What is it that makes people want to scream, or snap at anyone who tries to talk to them when they are lonely? How can prolonged loneliness change a person? In John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, several characters face this problem. The story is about two men, living in Salinas Valley during the Great Depression. The two men, George Milton and Lennie Small, travel from ranch to ranch as migrant workers looking for work, after having to leave their previous job due to Lennie getting in trouble with the law. George has made many sacrifices for Lennie, but anything is better than the loneliness they see in other ranch workers. Steinbeck argues that when people are lonely, they become mean, and act in desperation.
Being lonely causes people to turn mean and cranky, those subject to loneliness are prone to treat others cruelly, and have the urge to fight constantly. George realizes this, and talks to Slim, another one of the ranch workers there, about why he and Lennie travel together, and how he does not want to end up all alone. He tells Slim about the ranch workers he has seen passing through various ranches, and says “‘I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin’ to fight all the time’”(41). The men that travel between ranches alone, have no one to confide in, or keep them company, so after a while they become so used to being alone, that they just snap at people, and think everyone is cruel, so there is no point in being nice. Since they have no one who is there for them, they end up picking fights with everyone, thinking the whole world is against them. This idea is demonstrated in the book by Crooks. Crooks...
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... time. She is desperate for company, so she ends up talking to the only people around. Candy, and Curley’s wife demonstrate how people act in desperation when they are lonely.
Through his novel, Steinbeck shows how loneliness can cause people to turn hostile, and constantly want to fight because they have no one to really talk to, they also act desperately due to their loneliness, and do things they normally wouldn’t. Loneliness can have terrible effects on people’s behavior, but it can be fixed. All that is necessary is a kind and patient friend willing to bridge the gap and bring the lonely person out of their misery, giving them someone to talk to and to confide in. If those people had someone there for them, they would no longer feel like screaming, or snapping at anyone who tries to talk to them, and they would go back to being happier, more content people.
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