WJEC – THE LONGER QUESTION Part 2

Here is the thing promised in the last piece published. It is just an example. Please note where the paragraphs begin and how. If you want a C grade, do it like this. No lines missed! Typing = lines missed. AQA and WJEC [Welsh Board] Mark Schemes specify this for the C grade.

How Is Discrimination Presented In Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men?

Discrimination can be found in several forms in the novella, Of Mice and Men. It is a story set at the heart of the Twentieth Century Great Depression in America and tells the story of two men, George and Lennie, as they travel from ranch to ranch, to work towards their version of the American Dream.
     Firstly, there is one person on the ranch who is discriminated against by the rest of the people who live and work there. Described as having “full, rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up,” she is Curley’s wife. In this novella, she is given no name because Steinbeck wants the reader to feel the plight she finds herself in. By not naming her, he makes the reader more sympathetic towards her. She is the young woman of the ranch, who is ‘owned’ by Curley, her husband, who is described as being “at once, calculating and pugnacious.” Ever the fighter, he is the sort of person who feels as if the place for the woman is in the home, or the kitchen and so, he forces her to a life of loneliness and servitude.
     It is in this loneliness that she reaches out to some of the men on the ranch. By befriending Lennie for example, she encourages the wrath of her husband and her father in Law, the boss and owner of the ranch. “She says that she “ain’t used to livin like this” and that she could have “made somethin” of her life by being an actress in the movies but when her chance came, she was forced into the life she inhabits. She is kept in her place by social expectations and social discrimination at the hands of all around her.
     She in turn, is able to share her discriminatory language and ideas towards another character who is alienated and kept lonely on this typical ranch in Salinas, California. His name is Crooks and he is the Stable Buck. Curley’s wife says to him, “Listen, Nigger…. You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?” This linguistic racism was so prevalent at the time in America and the word was used widely as a term of insult from white to black Americans across their land, but it also shows how Curley’s wife is able to discriminate downwards towards the one person who is seen by all as being lower than she is; the Stable Buck [blacksmith].
     He in turn is able to share his discriminatory thoughts towards others. He claims that “a coloured man got to have some rights even if he don’t like them.” This is his way of showing just how stuck he is in his lifestyle. His only option is to live and work where he does and take the attitudes of the people around him. But he is equally cruel in his thoughts too, showing that racism, along with sexism and other forms of discrimination, can go hand in hand to create the antithesis [look this one up please] of the American Dream.
     Furthermore, the way that Lennie is treated by all except Carlson and George, except to a certain extent, Curley’s wife, shows how much people with academic delay will always be the butt end of someone’s joke. Lennie is described as “a huge man, shapeless of face” and he walks with the gait of someone with special needs. He travels with George from ranch to ranch and at each turn there is someone who tries to be bombastic  and nasty with him, picking on him because of his size and needs.
     Such discrimination is inherently nasty in any context but the bully in question, Curley, chooses to treat Lennie like he does because of his size and strength. His attitude is one of “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” and he goes out of his way to prove his worth with Lennie, to his own pained experience. When his wife is accidentally killed by Lennie, it is Curley who stresses that he is “gonna shoot the guts out of that big bastard,” showing his hatred and loathing of the man in question.
     In conclusion, it is possible to stress how so many people can be so discriminatory towards each other. Largely, this is due to jealousy of person, location of the ranch, the way that one person is expected to stay where they are all their life or simply because one person thinks they are better than the next. The concept of The American Dream is one that is therefore, flawed in every possible way, due in fact to the idea that the notion itself is not achievable!

RJ 04/2016

Advertisements