Mother Theresa (1910 – 1997) once said, ‘‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.’’ Without friends and companions, people begin to suffer from loneliness and solitude. Loneliness is an inevitable fact of life and cannot be avoided, as shown prevalent through particular characters in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Most of the characters in this novel exhibit loneliness and the only thing that keeps them alive are their dreams. Although they are all on the ranch together, they are lonely because of who they are and their history. The author further reinforces this theme through subtle methods by situating the story near the town of Soledad, which means ‘solitude or loneliness’ in Spanish. This helps to support the theme of a man's isolation and need for companionship.
Crooks is isolated for being the only black cripple 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 socialising and living. The full extent of Crooks's suffering is made clear 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." (Pg 67 & 68). In fact, Crooks protects himself by acting like a "proud, aloof man." (Pg 67) and his anger is just a disguise for the pain he experiences from constant isolation as “his face lighted with pleasure in Lennie’s torture." (Pg 71).
But when Crooks tells Lennie; "I can’t play because I'm black. They say I stink." (Pg 68), this illustrates that Crooks feels the pain of rejection more than he reveals. When Crooks says to Lennie "A guy ...
... middle of paper ...
...ick due to the constant isolation. Since Steinbeck associates Candy with his dog, I think he will die in a similar way. It is obvious that all the ranch workers will die a sad and lonely death, mainly because they had no true friends.
After reading this book, I believe true friendship is what gets you through the bad times and helps you enjoy the good times and that everybody needs a friend for companionship to prevent the suffering of loneliness and isolation.
‘‘A true friend is the greatest of all blessings…" Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680).
John Steinbeck (2001) Of Mice And Men,
Martin Stephen (2002) York Notes on “Of Mice And Men”,