How Are the Themes of Loneliness and Isolation Explored in “of Mice and Men”?

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How are the themes of loneliness and isolation explored in
“Of Mice and Men”?

Born in 1902, John Steinbeck, author of ‘Of Mice and Men’, set his book in the 1930’s. The novel revolves around two hard-working men dependant on one another during the Great Depression, a time when most were alone. Many themes are explored in the novel such as racism, loneliness, disability, isolation and friendship. This essay will be talking about how the themes of loneliness and isolation are explored in ‘Of Mice and Men’. Gender is one way in which Steinbeck illustrates loneliness and isolation. The character of Curley’s wife is used to portray this. Throughout the book Curley’s wife is never referred to her name which is unknown. This suggests that she is a possession belonging to Curley. By not having her name mentioned; Curley’s wife remains distant even though she tells Lennie her life story as without a name she remains mysterious. Her marriage to Curley causes for her to be rejected by the ranch workers when she seeks out their attention and friendship. Therefore she is not only lonely but also isolated as there are only men on the ranch who turn away from her. Critics may argue that Steinbeck was too harsh in not giving a name to Curley’s wife but in my opinion John Steinbeck was only portraying the reality of that particular time period. Steinbeck also uses age to explore the themes of loneliness and isolation. Candy, an old ranch worker, is used to display these themes. As the oldest man on the ranch Candy is the most insecure of the men as he knows that if he was to be fired from his job he would have no other place to go to, what with having no family or friends. This knowledge isolates him from the others as there’s no one whom he can relate to this about. Critics may say that John Steinbeck is stereotyping old people as useless. Another way in which the two themes are explored is through racism. For this John Steinbeck uses Crooks. As a stable buck and a...
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