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Mar 14, 2011

Loneliness: Of Mice and Men- Steinbecks

During the great Depression (1930s-1940s) in america, where nobody had enough to eat, a lot of migrant workers went to california, searching for a job. In this time it seemed that everybody is afraid of everybody. John Steinbecks novel, Of Mice And Men, deals with the issue of loneliness. The three most lonely persons in this novel are Candy, the oldest person on the farm. Crooks, the crippled negro and Cuerly's wife, the only women in the book,who did not even get a name. These three characters are isolated on account of different persons or because of crippled parts of the body. The color of the skin, crippleness or jealous people can be the reason for loneliness.

The charters may not find a solution for their loneliness, but the reader learns that someone can be isolated because of different reasons. Like race, jealous people, lost parts of the body, age or crippled parts of the body. Nobody in this novel except Lennie and George, has anybody to talk to. The main idea of this novel is probably loneliness and the author explains the big issue really good.


Lennie and George have known each other for a very long time and they have a great friendship. They travel together from ranch to ranch trying to get money that they can save and buy a ranch with. In the beginning of the book it says, 'They had walked in a single file down the path and even in the open one stayed behind the other.' (Steinbeck, 2). This shows that they stay together even when walking. Walking one behind the other shows that the man in the front is looking out for the other man. 'No look! I was jus' foolin Lennie cause I want you to stay with me.' (Steinbeck, 15). After George is mean to Lennie, George is very upset about it so he apologizes deeply to Lennie. Many other men would not apologize and walk away. George and Lennie also have another good friend, Candy..

George and Lennie also have a great friendship with Candy the 'swamper' (a swamper is a person who sweeps the barn, bunk house etc). Candy is an old man who has been on the ranch for a long time with only one hand who's only good friend up until the last month was an old dog the recently was euthanized. Candy cares about Lennie enough to look for him. Most characters in the book would not have even asked about Lennie. 'Slim went into town, say you seen Lennie"' (Steinbeck, 82). Candy also is good friends with George, 'You god damn right were gonna do it. George says we are.' This shows that George and Candy are friends and that Candy has respect for George. George and Candys relationship is quite strange because Candy is much older than George and he is more of an experienced ranch hand. Even though George, Candy and Lennies relationship is special the people that have the strongest most meaningful friendship is Lennie and George.

George and Lennie share a bond so strong that when George killed Lennie, he was partially killing himself. 'The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied. He pulled the trigger. The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and rolled down again.' (Steinbeck 117). George and Lennie are like two halves of one person and they realize how special there relationship is. George was looking out for George by shooting him because he knew if he let Curly kill him, his death would be slow and painful.

George is a small, wise, intelligent man who is always looking for a better life. While Lennie is the opposite, he is huge man with a 'bear like stature' but with the mind of a child, always forgetting and never being able to cope with George mentally. However this Friendship seems to be the only in the novel as one of the main themes is loneliness.

One of the characters in which loneliness features heavily is Crooks. Crooks is physically because he is exiled from the others and has to spend his time in the bunkhouse with only the horses to keep him company. He can only ever communicate when he is playing horseshoes with the other men, but no great conversation can be held because he is an outcast (constantly referred to as a nigger.)

Crooks is also mentally lonely because of this as well with no friends or family (there is only one coloured family in Soledad.) He has no one to have a conversation with so his only choice is to read books (books aren't no good.) But it is mentioned in the book that loneliness is a emotion that Crooks has experienced all his life telling the story of how he was the only black kid in his town and how he wasn't allowed to play with the white children by his father.

Another person who is lonely in the novel is Curley's wife because of like Crooks being unique but her case of being the only female. But although she is married to Curley he shows no affection to her and she states in the book how she doesn't like Curley saying "He's not a nice fella." The way she flaunts about the ranch is a main factor because although it is portrayed to be sexual she most probably just wants to have some company and to upset Curley in the hope of leaving the ranch. Her dislike for the ranch is shown when she reveals her past and tells the story of how she met a film director and he said she could be in the movies but her chance was taken by her mother who she thought has taken the letter the director would of sent her giving her a path to fame.

In conclusion every character on the ranch suffers from loneliness because they are not in contact with there friends and family but the characters mentioned suffered this more so because of the lack of communication on the ranch. To conclude with although loneliness, dreams and inequality are major themes in John Steinbeck's literary classic Of Mice and Men the one that is most important to people is friendship so that they don't become 'mean' and bitter. This novella is similar to Harry Potter because in both books there are good friendships. In Harry Potter people envy Harry, Ron and Hermione's friendship and in Of Mice and Men many people envy Lennie and George's relationship.

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