When he first comes into the bunkhouse, he moves "with a majesty achieved only by royalty and master craftsmen.
This sense of responsibility is of the utmost importance, according to Steinbeck, for maintaining the human spirit and a sense of decency and ethics. The atrocious, inhumane treatment of the migrants, ranging from forced starvation to terror tactics, results in the complete "destruction of dignity," which Steinbeck calls "[…] one of the most regrettable results of the migrant's life" Steinbeck warns such a loss results in a sullen anger that makes men prone to lashing out at the social system.
He writes, "A man herded about, surrounded by armed guards, starved and forced to live in filth loses his dignity; that is, he loses his valid position in regard to society, and consequently his whole ethics towards society" Repeatedly Steinbeck advocates the restoration of the migrants' dignity as the number one priority of relief efforts.
Integral to that restoration is re-establishing a sense of civic duty and responsibility. Steinbeck champions the "responsible self-government" of the federal camps as the answer to successfully integrating the migrants into California life and eliminating perceived threats of violence, labor organization, and disease.
He writes, "The sullen and frightened expression that is the rule among the migrants has disappeared from the faces of the federal camp inhabitants.
Instead there is a steadiness of gaze and a self-confidence that can only come of restored dignity" Steinbeck reminds readers that the migrants are American citizens, having come from a proud agrarian history of civic and church duty.
Abject poverty and the constant threat of starvation have destroyed the migrants' spirit as they are overcome by first shame, then hopelessness, and ultimately indifference.
Steinbeck concludes that replacing that indifference with a renewed sense of community responsibility is crucial for restoring the migrants as functional citizens of the United States. Steinbeck shows how the powerful growers, in their arrogance, flout the laws of the United States and employ vigilante violence as a means of cowing the migrants.
He argues the growers, in their proliferation of vigilantism, are in direct violation of criminal syndicalism laws that prohibit the use of organized violence in industry. Steinbeck quotes Hugh T. Osburne, representative of the Imperial Valley Associated Farmers, as saying: They have got to have it for the rest of the counties that don't know how to handle these matters.
We don't need it because we have worked out our own way of handling these things. We won't have another of these trials.
We have a better way of doing it. Trials cost too much" That better way, according to Steinbeck, is herding the migrants about under the constant threat of violence designed to keep them in a perpetual state of fear.
In turn, that fear feeds increased suspicion and anger between the land owners and migrants perpetuating a cycle of escalating violence and oppression. It is a situation, Steinbeck argues, that cannot persist, for it "[…] has accomplished nothing but unrest, tension and hatred.
A continuation of this approach constitutes a criminal endangering of the peace of the state" Steinbeck concludes that growers and vigilantes must be brought to justice under the nation's laws in order to protect that integrity of the government.
Exploitation A shack in community of shacks, located in a subdivided orchard in California. Steinbeck argues the primary problem with the agricultural industry in California is that, historically, the growers have assumed that they "[…] require a peon class to succeed" That view, which emanates from the growers' traditional reliance on oppressed foreign labor, has created a pervasive attitude of prejudice towards agricultural labor and as such, the migrants arrive in California only to be treated as subhuman.
Steinbeck writes, "Arriving in a district they find the dislike always meted out by the resident to the foreigner, the outlander. He characterizes this attitude as both hypocritical and despicable. He explains, "The unique nature of California agriculture requires that these migrants exist, and requires that they move about" However, the surrounding society does not seem to acknowledge that migrant farm laborers fill a necessary social function and that in their absence, California agribusiness and its entire economy would flounder.
Instead of acknowledging any merit in their contributions, the growers, as Steinbeck describes them, always seem to be looking for new ways to further exploit and degrade the migrants.
Knowing that the migrants barely exist hand to mouth and that they will have spent all of their resources to get to a job, the growers will lower wages or raise prices of goods in ranch stores, aware that the migrants, terrified of starvation, will work "[…] at any wage in order that the family may eat" Besides forcing them into a state of semi-starvation, Steinbeck argues, the growers have created an organized system of terror and fear to ensure that the migrants can never successfully overcome their inferior social position.
This system of oppression, Steinbeck writes, does nothing but increase suspicion and hatred, leading to additional exploitation of workers and heightened threats of violence:‘Of Mice and Men’ is well know for the usage of Animals within the books and without the animals, the book would no nearly be as descriptive as it is, but also it would not have the underlying meaning within the book which is so hard to put into books.
Of Mice and Men study guide contains a biography of John Steinbeck, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. About Of Mice and Men Of Mice and Men .
In "The Chrysanthemums," this struggle for equality is portrayed through Steinbeck's character Elisa Allen. According to Stanley Renner, "The Chrysanthemums" shows "a strong, capable woman kept from personal, social, and sexual fulfillment by the prevailing conception of a woman's role in a world dominated by men" ().
John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' is one of the most enduring American stories of friendship. Watch this video lesson to learn about its characters, main plot events and key themes.
Loss of Human Dignity. Steinbeck defines dignity in The Harvest Gypsies as "[ ] a register of a man's responsibility to community" (39).This sense of responsibility is of the utmost importance, according to Steinbeck, for maintaining the human spirit and a sense of decency and ethics.
A list of all the characters in Of Mice and Men. The Of Mice and Men characters covered include: Lennie, George, Candy, Curley’s wife, Crooks, Curley, Slim, Carlson, The Boss, Aunt Clara, Whit.