Of Mice and Men

9 September 2016

A person is always trying to find a bond with another person, but in this lonesome world that doesn’t always occur. When people are deprived of companionship, a lot of different effects happen in different people. The different situations that everyone is in can lead to different outcomes and can lead to people developing different personalities and different situations in life. This longing for companionship is a theme that is widely explored in the book in the book Of Mice and Men.

In this book, John Steinbeck uses the characters Crooks, Curley’s wife and Candy to show that loneliness is sadly a part of life that everyone has to fight against. By the use of characters Steinbeck shows how people are lonely. Crooks is a character that represents black people of the time and how they were mistreated and not cared for. “S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ‘cause you was black” (Page 72). In this quote he is talking to Lennie as he came into his room in the back of the barn.

Of Mice and Men Essay Example

The bunk house is where the rest of the characters sleep showing the distance between the rest of the characters and Crooks. He explains it himself and blames it on the prejudice that society has placed on him. By him mentioning playing rummy shows his need for companionship and interaction with other characters. Lennie’s reaction to this is ignorance, not intentionally on his part, he pays attention to other things that can only affect him showing how society has also ignored the issue of Crooks and the many people that might be going through the same situation.

A sense of wanting to belong to something other than yourself that comes with loneliness is also touched upon in the novel by the character Crooks. “…If you…guys would want a hand to work for nothing-just his keep, why I’d come an’ lend a hand” (Page 76). Crooks is telling Lennie and Candy he would also like to join them on their plan to buy a ranch. He says it hesitantly at first because he doesn’t want to get his hopes up thinking they will let him and then be let down by their rejection. He is willing to go anywhere life takes him because he doesn’t have an exact place he can call home.

Soon after George comes in and he mentions he was just kidding but in reality he wants to go with them and feel like for once in a long time he could feel like he belongs somewhere. After a while of this idea sinking into the mindset of the society, people become accustomed to and accept this unhappy way of being. “You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me” (Page 68). Crooks is accustomed to not having anyone near him and he puts his guard up.

The hostility he shows might be because of him resenting his situation and wanting to shy away from the prejudice that the rest of the characters might have for him. This is the author’s way of representing the kind of people that were ignored or looked down upon and since Lennie is a main character and were are almost represented by him because of his childlike view of the world. When Crooks tries to scare Lennie by saying George wouldn’t come back it represents Crooks wanting to be superior to society as a whole.

Although the black population at the time was having trouble with prejudice, another minority of people were also being repressed by society and in turn, loneliness takes into effect. The female population of the time was very repressed and a sense of male dominance was present. The character of Curley’s wife represents the treatment of women at this time. “You can talk to people but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody? ” (Page 87).

Curley’s wife here is talking to Lennie but he ignores this because he is too busy thinking about his rabbits so again she doesn’t really have anyone there to talk to her and listen which is what she really desires. It is obvious that she is extremely lonely. Curley also gets mad because she is very flirtatious. Curley was jealous the instant he saw Lennie because he is bigger than him showing Curley isn’t a nice person and his wife even admits to Lennie that he doesn’t like Curley, he isn’t a nice guy. “Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely” (Page 86).

In this quote it is like if she were crying for help. She sees a chance to rid herself of her loneliness and even tried to flirt with Lennie. George tells Lennie to not talk to her because Curley will find any excuse he can to fight him. So when he tries to ignore her she gets upset because she feels as if her being married to Curley stops people from talking to her. All of these feelings of loneliness and “An what am I doing? Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs- a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep- an’ likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else” (Page 78).

Here she is mad because she doesn’t want to be there but she really has no other choice. She mentions that she met a man who could have made her famous and put her in pictures, but she never got the letter from that man so she couldn’t live her dream, her explanation for never receiving a letter was blaming it on her mother. So she basically has nowhere else to go. She also talks to them in that manner because she was to feel more important than them. She calls them by those names to feel as if she is the boss of them and in a way she really is. She threatens to hang Crooks and he feels threatened soon afterwards.

This proves that her loneliness also comes from anger and resentment. Candy is a character that is used to symbolize all the elderly or all the people who couldn’t work because of a disability his being not having his right hand. The feeling of loneliness can make a person emotional and desperate to the point where death seems like a better option. When the character Candy says “When they can me here I wish’t somebody’d shoot me, but they won’t do nothing like that, I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs” (Page 60) the author embodies him as this desperation that many people have.

What makes his situation worse is that he is also old and handicapped and expresses his frustration in this quote as well. The author represents the difficulty of the older generation and the problems they have to do deal with all on their own. The desperation that the author is trying to represent in Candy is further heightened when he hears that George and Lennie want to get their own ranch. “I’d make a will an’ leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, ‘cause I ain’t got no relatives nor nothing”(Page 59). Candy offers George and Lennie all of his money so that he could go with them and live with them on the ranch.

The author further supports the idea of older and less fortunate in unfortunate situations with no one there to give them support. The loneliness that candy exhibits does a good job of conveying this and you end up feeling sorry for him. Only someone pushed to that level of loneliness and desperation is willing to give everything he owns to just have some companionship and feel a part of something bigger than himself. Although the author relates these ideas of loneliness and embodies them in the characters, the overall attitude of the novel also shows how loneliness was a common thing.

When the character candy says “A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ast no questions,” he shows the separation that people are used to having, isolating themselves from other people keeping themselves from bonding with other people and creating their own unhappiness. This theme is touched upon in the novel in many instances. When George and Lennie show up to the ranch together, the other ranchers find it odd that they’re traveling together because they’re used to seeing people traveling alone.

In Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck uses the characters Crooks, Curley’s wife and Candy to show that loneliness is sadly a part of life that everyone has to fight against. Steinbeck uses a clever way of making characters each represent a person or people in that time of depression. The novel works still today because the themes of loneliness are universal. Everyone in the end has to fight this and follow the examples of the characters in the story, and not become the one who is left out, the person who is repressed, and the old man who is alone in the world.

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