Of Mice and Men (Theme of Loneliness)

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‘Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family – They don’t belong no place.’ Discuss how the theme of loneliness and belonging is portrayed by the characters in the novel.

Ranch workers, as George says, are the loneliest people in the world. This loneliness is openly portrayed in the novel. Their lives do not allow them to form any close friendships – allowing them to want a friend to comfort them. George and Lennie are partly an exception in this loneliness. Lennie, due to his mental capability, has never felt loneliness. This is mainly because George has always been with him. George has also not felt lonely before because he has Lennie for companionship. “Guys like us, that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place…” (p.15). “With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar-room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.” “But not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.” (p.15 – 16). Nearing the end of the novel, as George is about to shoot Lennie, he retells him of their life together in the future, knowing at the same time that it can never become a reality anymore. Reciting the story and dream of the farm once more, is a surrender to the fact that it will never happen and that his life ahead will be lived in loneliness. Lennie has always been the one that set George apart from being any other common ranch worker, but with him gone, he is nothing more than a worker on a ranch.

Candy is an old man that is almost of no use to the ranch anymore. He is very fond of his sheepdog that is just as old, useless and crippled as he is. Candy is attached to his dog just as Lennie and George are attached...
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