To what extent is Of Mice and Men a novel of protest? Essay

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To what extent is Of Mice and Men a novel of protest? John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men conveys the impression, that it is a novel of protest. The character Candy suffers from discrimination because of his age and his disability. Steinbeck uses this character to protest against ageism and the treatment of the disabled during the Great Depression. The repeated reference to Candy's hopelessness could be understood as a protest against ageism. He says more than once that if he "can't swamp out no bunkhouses, they'll put" him "in the county". His whole life is based on one pillar, the kindness of the boss. He "wisht somebody'd shoot" him, if he gets fired. He "won't have no place to go" and is tied on the ranch. When…show more content…
Theoretically, one should treat aged people respectfully. In our society, pensioners have a better life than employees. However, Candy is a "swamper". He is not treated fairly. He lives in community with "lice" and "roaches". Steinbeck also uses Candy's primitive working and living conditions to protest against the treatment of the disabled. Candy's job intensifies the discrimination against him, because of his disability. The reader finds out very fast that Candy is an "old swamper". He carries "a big push-broom in his left hand". Of course Steinbeck emphasises that Candy carries the "broom" in his left hand, because he lost his right one. To portray the relation between his Candy's disability and his job, Steinbeck juxtaposes these ideas. Directly after the mention of the "big push-broom", he emphasises his disability. Obviously this connection is a protest against the treatment of the disabled. To some degree, Steinbeck uses the shooting of Candy's dog as a protest against ageism. The link between the "old swamper" Candy, and the "old dog" is obvious. Both, Candy and the dog are old. Especially Slim hurts Candy, when he says that he "wisht somebody'd shoot" him if he gets "old". Through this description, Steinbeck tries to simplify the circumstances for the reader. He evokes an impression of a Candy, who is very similar to his dog. That means that Slim discriminates Candy indirectly. However, also Carlson classifies Candy. He says that the
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