Of Mice and Men: How Characterization Shows Loneliness

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“Of Mice and Men”

The Great Depression took place in the United States in the 1930s. Northern California, Salinas Valley was affected by the Great Depression. Many farmers lost their properties and were forced to find other work. Banks were forced to foreclose on mortgages’ and had to collect debts. Hundreds of thousands of farmers packed up their families and few belongings, and headed for California. The Great Depression left many people in poverty and caused them to face unpleasant events. This is how life was like for the characters in Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men. Mostly all the characters in this novel suffered from loneliness. Some of the men desired to come together in a way that would allow them to be like brothers to one another. Given the harsh, lonely conditions under which the men live, it is no surprise that they idealize friendship between other men in such a way. In the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses characterization of dialogue and actions to show that everyone is lonely in some way even if they are surrounded by others.

John Steinbeck uses characterization to show that loneliness causes people to reveal their feelings through dialogue. When Curley’s wife walks into the farm, she sees Lennie and begins to talk to him. He tries to avoid her and she says “‘I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely’” (86). Curley’s wife has no one to talk to, and even Lennie tries to avoid her. Her words reveal that she is very lonely and even though there are so many people around her, nobody wants to talk to her. These words are significant because it shows how lonely she really is and how everyone tries to keep away from her because they know she causes drama and that she is married to Curley. George and Lennie also experience loneliness that they show through dialogue. As George and Lennie walk to the ranch together, George says, ‘“Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliness guys in the world. They got no family and...
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