English Controlled Assessment
Question: Explore the methods Steinbeck uses to demonstrate the effects of isolation on people in Of Mice and Men
“You’re all scared of each other that’s what.” This quote is one of the main points of John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice And Men, the effect of isolation on human beings, and specifically the culture of our nations that forces people to be isolated. Steinbeck almost immediately sets the course of the book with his setting, the 1930’s depression was an awful time for the world, money was low, work was scarce and throughout all of the major nations there were many people who would have to go hungry and unemployed. America was specifically hit hard by this depression and many workers had to move in-between jobs and travel across country through numerous different states to find work. These workers were known as itinerant labourers and generally travelled alone. This is why it is strange for Lenny and George to be travelling together to find work and makes them stand out from the rest of the workers who “…get their bunk for a month, and then they quit and go out alone.”
Steinbeck also makes the location of the novel very focused around the theme of isolation, for instance it is a ranch miles away from anything with a couple farm hands isolated from the rest of the world, set to a back drop of the Gabilan Mountains that cut them off from other human interaction. This is not to mention the fact that the name of the nearby town, Soledad, actually means lonely place when translated from its original Spanish. With the other factors throughout the book about loneliness it almost seems fitting for Steinbeck to literally send his main characters into loneliness
There are many other contributing factors to the theme of loneliness, Crooks the stable buck is a good example. From very early on the book Crooks is considered as nothing more than just a “Nigger” by the other farm hands and is hardly ever called by his real name....
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