Use of Characters to Portray Loneliness in John Steinback's "Of Mice and Men"

Topics: Of Mice and Men, Great Depression, John Steinbeck Pages: 4 (1600 words) Published: August 24, 2013
“Of Mice and Men” is a novella written in 1937 by John Steinback and is set during the 1930’s outside Soledad in Southern California. The novella takes place against the backdrop of “The Great Depression”, which was a result of the Wall Street crash in the world’s stock markets- a disaster that shook many people and caused them to lose their jobs. The Great Depression John Steinback being a naturalist writer, focuses on the lower class itinerant workers and the difficulties of having to travel great distances to find jobs at different ranches. He also focuses on the real-time problems that the people then faced. One major problem or issue that many of them faced was loneliness. Loneliness is a recurring theme throughout the entire book that is highly reflective of the point of time in which the novella was written. Despite the fact that all of the characters are very different from one another in terms of personalities and other aspects, they all share a common trait: Loneliness. This was a major problem because at that time, the migrant workers never stayed in one place long enough to form permanent relationships with the other people. Even if such relationships existed, it would be a high probability that they would be destroyed by the demands of the itinerant life. Many of the characters have admitted to suffering from profound loneliness that it affects the behaviours and thoughts of the characters and Steinback seems to show that it is natural and an inevitable result of the kind of life they are forced to lead. “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya... I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.” One of the characters that Steinback clearly uses to develop his theme of loneliness would be Crooks. Crooks is the only African American migrant worker on the ranch, so Steinback uses him to represent how the African Americans were treated as a whole during that time. He works as a...
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