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

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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 they have to start playing one-player games.

In the novel the author has produced two lonely characters that both depend on each other to achieve the dreams which they dream will happen, so they can get away from the miserable life they live on the ranch. George and Lennie follow a father and son like relationship, “Lennie, for God’ sakes do’nt drink so much”, this shows us that George is leading the father role and looking out for Lennie.

George leads a lonely life, as he is not able to lead the life he wants to, both him and Lennie go from one ranch to another trying to find work to save money for their dreams. Lennie was isolated from being able to talk to people as George felt he would not be accepted if they heard how mentally immature he was. “ Jesus, he’s jes’ like a kid, ain’t he?” Lennie thinks that the only person he can trust and talk to is George, but this is probably due to the way in which George has controlled him and stopped him from being able to communicate with any one else for his own protection and everyone else’s. This is proven when Curley turns to Lennie after the argument with Slim and Lennie has his mind on his Dream and doesn’t know how to react to Curley’s aggression and ends up being told how to defend himself against Curley’s attack, only to take it too far, because he is not aware of his own strength.

Lennies’ immaturity is shown in his dreams about coloured rabbits, which he is always dreaming about tending on his ranch. This is highlighted in his final minutes when he is talking to himself, the rabbit, and his Aunt Clara. This also confirms how much he had come to rely on George and as George was not there he was speaking to himself through other people in his mind, making it look as if he had followed George’s instructions and they had now become Lennies’ Insecurities as George was not there to confirm, he could do what he had always Dreamt.” Well, he’s sick of you’ He’s gonna beat the hell outta you with a stick, that’s what...
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