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Ap Term Paper On Dreams And Loneliness In John Steinbeck's "Of Mice And Men"

2663 words - 11 pages

"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place...With us it ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don't have to sit in no bar room blowin' in our jack jus' because we got no place else to go." (Steinbeck 14) George speaks these words to his companion, Lennie in the beginning of the book. Loneliness is a basic part of human life. Every person has experienced some type of loneliness throughout his or her lifetime. The antithesis of loneliness would be friendship, one of a human's basic needs, along with food, water, and shelter. In his novel, "Of Mice and Men", John Steinbeck illustrates the loneliness of California ranch life in the early 1930's and shows how people, no matter how different they may seem, are all alike in the fact that they are driven to find friendship.The main image of a companionship would be the relationship that George and Lennie have. While sometimes George may get sick of Lennie, and yells at him, as is shown when he tells Lennie "I wisht I could put you in a cage with about a million mice and let you have fun!" (Steinbeck 12), he truly loves him like a brother. George and Lennie would truly be lonely if they did not have each other. While they might make acquaintances on their own, such as the other migrant workers they meet at the ranch, they don't have the same bond with them as they do with each other. They consider each other family, even though they are so different. To George, Lennie is almost like a pet, because he can turn to him for friendship and someone to talk to.While Lennie may not be as intelligent as George, he is always faithful to George, and is simply someone that he can be with which is enough for him. This sentiment is repeated over and over again throughout the novella, such as when the character Crooks says, "A guy needs somebody - to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you." (Steinbeck 80)There is a very important connection made in the book between Candy's old dog and Lennie. Literary critic Claudia Johnson points out in her analysis titled "The Triumph of our Species" that from very early on in the book Lennie is compared to an animal. (16)In fact, he is first physically described as "walking heavily, dragging his feet, the way a bear drags his paws" (Steinbeck 2), and then he is mentally compared to "a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball back to his master." (Steinbeck 9) These are two very different aspects of Lennie, and mentally he is much like Candy's dog. The comparisons go even further when Candy talks about how he has had his dog since he was a pup, and George tells how he's known Lennie ever since they were little. And then of course, George shoots Lennie in the back of the head, in the same way that Candy's dog is put down.Candy's instance of friendship with his dog, which cannot...

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