Theme of Loneliness in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men


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Theme of Loneliness in Of Mice and Men

 

In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and the poem "Eleanor Rigby" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, many of the characters are experiencing loneliness. When people feel lonely their way of lifestyle are different then that of someone's who's not lonely or them if they were not lonely. Also because they are lonely their actions are different. They portray this in both the novel and the poem.

 

The effects of loneliness on people are displayed in the novel Of Mice and Men through the character of Curley's Wife. As stated, when people feel lonely their actions and way of life are affected. In the plot they show that if it wasn't for Curley's Wife's loneliness she may not have died the way she did. Because she is so lonely she goes to the other men in the bunkhouse for company. When all of the men refuse to spend time with her because of the reaction Curley has on this, she goes to the one person on the ranch that she knows will talk to her, the mentally retarded man, Lennie. While talking to him she asks him to feel her hair, which he does and this leads to her death by breaking her neck. If it wasn't for Curley's Wife's loneliness, she would have never gone to Lennie for company and she wouldn't have died on that day in that way. Because this happens in the novel and there are so many other lonely characters in the novel, such as Curley, Candy, Crooks and George in the end, the theme of the novel Of Mice and Men is loneliness and the need for companions.

 

The affects of loneliness on people are displayed in the poem "Eleanor Rigby" through the characters of Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie. Through figurative language they show that Eleanor Rigby is very lonely and that she never sees many people. They say "Waits at the window wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door, who is it for?" Through this they show that everyday she puts on makeup, a face, that no one will see because she is lonely.

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Also when they say "Where a wedding has been, she lives in a dream". This implies that it is her dream to get married, yet she never has and probably never will. Also through the character of Father McKenzie, they show that he is also like Eleanor Rigby very lonely. They say "writing the words of a sermon, that no one will hear, no one comes near". This shows that because of his position in the church and his lifestyle, he doesn't have many friends. His sermons are probably not well written enough to keep the attention of many of the people. Also maybe because of his position in the church, he frightens people from becoming close to him. The theme of this poem is that if Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie met one another, then they wouldn't have been so lonely and Eleanor Rigby would not have only "been buried with her name".

 

Between the novel Of Mice and Men and the poem "Eleanor Rigby" there is a controlling idea about loneliness in people's lives established. The idea is that no matter what the situation is, there is always a need for a companion. As shown through the characterization in the poem and in the novel, there is a unity showing how there is always a need for a human or even an animal companionship. Also the poem and the novel both, through either plot, figurative language and/or metaphors, show the main theme of this essay, loneliness and how people's lives and actions are significantly affected if they are experiencing loneliness.

 

In conclusion, when people are experiencing loneliness, their actions, as well as their way of life is altered. Also some problems and changes are caused by loneliness. And as seen in the novel Of Mice and Men and in the poem "Eleanor Rigby", it is proven that humans have a common need for companionship.

 


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