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John Steinbeck's Compassion for the Loneliness and Isolation Suffered by Ordinary People in Of Mice and Men

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John Steinbeck's Compassion for the Loneliness and Isolation Suffered by Ordinary People in Of Mice and Men

The Great Depression was the worst and longest economic collapse in
the history of the modern industrial world, lasting from the end of
1929 until the early 1940's. The Depression was caused by a number of
serious weaknesses in the U.S. economy. The lingering effects of World
War 1 caused economic problems in many countries, as Europe struggled
to pay war debts and reparations. These problems contributed to the
crisis that began the Great Depression. The unstable economy and the
uneven distribution of wealth led the American economy to collapse.

Factories closed, banks failed and unemployment soared. Agricultural
areas suffered too. As the price of crops fell some farmers could not
repay their loans and their homes and land were taken from them. Those
who had managed to stay afloat then faced a natural disaster. A long
period of drought had reduced the soil to little more than dust in
some areas. High winds then blew the top layer of soil away just
leaving the exposed rock and grit below. The land was barren and
worthless. Consequently, the homesteads were boarded up and these
families went on the road like so many millions of others, in search
of work. As there was so much unemployment and competition for jobs,
men saw each other as competition, this conveys a sense of loneliness
and isolation that friendship would be a luxury so one would not be
able to have companionship. This is shown in 'Of Mice and Men' as
everyone believes that George and Lennie travelling 'together' is
strange.

John Steinbeck can relate to this as he...


... middle of paper ...


...makes her seem even
more tragic and isolated.

But the ultimate isolation, throughout the whole novel, is when George
shoots Lennie. George knows, that when he does this he will be like
"every other guy" out there as he explained before. " 'Guys like us
that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world.'" He makes
a massive and terrible sacrifice for Lennie. He will no longer have
companionship, but he will not have the burden of Lennie anymore.

Steinbeck shows great compassion for the isolation and loneliness of
each and every character in the novel, especially George but also
Crooks is a very big part of isolation too. As Steinbeck travelled
himself, he understands what they went through and explains perfectly
what it is like for each of them. He makes the reader sympathise with
every single character.


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