To What Extent Is "Of Mice and Men" More Effective Than Rainman in Giving Us Understandings of Loneliness and Friendship?

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Steinbeck's novel "Of Mice and Men" cannot accurately be compared in effectiveness of its themes with the movie Rainman. The importance of each theme differs in both- in Steinbeck's novel, loneliness is the most dominant theme, and in Rainman the major theme is friendship. Levinson and Steinbeck both do a brilliant job at showing the major themes in both materials to the greatest of their potential, and the minor themes are somewhat overpowered because of this.

One extremely clever way that Steinbeck has more effectively conveyed the theme of loneliness to the reader is by never letting the characters develop or change in "Of Mice and Men". Very early in the novel we are introduced to George and Lennie as they are about to start new jobs on the ranch. The reader is made aware directly that Lennie has a mental disability, and really has no attachment to anyone or anything except George. Throughout the novel, this fact never changes. Lennie's disability never alters, and he only cares for George. George is also never developed in the story. He feels greatly burdened by the responsibility of caring for Lennie. On page 7, he says, "I could get along so easy and nice if I didn't have you on my tail." George almost wishes that he could lead a normal life; not the one he's living now. This mindset of wishing for more than he has continues throughout the novel. As well as wishing to not have to look after Lennie, he and Lennie share a common wish- to one day own their own land. Although George is a lot less enthusiastic (and a lot more realistic) about achieving this, he still longs for it. It's still something he hopes can be accomplished in his lifetime. Through the main characters thinking and acting the same for the course of the story, it doesn't give the reader any window of opportunity to bond or become closer to them- therefore escalating the overall feeling of loneliness much more effectively than Rainman does. The character development in...
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