Loneliness in of Mice and Men

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Loneliness is an inevitable fact of life that not even the strongest can avoid. In his novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck illustrates the loneliness of California ranch life in the early 1930's. Throughout the story, the reader discovers the many sources of solitude, primarily being discrimination and prejudice, resulting in loneliness and isolation.

One of the most important things that are really needed is a friend. Without friends, people would suffer from loneliness and solitude. The characters in this novel are intrigued yet envious of the special friendship shared by George and Lennie because they do not have that in their life.

All the characters are extremely lonely and unhappy with their lives (except Slim, who is the only character that seems to be confident and happy with his life), and none of them can escape this unhappiness. Economic and social forces control them, and free will seems illusory.

To study the aspect of loneliness in Of Mice and Men, we will study George and Lennie's bittersweet friendship, as well as loneliness through 3 characters who are forced to locate their happiness elsewhere to fight off their loneliness--in Crooks' childhood on the chicken farm, or Curley's wife's vision of Hollywood stardom, or George and Lennie's Eden-like dream of their own farm. And finally we will point out interesting similarities between certain characters.

The setting of the novel is destined for loneliness. Soledad is short for the town's full name, 'Nuestra Senora de Soledad' which means 'Our Lady of Loneliness'. This is the town that is closest to the ranch, a place that is already full of lonely, solitary people. The name of the closest town being Soledad, we understand that loneliness is some kind of vicious circle, because on the ranch they are already lonely, and going to town to fight that loneliness wont help since its called "Soledad".

"Guys like us, that live on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world." George means that if not for each other, then he and Lennie would be all alone, with no friends, like all the men like them, who are nomads working from ranch to ranch without making any friends, and living a lonely, solitary life. Clinging to each other in their loneliness and alienation, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie dream, as drifters will, of a place to call their own. But we can attribute another meaning to this sentence. George and Lennie are very different, physically as well as mentally, even thought they talk to each other, we can sense that they are both on a different level. George is a smart, quick-witted man, who seems to need mental stimulation from a companion, which he cannot have in his relationship with Lennie. And Lennie doesn't always understand what George is talking about, as Crooks points out "Sometimes he talks, and you don't know what the hell he's talkin' about. Aint' that so ?…Jus' talks on, an' you don't know what the hell it's all about?". Even though they have each other, they are still both lonely at a certain level, but as Crooks also points outs "it don't make no difference"; what he means that it's not what's being said that is important, nor that the interlocutor understands clearly what the others talking about, the important thing is human contact and being there together.

Crooks, Candy and Curley's wife all suffer injustices such as discrimination and prejudice, resulting in loneliness and isolation. They learn to cope with their loneliness through their interest in Lennie and George's friendship. In some ways they are even envious of the bond.

Crooks is a black man that experiences isolation because the society in which he resides is racist. The quote "A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an he gets sick" was his means of finding a personal connection to Lennie. Like...
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