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

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John Steinbeck 's Of Mice and Men In the novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck establishes an evident contrast between the individual men who work on the ranch and lead solitary lives, and the two main characters, George and Lennie, who function as a family unit and share a common dream. Steinbeck effectively develops the theme of loneliness and alienation through the use of other characters as representations of minorities. The theme is used as motivation for many of the character’s actions. This leads up to the novels ironic resolution that may be viewed as a suggestion of Steinbeck’s philosophy about life and living.

The novel begins in a utopic setting and within the first chapter
George tells of the dream he and Lennie share. The opening
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It is within each other that
George and Lennie find the strength to work together and strive for their paradise. They are not only considered a family unit because they stick together but George also functions as a parental figure for
Lennie. Due to his disability, Lennie is not capable of leading a productive life without some form of example and like a child, he mimics George’s actions and speech patterns. He also constantly tries to impress him and attempts to achieve his appreciation and affection.

Curley’s wife is the loneliest of any individual on the ranch as she is not only secluded from everyone by her husband but she is also the sole female on the ranch and has no contact with the outside world.
Although she is able to roam the ranch, Curley is always on the lookout for her to be around the men and does not allow her to spend much time alone with them and prohibits her from speaking to them.
Curley’s status, rather than size, intimidates the ranch workers so they choose to shun his wife and make her feel unwanted. Steinbeck does not even give her a name but simply refers to her as Curley’s wife throughout the entire novel, making her seem more like a possession instead of an individual with her own
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Crooks has a rigid exterior as a result of his treatment and segregation; however, “a guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody” (72) so, even Crooks is appreciative when someone spends time with him and it is through kindness that this tough exterior can be penetrated.

Candy is the eldest worker on the ranch and only has the use of his left hand. He “lost [his] hand right here on this ranch. That’s why
[they] gave [him] a job swamping” (59). Although he stays in the bunkhouse with the ranchers, Candy is still alienated from them as he is older and disabled. Candy’s only true companion is his dog. The other workers do not like his dog as they say, “that dog stinks. Get him outa here, Candy!” (44) but they eventually convince him to allow
Carlson to “shoot him for you” (45). By killing the one entity that
Candy related to and found comfort in, his loneliness is reinforced.

Candy not only lives a lonely life but also lives with the fear of getting too old because he knows that “They’ll can [him]

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