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Why is of Mice and Men Banned?

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One of the main reasons that books are banned across America is because of the numerous racial slurs, vulgarity, and treatment of women used in books. Is this enough to ban them? Some parents agree with the use of these things in “Of Mice and Men” while others do not. American Experiences said that it teaches ethical and moral issues, they have noticed at their school, they have kids that are protective over those who have special needs. Other parents disagree highly, The Guardian shares a story from Idaho parents pushing for the banning of “Of Mice and Men” in their school because it is unsuitable for 14-year-olds for using profanity words such as “Bastard” and “Goddamn”. “Of Mice and Men” was banned because of vulgarity, racism, and the treatment of women.

The use of racism in “Of Mice and Men” was seen offensive to many. A black and white world in “Of Mice and Men” was set very clear by Author, Steinbeck. Crooks, being the only black man on the ranch, he faces a lot of racial comments and discrimination throughout his part in the book. Racial slurs in “Of Mice and Men” were offensive and were believed to promote euthanasia. BBC Bitesize says “Racial slurs are used to describe Crooks frequently on the ranch.” (GCSE). Crooks is an outsider in “Of Mice and Men” and it was noticeable that he was lonely. In the book, Crooks is told to sleep outside by himself while the other men share bunkhouses, this is promoting friendships while Crooks is excluded. When Lennie slowly shows friendliness towards Crooks and expresses his loneliness by saying “A guy goes if he ain’t got nobody” Crooks begins to open up more to Lennie and George afterward. Carlson kills Crooks dog because he was old and sick, he was trying to put the dog out of his misery but this was lead to be known as mercy killing. Towards the end of the book, George found out about Lennie killing Curley's wife, as a result, George kills Lennie because George wanted to save him from Curley.

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The treatment of women in “Of Mice and Men” was elaborated mostly by Curley expecting so much of his wife. One of the main characters in “Of Mice and Men” was not given a name but simply called, “Curley's Wife”, the only woman that plays a part in the book. Curley’s wife is very social and spends a lot of time talking to other men on the ranch. eNotes says ”Her only weapon is her beauty and flirtatiousness, which she uses to make her husband envious.” (eNotes paragraph 2). Before Lennie kills her in the barn, she opens up to him about how alone she is. In “Of Mice and Men” Curley’s Wife is treated badly by Curley, and he expects a lot from her in many ways. Throughout the book, you quickly see how Curley is possessive regarding his wife which is why she presents herself as Curleys belonging instead of being herself. Curley's Wife is desperate for affection and attention, this is brought on by the treatment by Curley. Bartleby Research says ”Throughout the novella Steinbeck represents women to be lower in society than men.” (How does Steinbeck paragraph 1)

The use of vulgarity in Of Mice and Men was demoralizing and negative. The vulgar language in “Of Mice and Men ” was showed when George spoke to Lennie. Conversations had between Lennie and George were at times very graphic or vulgar George is very close to Lennie and he doesn’t want to lose him. In the book, George tells Lennie, “No--look! I was jus' foolin', Lennie. 'Cause I want you to stay with me. Jesus Christ, somebody'd shoot you for a coyote if you was by yourself. No, you stay with me. Your Aunt Clara wouldn't like you running off by yourself, even if she is dead.” (Steinbeck chapter six-page-1) One other main uses of vulgarity in “Of Mice and Men” is when Lennie repeatedly kills mice throughout the book but doesn’t understand why he can’t tend rabbits yet. Smore released an article, “Sheppard- Of Mice and Men” of George tells Lennie, “Trouble with mice is you always kill ’em.” He paused. “Tell you what I’ll do, Lennie. First chance I get I’ll give you a pup. Maybe you wouldn’t kill it. That’d be better than mice. And you could pet it harder.” (Excerpt from the opening section paragraph 1)

Throughout the book “Of Mice and Men” the use of racial slurs, vulgarity, and racism in many different varieties and quantities being the main reason it was banned in 1953. Racial slurs were offensive and promoted euthanasia as seen with one of the main characters, Crooks and his dog. As for vulgarity, it was demoralizing and negative, which was very clear to readers with the amounts of murders concerning Curley's wife. Lastly, the treatment of women, Curly expected a lot Curley's wife, having no name and being the only woman in the book also the fact that she was very alone and sought a lot of attention. All these things together were set in place by Steinbeck and are just enough for the book to be banned in some schools.

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Why is of Mice and Men Banned? (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
“Why is of Mice and Men Banned?” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
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Why is of Mice and Men Banned? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2023 Dec 8]. Available from:
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