Cruelty In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

1101 Words5 Pages
Cruelty has been around since the beginning of human interaction. However, cruelty, like racism and many of the other darker aspects of humanity, is not instinct. Rather, it is learned and used for protection; people are cruel to others because others have been cruel to them, creating a sadistic cycle that has lasted for as long as society has. John Steinbeck creates multiple examples of this concept in Of Mice and Men, a piece of social commentary about isolation and prejudice. The piece follows the arrival of George and Lennie, two closely bonded migrant workers, at a Depression-era Californian ranch. In the novel, acts of cruelty develop a theme of how a cycle of prejudice and loneliness makes people hurt others, particularly through the characterizations of Crooks and Curley’s wife. For instance, Steinbeck uses Crooks’ cruelty to Lennie to develop how Crooks’ loneliness has affected his character. When Lennie tries to approach Crooks just to talk to him, Crooks immediately becomes defensive, telling him, “You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right to come in my room… Nobody got any right in here but me” (68). Because Crooks is black, he is constantly excluded by the other workers, which makes him instinctively push them as well. This leaves him the loneliest man on the ranch. Crooks is mean to Lennie because he is mentally superior and he can be, just as others are mean to…show more content…
While it seems impossible to completely eliminate prejudice and cruelty, neither are inherent in human nature. It is not people who are cruel, rather a cruel cycle that society has created prompts us to hurt one another. As Steinbeck firmly believes, hopefully, with increased understanding and acceptance, the suffering can at last be put to an
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