James him, Curley lashes out and says, “Well,

James AndersonMs. MasonEnglish 9H, Period 6January 9, 2018Of Mice and Men EssayPower plays a very important role in this book, which is filled with many hierarchies. The book, Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is about two men, named George and Lennie, trying to live The American Dream. There are two characters in the book named Curley and Crooks. Curley is the all-powerful man on the farm, who unfairly gets his power by family position alone.  However, Crooks has no power at all, absent nearly all the advantages that Curley has, namely the white race, money, family ties, and strength.  Steinbeck illustrates these disparities in a compelling storytelling fashion while informing the reader in a gripping and realistic manner. Curley is an abusive jerk who bullies his way around the ranch flaunting his power, and enjoys humiliating the workers because it makes up for his short height. For example, when Lennie doesn’t respond to him, Curley lashes out and says, “Well, nex’ time you answer when you’re spoken to” (26), he is trying to show his power over both men by taking the role of their boss. Furthermore, he is trying to insure that Lennie knows who is in charge. When Curley tries to find his wife, his worker Carlson tells him to keep his wife inside, and Curley responds with: “You keep outa this les’ you wanta step outside” (30). Curley is trying to assert his power over  the ranch hands by demanding that the men tell him if they have seen his wife. He tries to demonstrate power by being cocky and with an attitude that makes him seem like the all- powerful ruler of his domain. Steinbeck makes his point about the unfairness of society at this time by his portrayal of Curley’s abuse of power and his cruelty to others. Crooks is just trying to survive in a unfair and unjust society by not upsetting his superiors, much the way slaves had to contend with their masters during the time of slavery in this country.  His weakness is clearly evident in the situations he must endure in the book. For example, when Crooks tries to stand up to Curley’s Wife, she threatens him by saying, “‘Well, you keep your place then… I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” (81). Crooks has the least power on the farm, and has a position even lower than a woman during the time of that racism and discrimination. In addition, Crooks explains to Lennie: “You got George. You know he’s goin’ to come back. S’pose you didn’t have nobody. Sure you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain’t no good. A guy needs somebody – to be near him.” He whined, “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. . . . a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick” (110). Crooks feels weak because he doesn’t have anyone close to him.  Also, he feels lonely and unprotected because he doesn’t have a buddy who is close to him and who he can confide in.  Steinbeck masterfully portrays the desperation and depression that his lowly character must feel, and gives us the readers a sense of those awful feelings. The ranch was a very cruel and lonely place because the strong beat down on the weak. Power was a huge role on the ranch with only a few that had it.  Power often makes people lust for more and abuse those that they perceive as weak and subservient.  We learn from Steinbeck’s eloquent and poignant story that friendship can overcome the abuse of power, but is also vulnerable to outside forces.Word Count: 606