physical disability. When other men go to work every day, he is left behind to do the ‘housework’ such as sweeping the floors and cleaning up. His only friend, his old dog, is taken away from him, when the men in the bunkhouse believe that he is useless and that someone should put it out of its misery.
Discrimination is against the law, although this is not to say that it does not exist within our society. There are many foolish reasons why discrimination occurs within a society. An example of a foolish reason for discrimination is that someone could be discriminated against due to their appearance. It could be their hair color, or their background. Although this is illegal, it still occurs on a day to day basis.
Discrimination is not as serious as it was back in the 1930’s. Gender, race and age do not matter as much as they used. While attitudes of the society in general towards black people and women have changed dramatically as they have now got a better role in society in 2007, physically and intellectually disabled citizens are not treated as equally as they should be.
The second issue that I would like to discuss today is the issues regarding normality and how it affects mainly Lennie in the novel. Normality is one word that is used best to describe someone who is normal. Although one question always comes up when talking about normality. This question is, ‘what is normal and who is normal?’ ‘Normal,’ can be described as a word that is made up by humans in an attempt to define those who are different. Therefore different can be referred to someone who is not accepted into society for many reasons. ‘Of Mice and Men,’ uses the term normality to describe characters such as George, as he is able to go and work everyday and at the same time is accepted into society. Lennie is described as ‘different’ within the novel as, even though he goes into work everyday, he is not accepted into society, due to his child like thinking.
On the ranch, the values, attitudes and beliefs of the ‘normal’ men was that ‘different’ men should not be accepted, and that intellectually disabled people should be locked up in a cage. This is saying that if someone is mentally retarded, that they should not be treated equally. I however do not agree with this statement as no body has the right to treat anyone else unfairly.
Reintegration into Society After thirty years of imprisonment, the once known young adult is now a forty eight-year- old man. He was an uneducated man, yet very experienced. His life in the prison was a nightmare. This is because he was not guilty of any crime but rather unjustly imprisoned. At the very beginning, he had a grudge against everyone except his family, but as years went by, that ...
An example of this is shown when Lennie is shot by George after he unintentionally kills Curley’s wife. There are many men on the ranch who believe that Lennie should be locked up while others believe that he should be killed. Lennie should have in fact been given a fair trial as he did not mean any harm to Curley’s wife and panicked when she was trying to get away from him.
Discourses which underpin the novel ‘of mice and men,’ have relevance in our culture, this is portrayed through the issues of normality, discrimination and racism. Although everyone realizes that it is unfair and unjust to discriminate against others and to judge people on what they think is normal, the present does not learn from the mistakes made in the past. I would like to thank you all for your attention today.