No matter what era a person is living in, it is always possible to be or become a social outcast. In John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men, three characters, George, Lennie, and Crooks, express this theme throughout the story.
George and Lennie are outcasts who travel due to being constantly run out of towns. Other members of the farm the men have recently come to work on treat the two harshly. The stable boy Crooks, is an outcast because he is black and crippled. The farm workers are mean to him because the story is set in the nineteen thirties/forties and there is a great amount of prejudice in that time. Together these three men give excellent portrayals of the challenges of being a social outcast. One of the challenges George and Lennie portray, is that they are continuously moving because they are run out of many town. While the two discuss future jobs, they begin to talk about the past.
“O.K.,” said George. “An’ you ain’t gonna do no bad things like you done in Weed, neither.” A light of understanding broke on Lennie’s face, “They run us outa Weed,” he exploded triumphantly. “Run us out, hell,” said George disgustedly. “We run.
They was lookin’ for us, but they didn’t catch us” (Steinbeck 7).This passage lets the reader know that George and Lennie were previously run out of a town called Weed. The men are obviously run out on account of Lennie’s actions. As their conversation continues on, George explodes at Lennie for being a nuisance in other towns.“An’ whatta I got,” George went on furiously. “I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get.
Jus keep me shovin’ all over the country all the time. An’ that ain’t the worst. You get in trouble.
You do bad things and I got to get you out” (Steinbeck 12).George’s dialogue explains their constant need to move all over the country. The two are social outcasts because they always move or run away after Lennie causes trouble. Once the men arrive at a farm in Salinas for work, they experience hostility from some other workers.
Certain people are rude and hostile to social outcasts even though they should be kind and civil. An example of this is when Curley says of Lennie to George, “By Christ, he’s gotta talk when he’s spoke to. What the hell are you gettin’ into it for?” (Steinbeck 28).
Here the reader sees the beginning of Curley’s resentment towards the outcast men. Curley seems hateful because Lennie won’t speak for himself at George’s request. Later on, Curley attacks Lennie both verbally and physically over a misinterpretation of an action of Lennies. Curley stepped over to Lennie like a terrier.
“What the hell you laughin’ at?”Lennie looked blankly at him, “Huh?” Then Curley’s rage exploded. “Come on, ya big bastard. Get up on your feet.
No big son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me. I’ll show ya who’s yella” (Steinbeck 69).Curley is enraged with Lennie because he sees Lennie smiling with the thought of a distant dream. Lennie is told by George not to fight or confront Curley,.