Of Mice and Men
Three issues in Of Mice and Men
that are serious are:
Mentally Handicapped People
Racism has existed throughout human history.
It may be defined as the hatred of one person
by another -- or the belief that another person
is less than human -- because of skin color,
language, customs, place of birth or any factor
that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that
person. It has influenced wars, slavery, the
formation of nations, and legal codes.
The most notorious example of racism by the
West has been slavery, particularly the
enslavement of Africans in the New World
(slavery itself dates back thousands of years).
This belief of racism was not "automatic": that is,
Africans were not originally considered inferior.
When Portuguese sailors first explored Africa in the
15th and 16th centuries, they came upon empires and
cities as advanced as their own, and they considered
Africans to be serious rivals.
Over time, European powers began to plunder the
continent and forcibly remove its inhabitants to work
as slave laborers in new colonies across the Atlantic,
Africans came to be seen as a deficient "species," as
Stemmed from Latin word “Negro” and the Niger River in
Exactly when the word “n-gger” became an offensive insult
However, we do know that it was already considered a huge
slur in 1837 when Hosea Easton wrote The Condition of
Colored People of the United States: and the Prejudice
Exercised Towards Them.
Easton stated that the term is used with the intent to
deliberately make black people feel inferior.
Today the word has the same connotations; it is considered
one of the most hateful words in the English language.
Many people agree that there are at least two modern
definitions of the word. There is an extremely
negative one and there also is another “affectionate”
one used among the black community.
“N-gga” became more widely spread due to the
emergence of hip-hop and rap music in the 1970s and
1980s, and thus a new movement, using “nigga” in a
positive way, emerged (Judy 214).
It is an unspoken rule that black people can freely say
“n-gger”, especially in a familial way, because it
expresses a common history and oppression that
binds this community together.
White people, however, because they originated the
word and spread the use of it in a derogatory manner,
cannot use it under any circumstances.
Now, of course, this is not the view of every person.
Many believe that it should be wiped from the
vocabulary of every individual, regardless of race.
Mentally Handicapped People
The term "mental retardation" used to be a medical
diagnosis. Now it means something very negative:
we use to term to tease and belittle each other.
The shameful connotations over the last few decades
are in part due to the use of "retarded" as an insult
among younger people.
This may in turn have contributed to its replacement
with expressions such as "mentally challenged" or
Both adults and children with mental retardation may also
exhibit the following characteristics:
Delays in oral language development
Deficits in memory skills
Difficulty learning social rules
Difficulty with problem solving skills
Lack of social inhibitors.
Misogyny means “woman-hating.”
Terms like slut, whore, ho, tramp, trick, and
tart stem from misogyny.
Slut is a pejorative (mean) term for a person
who is deemed sexually promiscuous. The
term has traditionally been applied to women
and is generally used as an insult or offensive
term of disparagement. (N-word for women.)
If men have several sexual partners, they are
“players” or “studs.”
If women have several sexual partners, they
are “sluts” or “tarts.”
Why the double standard?
While we are reading the book…
Please do not use the “n” word.
Please do not call people “retarded.”