What are quotes from Of Mice and Men that would show ways of individual cruelty in society?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the scene that takes place in Crooks' stable is probably the scene with the most amount of cruelty because it is one of the saddest.  The four principals in this scene are all misfits in the social world of the ranch.  Crooks is crippled physically and ostracized socially because of his race.  Candy is also crippled physically and ostracized because of his own condition on the farm.  Lennie is unable to fit in because of his mental condition, while Curley's wife is the only woman in the company of men.  When she enters, the men protest and the line is drawn for some of the harshest lines.  The men who might have found strength in the solidarity of one another are cut down by her insightful reads of their own lives.  This is seen when she speaks to Crooks:

Nigger, I could have you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.

This line is cruel because of its honesty and its statement of fact that Crooks really has no standing in this society.  At the same time, her treatment of both Candy and Crooks is representative of how little value their word has in this configuration.  It is a scene where the cruelty that human beings can show to one another is in full evidence.

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