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Of Mice And Men, By John Steinbeck

1641 words - 7 pages

Mother Theresa (1910 – 1997) once said, ‘‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.’’ Without friends and companions, people begin to suffer from loneliness and solitude. Loneliness is an inevitable fact of life and cannot be avoided, as shown prevalent through particular characters in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Most of the characters in this novel exhibit loneliness and the only thing that keeps them alive are their dreams. Although they are all on the ranch together, they are lonely because of who they are and their history. The author further reinforces this theme through subtle methods by situating the story near the town of Soledad, which means ‘solitude or loneliness’ in Spanish. This helps to support the theme of a man's isolation and need for companionship.

Crooks is isolated for being the only black cripple man on the ranch. Since this book is set during the Depression, Jim Crow laws are still in effect, whites and blacks had separate facilities for socialising and living. The full extent of Crooks's suffering is made clear when Crooks lashes out at Lennie. Viewing Lennie as a symbol of all the white men who had hurt him, Crooks strikes out in anger, saying "You got no right to come in my room...Nobody got any right in here but me." (Pg 67 & 68). In fact, Crooks protects himself by acting like a "proud, aloof man." (Pg 67) and his anger is just a disguise for the pain he experiences from constant isolation as “his face lighted with pleasure in Lennie’s torture." (Pg 71).

But when Crooks tells Lennie; "I can’t play because I'm black. They say I stink." (Pg 68), this illustrates that Crooks feels the pain of rejection more than he reveals. When Crooks says to Lennie "A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody ... A guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick." (Pg 72), he just talks and does not care if Lennie is listening or not. His desire to have a connection becomes apparent and he is at the point where he is becoming emotionally sick of it.
Crooks calls Lennie “nuts” (Pg 73) and does not believe that Lennie will own his own land with George and Candy. Crooks exclaims “An' never a God damn one of 'em ever gets it…Ever'body wants a little piece of lan.” (Pg 73). His pessimism about the world is summed up and this shows that he has no hope for the future.
Curley's wife is the only female on the ranch and is controlled by her husband, who does not let her speak to any of the men, which leads her into being lonely. You never witness the distinct couple together; they are always searching for each other, this proves he ignores her and goes out always leaving her behind. Even though Curley's wife is mentioned frequently, we never know what her name is and therefore she has a lack of individuality. I think Steinbeck does not give her a name because she is regarded more as a possession by Curley rather than a real person who needs love and championship, and so is not expected to have her own...

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