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of mice and men

Everyone in this book is damaged in some way. Mentally or physically. Why do you think that is? Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


Everyone is the book is also an animal, some vicious.  Men kill animals out of spite or by accident; men fight each other out of spite; men kill women by accident; men kill men out of spite: it's a feeding frenzy.

The novella is very anthropomorphic and full of social Darwinism.  According to Steinbeck's belief in Pragmatism, man is a product of evolution, an animal.  Evil comes from ignorance and failure to adapt to the environment:

This ability to be flexible is another aspect of pragmatism, an ability that Steinbeck feels is fundamental to the survival of the migrant workers. Pragmatism also includes a movement away from abstract religious beliefs, concentrating instead on the holiness of those who are living.

So, in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, when food, natural resources, jobs, and homes were drying up, men began fighting for survival.  Also, the top of the capitalist "food chain", corporations, began swallowing up all those at the bottom, causing the bottom feeders to feed off each other, instead of uniting to fight against the real power brokers.

Steinbeck is also a Populist: he fights for the little guy, the underclass, the injured, homeless, poor, farmers.  He saw his idyllic Salinas River Valley taken over by corporations, and so he writes mixes social protest with biological forces to show the common man's will to survive.

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