How Does Steinbeck Present The Theme Of Isolation In Of Mice And Men

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¨Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world,¨ according to George Milton. Many laborers in agriculture during the Great Depression lead lives of isolation, moving from one job opportunity to the next without company. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, masterfully addresses both the isolation endured by those laborers and the sources of it. George Milton and Lennie Small are two ranch workers attempting to attain the American dream by saving up to purchase their own ranch. They seek to escape the same difficulty that plagues all of Steinbeck's characters: loneliness. The isolation that Steinbeck's characters suffer is not a result of their own choices, but a consequence of social barriers that cannot be disregarded. …show more content…
Unlike any other character in Of Mice and Men, Crooks is required under segregation to avoid socializing with the other people on the ranch. In the novel, Crooks laments, ¨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.¨ Being the only dark-skinned man on the ranch, Crooks has no one to socialize with. The white ranch workers do not share their living space with him, play cards or horseshoes with him, or speak with him for any prolonged amount of time. Crooks craves social fulfilment to the extent that he describes his lack of it as illness, but it unable to cure it. Institutionalized racism, rather than Crooks´ choices, confine him to a life of …show more content…
The one-handed, elderly man is spending his last working years swamping out the bunkhouse on the ranch. Candy says, on the night his dog is euthanized, ¨You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like that. I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs." Candy knows that when he can no longer perform well as a swamper, his working years are over. He is going to lose his only income, and he has no friends or family to support him, so when his career ends, so does his life. Candy is alone, in every significant sense of the word. When he learns of George and Lennie´s plan to buy a ranch, he offers, ¨S'pose I went in with you guys… I ain't much good, but I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some. How'd that be?" Candy is desperate to find a sense of family or community. As he ages, he needs someone he can rely on to take care of him, and he is willing to give back whatever he can. Unfortunately, when George and Lennie´s plans go astray, Candy is left reeling. No one is willing to get attached to him or care for him when he gets too old to work because he is seen as just another nearly-useless elderly man who is near to death, anyway. Candy is isolated because of ageism, not a lack of effort on his part.
The characters in the novel suffer from loneliness not

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