Loneliness & Isolation in 'of Mice and Men'

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An idea I found interesting in the novel ‘Of Mice And Men,’ by John Steinbeck was loneliness and isolation. I found this idea interesting because it helped me understand how important it is to be surrounded by people. George and Lennie’s friendship contrasts this idea as they are friends and they have each other, whereas most of the other ranch workers travel alone. The idea of loneliness was strongly conveyed through the characters Crooks and Curley’s wife, they are both key examples of lonely and segregated characters. The location of the ranch also represents the idea of isolation as the Spanish translation of the town’s name ‘Soledad’ means loneliness.

Crooks is perhaps the most segregated character in the novel and therefore reveals much about this idea. He is segregated in the barn, which highlights the racial discrimination evident in the 1930’s. The other ranch workers do not care for the needs of Crooks, and this is demonstrated when Candy tells a story from Christmas when ‘they let the nigger in that night.’ Crooks is excluded from the companionship shown in the bunkhouse, he is by himself and he only has books to diminish the lonely silence. Crooks is completely aware to his predujice and isolation, and therefore has no choice but to endure it. He is protective of his enforced privacy, revealing to Lennie, “I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse, and you ain’t wanted in my room.” This idea helped me understand that the likelihood of a Negro man being treated equally in the 1930’s was next to impossible due to the racial prejudices of people at that time. I think that it is interesting because it makes me think of the differences between then and now, and how times do change.

The idea of loneliness is shown through the character Curley’s wife as her loneliness leads to the consequence of her death. The author introduces her as a bizarrely dressed and made up character, with her “heavily made up” eyes, “red fingernails” and “full, rouged lips.” From this...
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