Comparison Of Loneliness In John Steinbeck's 'Of Mice And Men'

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Something That Happened
It has been said that love is unconditional and perfect in that it conquers all and leaves nothig but love. A love like this can be found in true friendship, families, and sometimes, if lucky, marriage. However, in John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men, this perfect love is not seen in all of the characters but is instead replaced by loneliness. Steinbeck illustrates both of these extremes in his novel through the characters within the ranch of the town of Soledad, California. Loneliness manifests itself there in the lives of Curley, Curley’s wife, and Crooks. On the opposite hand, true companionship is found most obviously in Lennie Small and George Milton. It is apparent throughout the story that Steinbeck’s two
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This character is described as “the despairing old Negro stable worker” who “lives alone in the harness room, ostracized from the ranch hands” (Telgen). Because of the racial tensions during the Great Depression, it is natural that Crooks would be excluded from the rest of the ranchers. Not only is he African American, but he also has a crooked back from a horse’s kick, making him all that much different from everyone else. Crooks’ physical differences lead to his isolation and alienation from humans in general. As Fredrik Eliasson states, “While white people could hide their loneliness behind something, African-Americans seldom had anything to hide behind” (Eliasson 16). By saying this, Eliasson means that Crook’s loneliness was evident to everyone because he was not only mentally, but physically isolated. However, Lennie does not understand the concept of race because of his childlike mind and instead tries to be friends with Crooks. As Lennie talks to Crooks in the stable, Crooks realizes that all he really needs is a friend and opens up to Lennie entirely. Crooks says, “‘A guy needs somebody—to be near him.’ He whined, ‘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,’ he cried, ‘I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick’” (36). Through Crooks’ dialogue, he makes the theme evident. On the ranch, …show more content…
Steinbeck chose to symbolize the alienation of the only female character by not giving her a name other than Curley’s wife. Curley and his wife do not have a stable relationship because he does not allow her to talk to anyone but himself. However, it is seen that Curley’s wife flirts with all of the ranch hands to withstand her loneliness. Being depicted as a tart and promiscuous woman, the men on the farm do not look at her as a serious woman. It is also seen that “she is constrained by unjust social norms such as the normality of marriage and women being completely submissive to their husbands" (Attell). Curley’s wife, because of her poor relationship with Curley, feels trapped by these social norms which leads her to a life of alienation. This is seen most clearly when Lennie and Curley’s wife talk in the barn. Similar to the situation between Crooks and Lennie, Curley’s wife opens up to Lennie about her feelings and allows him to play with her hair because she is in desperate need for companionship. However, this friendship ultimately ends in disaster when Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife. When the men discover that Curley’s wife is killed, they do not stop to mourn the loss but instead go on a sudden mission to find who killed her. This climactic point in the novella shows that Curley’s wife is not accepted by the men on the ranch and that they view her as worthless; finding the man

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