Of Mice and Men

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The decade of the 1930s was indeed a time of depression; desperation consumed people and they turned against each other, no longer looking out for anybody but oneself. Eventually this led people into loneliness. This is portrayed in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The idea of having someone gives you a purpose, a feeble grasp on reality. This concept weaves through the novel, making the reader recognize that companionship, no matter in what form, is essential to one’s being. Curley’s wife, Crooks, Lennie and George are the main outcasts of the novel and represent how solitude ruins you. For one reason or another, life has left Crooks and Curley’s wife bitter and resentful, in desperate need of friendship. On the other hand, George and Lennie, however dysfunctional their relationship may be, have a strong tie to one another. In a secluded ranch, during the Great Depression, one is in great need of amity.

Crooks is the ranch’s black stable buck, an outcast not by choice but by social dynamism. On a ranch full of white workers who want nothing to do with a black, crippled man, Crooks signifies discrimination. Crooks puts up a brave front, coolly protecting himself against everybody. Nonetheless, the reader can see a broken heart and a deep yearn for companionship. “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you” (Steinbeck, 73). Crooks finds solace in George and Lennie, but towards the end of the book the reader knows Crooks will always be a black stable buck, at the bottom of the social ladder of the ranch. Crooks has always been secluded from the other workers, so loneliness has overpowered his life, pushing him to the brink of desperation. By the end, he settles into bitter acceptance, knowing he will never be anybody’s equal and thus, will never have anybody he can truly count on.

Curley’s wife is the only female figure in the novel. She is oppressed and judged by everyone around her when all...
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