"Of Mice and Men" is a powerful and moving novel by John Steinbeck, telling of two men following their dream of independence in the midst of the Depression. The theme of Loneliness is particularly prominent in this novel and is demonstrated clearly by many aspects of writer's craft. The most noticeable of these are word choice, symbolism and tone.
The setting of the novel is the first indication that the theme could be centered around loneliness. When George talks to Lennie about the advantage they have over other itinerant workers of the time, they are near a lagoon which, to anyone alone would seem lonely, but to them seems comfortable as they have each other. George described how other ranch hands like themselves who traveled alone had nothing to look forward to, and no one to look after them. He told Lennie how other workers would just work up a stake and blows it at a bar because they had no where else to go, no one else to look after them. George explained how Lennie and himself were different from those lonely workers when he said, "With us it ain't like that, We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us" This quote shows how George and Lennie can turn a potentially lonely situation into something that shows them hope and comfort. However, when the men arrive at the ranch, the theme becomes more prominent as the men's relationship is put under stress by the presence of the other men who do not understand why they need each other's company:
"'We travel together,' said George coldly.
'Oh, so it's that way.'
George was tense and motionless. 'Yeah, it's that way' "
This quote shows how George is uncomfortable about confiding in Lennie or being close to him while there are other men nearby. The emphasizes the theme of loneliness by the fact that George and Lennie are so close but are not allowed to show any affection for others as it was not common for two men to travel around together at the time.
Many of the characters in Of Mice and Men are lonely - for example, although Lennie is a burden, George accepts their relationship to fight his own loneliness. As he explains to Slim, "I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain't no good. They don't have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin' to fight all the time" This quote shows how George is grateful that he has Lennie even though he actually holds him back from his dream of having his own place. Lennie is the only thing standing in his way and yet he stays with him because he doesn't want to be alone. George appreciates Lennie's companionship because he knows that being alone can lead to a more negative outlook on life.
Candy is another character who deals with loneliness. He is the oldest man on the ranch and is crippled. The only work he can do is cleaning out the bunkhouse and other odd jobs. His only companion is his old dog who stays by his side. One night however, a fellow ranch hand named Carlson convinces Candy to let...