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Of Mice And Men Essay On Loneliness

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In the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck looks at the theme of loneliness as it affects many characters on the ranch. Crooks, Curley's wife, and Candy are the most excluded characters on the ranch, because they all have dreams that they will not be able to live out and they all are at loss when it came to companionship. Crooks is lonely because he is the only black man on the ranch. Since this book is set during the Depression, Jim Crow laws are still in effect, whites and blacks had separate facilities for socializing and living. Crooks comments that he can't live in the bunkhouse, and cant even play cards in there. "I cant' play because I'm black. They say I stink."(68) This quote illustrates that Crooks feels the pain of rejection more that he let's people see. In fact, Crooks protects himself by acting like a "proud and aloof man."(67) The full extent of Crooks's suffering is made clear in chapter 4 when Crooks lashes out at Lennie. Viewing Lennie as a symbol of all the white men who had hurt him, Crooks strikes out in anger, saying "You got no right to come in my room...Nobody got any right in here but me."(68) Steinbeck states that "Crooks's face lighted with pleasure in his torture."(71) Crooks's anger, though, is really just a cover for the pain he experiences from constant isolation. "A guy goes nuts if he aint got nobody ...
A guy gets too lonely and he gets sick."(73) This desire to have a connection is apparent later in the scene when
Crooks hears Lennie and Candy's plan to buy a little ranch.
Wistfully, he suggests, "If you guys want a hand to work for nothing, just his keep, why Id come and lend a hand."(76)
No matter how hard Crooks may try to hide the hurt he feels, he clearly would like to be included in this venture with the other men. Crooks's dream, however, lasts only for a few minutes. When Curley's wife threatens Crooks with a lynching, he quickly remembers the terrible reality of his situation . Steinbeck writes "Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego - his voice was toneless."(81) The character of Crooks reflects the universal need for human connection as well as the brutalizing effects of racial prejudice. Like Crooks, Curley's wife is very lonely, but she is lonely for different reasons. Like Crooks Curley's wife suffers from...

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...ion. But Candy gets some life back in him when he hears George and Lennie talking about their dream farm. Hearing this gives Candy a reason to live.
He would love to join George and Lennie on there farm and he even tells them that he'll give them money to help finance it "I aint't much good with on'y one hand. I lost my hand right here on this ranch...an' they give me two hunderd an' fifty dollars ‘cause I los' my hand. An' I got fifty more saved up right in the bank, right now...and I got fifty more more comin... S'pose I went in with you guys. Tha's three hundred an' fifty bucks I'd put in."(59) When George agrees to let
Candy jump on the wagon and join the farm, you can tell
Candy is extremely pleased. But with death of Lennie the dream of the farm dies to. Like the other characters Candy's dream was stolen from him. Candy's character was lonely because he needed human contact but his only companion was his dog which was killed. Loneliness affected many characters in John Steinbecks novel, Of Mice and Men.
Crooks, Curley's wife and Candy were affected the most by this loneliness because none of them had a real companion and all of them had dreams which were shattered.
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