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

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The Theme of Loneliness in Of Mice and Men

In the novel, Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck used George and Lennie's relationship and the theme of hope to point out the loneliness in the novel. The novel starts off and is set in Soledad which means lonely. At the beginning they get a job working on a farm together. Lennie is a little retarded and has great physical strength that isn't too controllable. As they work from ranch to ranch, Lennie relies on George for guidance and help. Rather than wasting their earnings, they try to save it in the hope of buying a place of their own. While working at one ranch they meet a worker named Candy who tries to help them financially. Before their dream can be fulfilled, Lennie kills the wife of the boss's son. As the novel concludes George must kill Lennie for his own benefit. Later Lennie goes into town and abandons his dream by spending his money.

The main cause of George and Lennie's lonesomeness and that of all the people at the ranch was a lack of a home. The only thing that kept the two men going was their friendship with each other and the hope to soon get a place of their own. In the novel George and Lennie mention what their dream place is going to be like: "Someday we're gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a little house, and a couple of acres and a cow and some pigs and ---" (Steinbeck 16). Throughout the book the reference to having a place of their own is stressed. It is a deeper dream for Lennie than George because he is always asking to talk about it. It is here where the friendship between both men is starting to develop as they share the same basic dream.

In the early stages of the book it is brought to the rea...

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... Steinbeck's setting shows an act of a man's isolation and Soledad translated in English means loneliness. Steinbeck functions their friendship to point out the loneliness that is really there. "The influence of George and Lenny's mutual commitment, and of their dream has broken the grip of loneliness and solitude in which they exist" (Bloom 147). Even though they don't realize it there is a fear of being alone.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. John Steinbeck. Pennsylvania: Chelsea House Publishers, 1999.

French, Warren. in his John Steinbeck, Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1961, p. 190, in Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. 75, edited by Thomas Votteler, Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993.

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.

Votteler, Thomas. Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. 75, Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993.
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