Of Mice and Men Compare and Contrast EssayJohn Steinbeck’s Great Depression era novella, Of Mice and Men, hosts many unique characters.
Although Curley’s wife and Crooks seem like polar opposites at first glance, they are actually two of the same. For example, John Steinbeck asserts: “S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunkhouse and play rummy’ cause you was black… A guy needs somebody- to be near him” (Steinbeck 72). Crooks is emotionally and physically separated from everyone else on the ranch because he is black; which in turn causes him to feel very secluded and lonely. Crooks, like Curley’s wife, craves much needed companionship on a ranch which gives him none. In addition, Steinbeck states, “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while?Think I like to stick in that house alla time?” (Steinbeck 77).
Initially one might assume the isolated black stable buck would say these words, but in reality it is the lonely housewife. They are both ostracized because of unchangeable characteristics, gender and race, and therefore are confined to a life of bitter solitude. On the other hand, Steinbeck claims, “Well, you keep your place then, nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny…Nobody’s listen to you” (Steinbeck 81).
Curley’s wife and Crooks might both be outcasts, but that does not mean they have the same amount of power. Because Crooks is the only person who is socially beneath her, she belittles him as a way to make her feel better about her pitiful self. In comparison, Steinbeck states, “I ain’t so crippled I can’t work like a son-of-a-bitch if I wanted to” (Steinbeck 76). Crooks is described as an honest hard worker, despite his hardships and handicaps. However, Curley’s wife is described as an untrustworthy flirt and “a tart” (Steinbeck 28). Crooks and Curley’s wife are both lonely outcasts in Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men, with many differences and even more commonalities.