In the 1930s there were hard times, as the great depression over took America. Nearly the whole nation of America was unemployed and due to this many American citizens had to fight for survival. Although this was an unfortunate situation for many people, John Steinbeck was inspired to write a book which was published in 1936 called ‘Of mice and men’ which although the story ended sorrowful and the lives of the characters were filled with loneliness and victimization, it had a bit of optimism in there as throughout the story the author emphases the ‘American dream’. Similarly in ‘disabled’ and ‘mental cases’ by Wilfred Owen the reader is made aware of low war victims marginalised by society.
Firstly, the feeling of loneliness is palpable throughout the book. The men on the ranch travel by themselves and have no real connections to each other. Especially Crooks as he is segregated from the rest, and he is not allowed to live in the bunk house with the others because he is black. But a crooks wasn’t the only one in America at the time being treated like he doesn’t exist. Many other black citizens were badly treated especially by the kkk clan which is a group of members who hated black people and they will dress up in white clothing with masks over their head. They went as far as beating up people or sometimes they will even end their lives.
Secondly, the men on the ranch call him a nigger. ‘Where the hell is that God damn nigger?’ This suggests that the men don’t have any respect for him at all as it’s a term of disrespect towards black people. It was derived from the word ‘negro’ which means black but the slave owners changed it to ‘nigger’ and they used this word to refer to their slaves because they didn’t want to dignify them with a real name. This is very insulting to black people because it means that they are worthless that they didn’t even deserve a proper birth name. Also crooks might not be his birth name either it was probably given by the men on the ranch because of his crooked back which is another reason why he’s an outsider.
Furthermore, when Lennie comes into his room. Crooks is quite aggressive and unfriendly with him at first. ‘You got no right to come in my room.’ ‘This here’s my room.’ ‘Nobody got any right in here but me.’ But then he realizes that it was a good thing that Lennie came because at least he wouldn’t be trapped by books anymore and he would have somebody to talk to. During his conversation with Lennie ,Crooks reveals his loneliness on the ranch. ‘S’pose you didn’t have anybody.’ ‘S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ‘cause you was black.’ ‘How ‘d you like that.’ This shows that he quited envied white people for their freedom. Besides, he wasn’t really bothered if Lennie was listening to him or not, all he wanted was a bit of company.
What’s more is when Curley’s wife comes in, Crooks forgets that he’s black and that he has no authority over white person. So he stands up for himself, and threatens her. ‘If you don’t, I’m gonna ast the boss not to ever let you come in the barn no more.’ But his confidence and pride is quickly torn away as he visualizes that if he doesn’t shut up he could get into a lot of trouble.
The poem ‘disabled’ by Wilfred Owen is similar to the book ‘of mice and men’ as they both include outsiders. They are similar to each other because they both show how being different could have an impact on you. Not only that but the authors show how society treats you differently and what you’re feelings are when you are not equal to the rest of society. In the poem, a brave soldier who once went in the war to fight for its country came back with ‘legless, sewn short at elbow’. Just as in the book ‘of mice and men’ mental torture had a big shock on both of the characters, Lennie and the