Examining Loneliness in Of Mice and Men
In the United States, there are over 44 million people who are lonely and longing to connect with another living soul. Loneliness is a psychological disease that gradually consumes you, until you are left feeling empty and rejected from society. Psychologists believe that physical isolation, the death of a loved one, or low self-esteem are all contributing factors. Those who struggle with this disease may experience depression or drastic personality alterations. In the novella Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck conveys how adversity shapes character by illustrating that loneliness influences individuals to appear cold-hearted or detached. An idea Steinbeck develops is that without proper human interaction, it is difficult to fulfill your emotional needs. We see this when Curley’s wife confides in Lennie, “I don’ like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella.” (89). Curley’s wife does not receive the affection she desires from Curley, and in turn acts like a tart to get attention. Another example is when Crooks acts rudely towards Lennie. As a result of being ignored and taunted by the other ranchers, he does not handle social interaction well (68). In both of these examples, it is evident that loneliness has altered both Curley’s wife’s and Crook’s personalities. Their rejection from society has caused them to bottle up their emotions, which stimulates a craving for someone to confide in. Steinbeck’s usage of dialogue allows him to establish loneliness through the examination of inner feelings. The presented idea conveys that although people may seem jagged or rough, in actuality they are simply lonely. We are able to reflect on loneliness by putting ourselves in the character’s situation. Upon reading, readers can connect with the fictional characters on a deeper level, allowing them to resonate on their past experiences with loneliness, and how it may have affected them. This text connects to our modern day lives by illustrating the...
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