Of Mice And Men Essay

1204 words - 5 pages

Friendship: The Escape of Loneliness America in the mid 1930's was a lonesome place to be, mostly as a result of the amount of discrimination that was present during the time. In his touching novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck expresses that friendship is a precious asset for people to possess with one another, allowing them to escape loneliness. George and Lennie, after many years of traveling and bonding together, find jobs on a solitary ranch in Salinas, California. Here, the people are secluded from one another because of their disadvantages, leaving them with no support in their life, and are essentially driven towards George and Lennie's friendship because of this. Crooks, black and crippled, and Candy, old and useless, are two of the ranchers who seek to fulfill a friendship by showing interest in the relationship between George and his retarded companion, Lennie. Steinbeck portrays that isolation can be avoided because of the great value of friendship, through the loneliness of two underprivileged ranchers, Crooks and Candy, compared to the strong bond maintained by two men, George and Lennie, regardless of their weaknesses.Crooks experiences isolation due to the racist society he resides in. Being an African American significantly separates him from the others on the ranch, and his crooked back does not make his situation any better. Acting proud and aloof is Crooks' method of protecting himself, though he suffers from lonesomeness. The full extent of his suffering is made clear when he lashes out at Lennie for unexpectedly entering his room. Viewing Lennie as a symbol of all the white men who had hurt him, Crooks strikes out in anger by telling Lennie that his room is only for himself, and nobody has permission to come in. In actuality, Crooks' anger is just a cover for the pain he experiences from constant isolation. After permitting Lennie to cross the threshold, knowing that he needs someone to talk to, he bitterly comments that he is not allowed to live in the bunkhouse with the other laborers, and cannot even play cards with them. "I can't play cards because I'm black. They say I stink."(68) This quote illustrates that Crooks feels the anguish of rejection more than he lets people see, and more importantly he longs to have a closeness with someone; anyone. At another point, after Candy enters the room, Crooks discovers George, Candy, and Lennie's plan to own a ranch. Hearing their plan, he reveals his desire to have a friendship by proposing to work for them, for free. Working for them on their ranch would fulfill his dream for acceptance and he could truly be proud to say that he has friends. The character of Crooks reflects the universal need for human connection, which he lacks primarily because of his skin color, as does Candy because of his age and physical handicap.Being a rancher itself is lonely, yet the old, one-handed swamper, Candy, finds his life far more solitary due to his physical condition. Like George and...

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