The Theme of Loneliness and Isolation In Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. His most
famous books were written in the 1930s to the 1940s, and are set in
California. Many of the characters in his books are immigrants from
Mexico or from other parts of the United States who went to California
looking for work or a better life.
This better life was called 'The American Dream'. The American Dream
was associated mostly with people who thought they could get their own
house, farm with animals on it living on their land.
I will be writing an essay from Steinbeck's book, 'Of Mice and Men'.
'Of Mice and Men' is set in the farmland of the Salinas valley where
John Steinbeck was born and which he knew all his life.
The main theme that runs through this book is the theme of loneliness
and isolation, focusing on the characters: George, Lennie, Candy,
Crooks, Curley and Curley's wife.
George and Lennie, start work at a ranch in Northern California,
having left their previous jobs in a hurry, following accusations of
attempted rape against the larger of the two men, Lennie.
George and lennie experience loneliness in a different way to the rest
of the main characters, because George and lennie have each other but
still manage to maintain the theme of loneliness through out the whole
novel. George is a normal civilized man just like the other ranch
hands, but lennie is different he is a grown man but with a child
trapped inside him quote, 'I like beans with ketchup.' He has a
disease called autism.
Lennie is also different in his strength quote, 'why do you got to get
killed? You aint so little as mice. I didn't bounce you hard', he is
stronger than the average man quote, 'strong as a bull,' but Lennie
does not realise this throughout the whole novel, and because of this
a puppy and Curley's wife all have a tragic worthless death.
No matter their differences lennie and George's friendship is very
close as lennie says 'ain't nobody goin' to talk no hurt to George'
Despite lennie being slow and easily confused, he is sure of his
friendship with George, answering Crook's threat that George might
abandon him, 'George wouldn't do nothing like that.'
Even though George and lennie have a close companionship, there are
times when George wonders how life would be so much simple without
Lennie, "I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn't have you on
my tail. I could live so easy and maybe have a girl."
George once used lennie for fun in an incident, involving a river. He
then learnt his lesson quote 'I ain't done nothing like that no more.'
He protects and defends lennie for example not allowing Slim to call
This shows there is a compassionate side to George as George express's
sympathy to Lennie...