How does Steinbeck explore loneliness in Of Mice and Men?
John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men focuses on two ranch workers struggling to survive in the harsh socioeconomic climate of 1930s America. This climate was caused by the Great Depression, which was a result of the 1929 Wall Street crash. Because of this, many items dropped in price and became almost worthless. Many individuals who lost their jobs were forced to leave their communities and look for work around the country. These individuals started to develop feelings of loneliness, a main theme explored in the text using various techniques. Steinbeck also examines discrimination’s part in loneliness and the social effects of being lonely such as desperation and poor social skills. It is shown throughout the novel that loneliness also generates a feeling of helplessness with many side effects. Throughout the text, Steinbeck illustrates that discrimination is one of the main roots of loneliness. By using various literary techniques, the author shows that loneliness can be caused by the discrimination against the physical aspects of individuals. The characterisation of Crooks helps Steinbeck convey this idea in the form of racism. “S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ‘cause you were black,” Crooks says at one point, an effective use of dialogue that helps show that he is discriminated against just because of his colour. His crooked back symbolizes how heavily racism, and ultimately his loneliness, weighs on him. Because of his colour, Crooks “can’t turn to other guys,” and make sure he is alright. He starts feeling the mental effects of loneliness but he has nothing to measure it by. Because of the racism against him, Crooks is lonely. Steinbeck also uses the character of Curley’s wife to explore loneliness through sexism. Because of her gender she isn’t allowed to communicate with the other ranch workers, and she indicates her feelings through dialogue. “Why can’t I talk to...
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