Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

1162 Words5 Pages
Published in 1937, John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men revealed the sense of profound loneliness that some 1930’s temporary ranch workers experienced. The characters’ sense of loneliness, brought about the characters isolation from others around them. Many of Steinbeck’s characters depict loneliness and hide the fact they are lonely from those around them. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, many Americans felt a sense of hopelessness, both personally and economically, due to the Stock Market crash in October of 1929. Many farmers lost income and faced another tragedy when, in 1935, the Midwest was turned into the Dust Bowl. When a severe drought hit the Midwest, strong winds blew the top soil away, leaving the ground severely damaged. Of Mice and Men as portrayed a realist piece, relating the setting and the challenges the characters face to the time period that characters are living in. During this time period, many migrant workers, traveled all over the United States in search of good paying jobs that would provide a sense of stability to their lives. The characters of Crooks, Curley’s wife and the disabled ranch hand Candy, each portray a sense of isolation and loneliness because each is uniquely different from the other characters living on the ranch. By focusing on discrimination due to race, Steinbeck formed the character of Crooks as one of the loneliest characters on the ranch. Because Crooks was black, many people on the ranch considered him to be a “nigger” and therefore, only good enough to work on the ranch as a stable buck. In addition, the deformity of Crooks’ back does not allow him to work alongside the other workers in the fields, thereby starving him of an opportunity for human contact. Bitter from all of the year... ... middle of paper ... ...eorge’s “American Dream” sensing that it was too good to be true. For them, their lives were a constant reminder that they were different from those on the ranch and would never be accepted due to either the color of their skin or their disability. Although, Curley’s wife lived among the ranch hands, she felt lonely as she was ignored by them and by her husband. Because she was the only woman living on the ranch, she didn’t have another woman to talk to or confide to. In order to compensate, she was flirtatious to those men working on the ranch, causing them discomfort thereby isolating her even more. Steinbeck’s portrayal of loneliness in each of these characters lays uncovered by their need to feel accepted and their sense of loss when they are not with others. Works Cited Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York, New York: Penguin Group, 1937. Print.
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