Of Mice and Men- Loneliness and isolation

Topics: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Great Depression Pages: 4 (1317 words) Published: December 15, 2013
How is loneliness and isolation explored in Of Mice and Men? ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck is a novella comprising of many themes; the two most prominent are loneliness and isolation. The 1937 text explores the lives of itinerant individuals who strive to achieve their American Dream – “livin off the fatta the lan’”. Crooks, Curley’s wife, Candy, George and Lennie are such individuals who are isolated form the community on the ranch. Steinbeck indicated the alienation experienced by these characters through dialogue, description and inventive structural techniques. He created an overwhelming sense of the depressing environment that the migrant farmers faced during the Great Depression and Dustbowl.

A prime representation of loneliness and isolation in the novella is Crooks – ‘the negro stable buck’. In fact Crooks is a nickname, which suggests a deformity or difference. Steinbeck emphasises Crooks’ isolation by describing Crooks’ abode as a ‘little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn’. Sheds are not usually a place to live in and Steinbeck uses this sense of geographical isolation to show the physical distance between the bunkhouse (where the fellow ranch workers live) and his shed. It shows how the social shared space of the bunkhouse is not found in Crooks’ dwelling. Crooks is also discriminated by his fellow ranch workers which is shown by Slim and George’s conversation, “We let the nigger in one night’”. This implies Crooks is restricted access to some areas of the ranch. Crooks counters this problem my not allowing anyone in his shed. His rejection of friendship or companionship is caused by the anguish of his loneliness.

Crooks’ structure in the novella also hints the theme of loneliness. His main speech and part is confined in one chapter, with just brief appearances in the rest of the novella; this shows his character is undeveloped. Like al the characters he has the potential to grow and flourish however he is restricted due to...
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