Prejudice By John Steinbeck And The Great Depression

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In both Lee and Steinbeck’s novels, prejudice is a key theme portrayed in a variety of different forms and is used as a way to degrade and discriminate the innocent characters. Lee’s title quotation ‘mockingbird’ represents those who are victims of prejudice, which is a large amount of characters as the novel is set in 1930 America, where the only properly respected people were white, mentally stable males. This is also shown by Steinbeck who uses the hopelessness of the Great Depression to put across how people were affected in their views and lives during that time. Both novels create prejudice against black people, those with mental disabilities or health issues and women, ostracising these people was not uncommon in this period, probably because these people were misunderstood by others due to lack of communication. Both Lee and Steinbeck use these minorities to portray how far prejudice is to blame for the misery and pain which develop as the novels progress.
Innocence is presented in the opening of the novels through nature and the previous actions of others. In Of Mice and Men, innocence is depicted through the beauty of nature and ‘giant sycamores’ Steinbeck uses colour to connote the elegance and wonder of the surroundings, such as ‘golden’ and the repetition of the word ‘green’. This contrasts with the destruction through words like ‘flamed’, ‘many fires’ and ‘ash’. This indicates that innocence, no matter how beautiful, can be destroyed easily, and will not last

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