Of Mice and Men Socratic Seminar Responses to Questions
1. Steinbeck has his characters use racially derogatory terms. Why do you think he uses this language? Given the context of the story, are these terms necessary? Is there any evidence to suggest that Steinbeck shares his characters’ bigoted views of minorities? I think Steinbeck has his characters use racially derogatory terms to show that prejudice based on race was still a prevalent issue, even though slavery and racial discrimination had not been legal for some time. Derogatory terms are directed at Crooks frequently due to his race, “‘Ever’body out doin’ som’pin’. Ever’body! An’ what am I doin’? Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs - a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep (Steinbeck 78)’”. The word “nigger” is used to emphasize how bad racial prejudices were. Even in present day, it is a relevant matter that this book brings to attention. Causing us, as readers to realize that the issue of mistreatment due to race is an issue that has not disappeared over time. Steinbeck himself did not have a problem with the color of one’s skin. However, he did have an issue with class. This is shown by the characters in Of Mice and Men viewing wealthy people as brutal and harsh.
2. Research John Steinbeck. What elements of Steinbeck’s life are apparent in the novel? Steinbeck was born in Salinas, the setting for a large portion of his novel Of Mice and Men. When he was a teenager, he spent the majority of