The Crave for Companionship in of Mice and Men
“A guy goes nut if he ain’t got nobody. ” None of the characters in Of Mice and Men experience true companionship. Discuss.
The crave for companionship is a key theme present throughout John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men. The great depression is no help when trying to find or keep friendships alive in the rural, country areas of America. George and Lennie depict what true companionship is all about when sticking together through thick and thin.
Being the only black man living on the ranch, Crooks finds it hard to relate with others, finding himself separated from the other men. The relationship between Curley and his wife is merely just an unstable marriage that lacks true meaning and love. Desire in many forms is found throughout the novella but companionship is the main one as everyone can be lonely at times. George and Lennie’s companionship contrasts the loneliness that surrounds them on the ranch. Somehow the two men complement each other despise the lack of compatibility between them.
Lennie would call George a friend, but George would find difficulty to call him one back. “ain’t many guys travel around together” (Slim page 36) this is what Slim tells George when he finds out that he and Lennie travel together. The companions are in search of the American dream which is to own their own piece of land, “we’d have our own place where we belonged and not sleep in no bunk house” (George page 63) this would put George in control of finally keeping them out of trouble, especially Lennie.
George is motivated to stay with Lennie because of his own guilt and the fact that he doesn’t want to end up like everyone else on the ranch, alone. George knows that life without Lennie would be so much easier on himself and sometimes he wants the independence of not have to keep his eye on a grown man who has the mind of a child. Unfortunately their great friendship had to end with George killing Lennie. Although it may have seemed to be George protecting himself it was largely to protect Lennie as Curley could have killed him in a more brutal manor.
Crooks, “the negro Stable Buck” (page 66) seems to be the major outcast living on the ranch in Of Mice and Men. He lives in his own room, separated from the bunk house in “a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn” (page 66). Crooks was “a proud, and aloof man” (page 67), bitter and hostile yet very intelligent and wise mainly because of the isolations he faces and his skin colour. When Crooks is faced with the solid figure of Lennie standing in his door way he attempts to lash out at him yelling “you got no ight to come in my room” (pages 67-68) displaying a large deficiency of communication and trying to indicate to Lennie to leave him alone. As Lennie is misguided by the messages Crooks is trying to send him he enters giving off no bad intentions so the black man lets his guard down. As the conversation carries on Crooks finds Lennie just sees him as another man working at the ranch. Curley’s wife’s want for friendship has altered her demeanour towards men on the ranch tremendously, making her overtly insecure and excessively flirtatious.
The men on the ranch avoid her because of flirtatious personality to keep out of trouble. No one understands her situation and how loneliness affects her. Her insecurity is evident by the way she dresses and utilizes her make-up. She uses her appearance to receive attention like when “[Curley’s Wife] was standing there looking in. She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. “(Steinbeck 32). Curley’s Wife feels she must dress this way for people to acknowledge her and give her attention.
Her dressing-up is entirely unnecessary because they live on a farm and this is not the typical clothing. Curley does not give his wife enough companionship, love and affection that she desires. This makes her seek it from other people whining to Lennie in the barn “Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely” (page 85). By not talking to anyone and constantly worrying about what Curley will do, she has attained a slyness that does not appeal to anyone on the ranch.
Acting in flirtatious ways is the only way Curley’s Wife thinks she can deal with her aspirations for a friend. Every human needs a companion, a friend or acquaintance to share his or her thoughts and feelings with, that’s what makes us all human. Unfortunately some of us are unable to have this desire that we all dream for, and especially during the depression friends were very scarce. Of Mice and Men shows the ups and downs of friendship, the good times as well as the bad and the limits a friend will go to, to save their friend from anguish.