Of Mice and Men
‘Soledad means loneliness. Why is this relevant to Of Mice and Men? Discuss’
Soledad derives from the word Solitude, a state of social isolation. It is the situation/state of being alone. Loneliness is defined as an emotional state in which a person (or animal) experiences an immense feeling of emptiness and isolation. Loneliness and isolation is a theme that is reflected constantly throughout Of Mice and Men such as; the characters, in the minor actions that the characters pursue, in this case, when the men play solitaire, and also the settings which are described to us that give us the idea of loneliness.
The characters in Of Mice and Men experience loneliness in various ways to each other through the story. Many of the men who work at the ranch travel alone besides George and Lennie. This makes the other men curious yet also suspicious of their motives. Many of the workmen and characters at the ranch can be seen as lonely in the way that they are separated from their families and civilisation, however, the characters which are the main victims of loneliness in Of Mice and Men are Curley’s wife, George and Crooks. John Steinbeck portrays Curley’s Wife as the only female on the ranch and gives the reader a description to identify her with ‘Full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red’ (Page 32), Steinbeck presents her as a beautiful young woman who is especially appealing to the men at the ranch. As we progress in the book we find that one of the men Whit explains, “I never seen nobody like her. She got the eye goin’ all the time on everybody. I bet she even gives the stable buck the eye. I don’t know what the hell she wants” (Page 51). It is soon discovered that Curley’s Wife is always looking for Curley and he is always looking for her. However this is just her alibi so that she can go around the ranch trying to talk to all the men and get their attention, which she doesn’t get from Curley. The men however are cautious of her as Curley is very aggressive and uneasy when anyone talks to his wife or when she talks to anyone at the ranch. So what happens when Lennie, who has been told not to talk or say anything to anybody at the ranch, begins to communicate with Curley’s Wife, an attractive, manipulative and lonesome woman. It is obvious that the worst is going to occur when this occurrence takes place (Lennie and Curley’s Wife talking), as Curley is already suspicious of him and George, and George has specifically told Lennie not to communicate with anyone because of recent bad events. Lennie said to Curley’s Wife as they sit alone in the barn, , “No, sir. I ain’t gonna talk to you or nothing” (Page 85), as the conversation goes on Curley’s Wife says, “Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.” Lennie replies to this situation the only way he knows how, “Well, I ain’t supposed to talk to you or nothing.” “I get lonely” Curley’s Wife said. “You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody?” (Page 85). Curley’s Wife being the only female on the ranch and with the restricted communication shared with any other humans on the ranch, was just trying to get the attention she believes she deserved and of course needed, so that she would not feel the loneliest and emptiest she has been ever since she married Curley. Although George travels with Lennie, he is emotionally and socially alone. George’s partner Lennie is mentally slow, meaning that communication between the two men is very frustrating as Lennie does not understand George and George is constantly annoyed at the sheer fact that Lennie isn’t very bright, continuously making mistakes which get them into trouble. “An’ whatta I got,” George went on furiously. “I got you! You can’t keep a job and you loose me ever’ job I get. Jus’ keep me shovin’ all over the country all the time. An’ that ain’t the...
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