8. Loneliness is a very important theme in Of Mice and Men. Which characters are lonely and why? Of Mice and Men illustrates the loneliness of ranch life during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Steinbeck creates a lonely and a blue atmosphere at many times in the novel. He uses words ‘Soledad’ which is referred to solitude, which means loneliness; and the card game ‘Solitare’ which means by one’s self. Not all the characters are lonely; Steinbeck makes it clear that only Crooks, Curley’s wife and Candy are the lonely characters in the ranch.
The loneliest character is Crooks. He is isolated from the other ranchers because of his race. He isn’t allowed to join any social activities at the ranch and is completely left out alone. He’s so lonely that he considers reading books to accompany him. Even though he doesn’t show it, he is desperate to have someone to talk to. When Lennie comes in his room, Crooks just keeps on talking to him and doesn’t care whether he was listening or not. Crooks says to Lennie “A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you.
I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick. ” This shows that he desperately needs a friend to talk to and he’s at the point where he is becoming emotionally sick of it. Crooks also says “An' never a God damn one of `em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever'body wants a little piece of lan'. It's just in their head. ” This shows that he has no hope for a bright future and that he doesn’t believe that the men from the ranch are ever going to a better place. The second loneliest is Candy, an old swamper at the ranch who is disabled due to an accident in the past.
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His only companionship is his ancient dog, until Carlson shoots it for him because it is old and useless, just like Candy. Later on in the novel, he wishes he should have shot the dog himself, which is similar to the ending of the novel. When his dog dies, he looks for new friendship, he doesn’t want to grow older being by himself. He hopes George and Lennie will become his friends when he hears them talking about their dream ranch. He offers his savings for the dream, which makes George and Lennie's dream begin to be actually possible to achieve. S'pose I went in with you guys. That's three hundred and fifty bucks I'd put in... How'd that be? ” This shows that he really intends to be part of the dream. He is useless at the ranch, he knows that he’s going to be sacked sooner or later and he will have no place, no friends and nothing. That’s why he is giving his savings for the dream ranch, which possibly he could live the rest of his life in. Candy desperately tries to be a part of the dream shows us how lonely he really is. Curley's wife is the least lonely character out of all three.
She’s controlled by her husband, Curley, who doesn’t let her speak to any of the men on the ranch, which leads her into being lonely. Even though Curley's wife is mentioned frequently, Steinbeck doesn’t reveal her real name throughout the whole novel. All the ranchers consider her as an object, instead of a normal human being. The ranchers don’t even bother to start a conversation with her because of her husband, who thinks he is all tough and strong. Curley’s wife has no female friends on the ranch, so the ranchers are her only option, but too bad they don’t want to be friends with her.
She realizes that Lennie isn’t like the other men and she intends to be friends with him. She says to Lennie “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever once in a while? ” This shows that she’s trying to say that she is desperately wants to talk to somebody as she hardly ever talks to anyone because nobody at the ranch listens to her. Although she has a husband which should make her not as lonely as she really is, the fact is that he ignores her and just goes out to Cat houses once in a while, yet he doesn’t allow to talk to anybody or to go anywhere.
I think in conclusion, loneliness have a big affect on people. It makes Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife suffer. Crooks says he’s sick because he doesn’t have anybody to talk to. Candy is very old and his old dog is his only friend, which then gets shot, which makes him even lonelier. Curley’s wife dies because she has no one to talk to as well, so when she starts talking to the childish Lennie, who accidently kills her in the barn. I think the other men like Slim, Carlson and Whit are also lonely but they don’t make it as a big deal and they just go on with their lives
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