Forced Isolation in Steinbeck's' Of Mice and Men

Topics: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Man Pages: 3 (984 words) Published: January 13, 2013
23 October 2012
Period 2
Forced Isolation
Everyone in their lifetime desires the comfort of a friend, but will settle for the attentive ear of a stranger. In the novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck shows how lonely people were during the 1930’s. He teaches a grim lesson about the nature of human existence, and how the characters in the story had to admit at one time or another to having a profound sense of loneliness and isolation. Although each character had their own secluded troubles, Curley’s wife, Crooks, and Candy, suffered the most from loneliness.

Curley’s wife is the only female character in the story who is never given a proper, and is only mentioned in reference to her husband. The men on the farm refer to her as a “tramp”, a “tart”, and a “looloo”, and she represents the temptation of female sexuality in a male-dominated world. Steinbeck depicts Curley’s wife not as a villain, but rather as a victim. Like the ranch-hands, she is desperately lonely and has broken dreams of a better life. For example, she tells Lennie, “I get lonely. You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley.” (95) This shows how aware she is about Curley’s insecurity, which causes her to converse with the other men in secret. Curley expects his wife to do as he tells her at all times, and expects her to isolate herself from everyone else and to only talk to him. In addition, Curley’s wife also adds after discovering where Curley had gone too “Think I don’t know where they all went? Even Curley?” (77) Curley’s wife despises the requirements and demands her husband has over her, fully knowing that Curley is unfaithful to her. Using this against her husband, Curley’s wife does the exact opposite of what he tells demands of her, and does as she wants whenever Curley isn’t around, and tries to have the guys understand that all she needs is a friend. Curley’s wife, being a woman, is expected to obey a man at all times, but since she is a free-spirited woman, she...
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