Of Mice and Men deals with many issues, including but not limited to sexism, racism, ageism, and discrimination against those with disabilities. Most importantly, this prejudice isn’t ever fought against – those who are discriminated against accept the prejudice against them as a way of life. Of course there’s some grumbling about it, but there’s no sense that Curley’s wife, Crooks, Candy, or Lennie feel that they're bing treated unfairly. It seems simply that their lot in life is to endure prejudice, and they operate with all the meanness that such a life needs. Still, the other men of the ranch still accept Crooks, Candy, and Lennie for their differences; and Curley’s wife, though she’s maligned, is never completely ignored. While prejudice is a force that defines some of the social interaction the ranch, the need to escape isolation and the fact of close proximity means the characters all socialise with each other to some degree, in spite of the prejudices they undoubtedly hold.
'"That ranch we’re goin’ to is right down there about a quarter mile. We’re gonna go in an’ see the boss. Now, look—I’ll give him the work tickets, but you ain’t gonna say a word. You jus’ stand there and don’t say nothing. If he finds out what a crazy bastard you are, we won’t get no job, but if he sees ya work before he hears ya talk, we’re set."'
'George patted a wrinkle out of his bed, and sat down. "[The boss gave] the stable buck hell?" he asked.
"Sure. Ya see the stable buck’s a nigger."
"Yeah. Nice fella too. Got a crooked back where a horse kicked him. The boss gives him hell when he’s mad. But the stable buck don’t give a damn about that. He reads a lot. Got books in his room." '
'"Yes sir. Jesus, we had fun. They let the nigger come in that night. Little skinner name of Smitty took after the nigger. Done pretty good, too. The guys wouldn’t let him use his feet, so the nigger got him. If he coulda used his feet, Smitty says he woulda killed the nigger. The guys said on account of the nigger’s got a crooked back, Smitty can’t use his feet." He paused in relish of the memory.'
'"…You go on get outta my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room."
"Why ain’t you wanted?" Lennie asked.
"’Cause I’m black…"'
'Candy leaned against the wall beside the broken collar while he scratched his wrist stump. "I been here a long time," he said. "An’ Crooks been here a long time. This’s the first time I ever been in his room."
Crooks said darkly, "Guys don’t come into a colored man’s room very much." '
'She turned on him in scorn. "Listen, Nigger," she said. "You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?"
Crooks stared hopelessly at her, and then he sat down on his bunk and drew into himself.'