Of Mice and Men is an American novel written by John Steinbeck about two itinerant workers who move from place to place. One itinerant worker named George is a small, smart, caring worker. While on the contrary the other itinerant worker name Lennie is a huge, clumsy, naive character. The story is set in a remote place a few miles south of Soledad. The south is usually the best place to live due to the climate of the area. Soledad is the Spanish word for loneliness and solitary.
The two itinerant workers pursue their dream of getting their own farm. During their journey George and Lennie encounter many difficulties along the way. It was not uncommon for itinerant workers to suffer from loneliness, isolation and alienation. These three terms are the terms that will be explained in my essay. Dreams are another main factor in this book. George and Lennie have a dream that is the cornerstone of this book. Their dream is that they will “live of the fatta the lan’”. This quote is a reference to the American Dream.
In this case, the fat is a good thing and fat has many properties and is usually the tastiest part of food, they also said that they will live of the fat. This means that the fat is in abundance. The American dream which says you get what you deserve if you work very hard. The American Dream is almost a capitalist dream. Loneliness is defined to be someone who is sad and/or be companionless. Characters such as George, Lennie, Candy and Curley’s wife all suffer from loneliness. George is lonely mainly because he is an itinerant worker which means he doesn’t stay anywhere for long.
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George even confesses his loneliness by saying “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. ” This is when George talks to Lennie beside the river. Lennie is another character that is caught in the trap of loneliness because of his disability and the fact that he always getting into trouble. Candy is lonely as he only has his dog which eventually dies. Finally, Curley’s wife is lonely as her wife Curley does not give her the attention she wants. Isolation means to separate or to force apart. “... he limb is worn smooth by men who have sat on it”. Already, in the first paragraph we can see the relationship between man and nature is not the best. Man seems to be destroying nature’s work. The characters that suffer from isolation are the likes of Crooks and Curley’s wife. Alienation is term that is described to a person who is being withdrawn from the world or withdraws them self from the outside world. People often feel alienated as they are being shown disaffection by others. The favourites of Crooks and Curley’s wife suffer from alienation.
Crooks suffers from alienation as he is the only black person on the ranch, while Curley’s wife suffers from alienation as she is called names like “jailbait” (from George) as she is always looking for a man and is unfaithful to her husband – Curley. The very first bit of knowledge we know about George is explained in this quote “The first man was small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features. The first person/people in something are always the more dominant person as explained in this quote. “... restless eyes... tells us that he is also a very alert man. Later in the book George also confesses his loneliness to the other ranchers. The other ranchers generally don’t like confessing their own loneliness to others. Quotes like . George is a very father like figure to Lennie, to comfort Lennie he usually says (in this case about Curley) “you keep away from Curley”. George promised Lennie’s Aunt Carla that he will look after Lennie like a father after she dies. “One side of the river the golden foothill slopes curve up to the strong ... Gablian Mountains. This quote explains the qualities of the two itinerant workers. The quote is saying that George is strong mentally and physically. “God, you’re a lot of trouble ... I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail. ” George often loses his temper with Lennie. He knows that he is mentally stronger than Lennie meaning that he can do whatever he wants by himself but Lennie always restrains him. Crooks is a character in the book that gets quite a lot of stick from the other ranch workers. The type of loneliness he suffers from alienation.
The two main reasons Crooks is alienated is because he is black and he is also disabled. The other ranchers use derogative terms like “nigger” and “stable buck” as a reference to Crooks. In those times they thought that it was alright to call black people any name that they desire. The book describes Crooks’ appearance as “his body was bent to the left by his crooked spine”. Since the Abrahamic religions started, the side to your left was considered ‘dirty’ so, Steinbeck can use this for a reason for the other ranchers to hate Crooks as they will probably consider him ‘dirty’.
As Crooks spends a lot of time by himself, he has the privilege of keeping more prized possessions than the other ranchers as explained in the quote “he had books, too; a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905”. You could say that Crooks was quite lucky as he had many possessions unlike all the ranchers as all they owned was a small apple box. Crooks is always the one being picked on; for example one Christmas when all the other ranchers where trying to pick a fight with Crooks. Candy is another character in the book that is disabled.
He is also one of the loneliest characters in the book. All Candy has is an old dog. Candy’s dog is described Steinbeck uses quite a few techniques in the book. Some of the techniques include allegories and foreshadowing. The best example of an allegory in this book is when Lennie kills the innocent mouse, Candy’s dog is killed and then right at the end of the book Lennie is killed. This also foreshadowed what was going to happen to Lennie as he used to follow George around ‘like a dog’. When Candy had no use of his dog; he decided to dispose of him. This just like what George did to Lennie.
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