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How Does John Steinbeck Portray Loneliness and Isolation in the N...

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How Does John Steinbeck Portray Loneliness and Isolation in the Novel “of Mice and Men”?

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  • March 9, 2012
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How does John Steinbeck portray loneliness and isolation in the novel “Of Mice and Men”?

The novel of “Of Mice and Men” was written in the time of the great depression in the 1930’s in America, this was the time in which Professional workers became Migrant workers due to the Wall Street crash in 1929. The great depression caused many professional workers to turn to working in farmland harvesting wheat.

John Steinbeck published the novel of “Of Mice and Men” in 1937 it is set in Salinas, California. The title of the novel “Of Mice and Men” comes from the poem To a mouse ‘The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft agley [often go wrong] and leave us nought but grief and pain For promised joy!’. The poem tells us that the best things always go wrong and leave you with nothing but grief and pain, this relates to the novel well because the best dream of having a ranch went wrong and left George lonely and crooks back to where he was being lonely. In the novel Steinbeck has created many characters to follow a dream of having a better life and future, but none of their dreams come true, all are shattered when things go wrong and go back in a cyclical cycle.

John Steinbeck’s purpose of the novel is to indicate to the readers just how life was as a migrant worker in America in the 1930’s, during the great depression. Steinbeck also wanted to show how lonely and isolated the workers got whilst travelling from ranch to ranch. Steinbeck has set the novel on a ranch Soledad, which ironically means loneliness, which ties into the novel being about lonely and isolated characters.

In the novel the ranch workers lifestyles sound happy and cheerful when they actually are not, they had to work on a schedule. In the novel it mentions that the workers are playing Solitaire, “ George cut the cards again and put out a solitaire lay…” Solitaire is a one-player card game so this also emphasizes loneliness, as they would be on their own a lot to get to the point where...