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Consider the theme of loneliness

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L5 Karly Wai 5/9/00 Consider the theme of loneliness Steinbeck employs character are restrained by the "rules" of society and through them, to convey the characteristics of American society in the 1920s:a society based on physical strength and individualism. The unusual pair, Lennie and George, seemed incongruous in their situations and by comparing and contrasting their relationship to the others, the reader is given a further understanding to the theme. The entire novel is full of references to this theme. In Soledad, also the Spanish word for loneliness, situates the ranch where the majority of the story is set. It is an ordinary ranch with ordinary people doing monotonous, meanual work such as "bucking barley". The nature of this work suggests the kind of lifestyle the characters on the ranch lead. The ranch also represents a microcosm of the outside world. Here in this close community, a range of characters, each identify by their own personality, are required to work closely together inorder to achieve their own, individual dreams. When George and Lennie first enters the ranch, they are greeted by "an old swamper" by the name Candy. A fragile old man with only one hand, he is used by Steinbeck to demonstrate the cruelty of society towards elderly and the disabled. In a society that emphasis physical strength, Candy is clearly at a disadvantage. ...read more.


This warning is a pre-echo to the trouble Lennie will get in for her later on in the story, a build up to the final tragedy at the end. Even at first sight she gave the reputation of a "tramp" and "jail-bait". At a primary level, her action can be explained by boredom and experiment. She is the only in the ranch and clearly has no one to relate. However, from her past experience, Steinbeck implies that Curley's wife dream about being in the movies all day. By flirting and making sexual suggestive message to others, she attempts to achieve the glamorous and danger feel of affair that she imagined they do in the movies. An alternative explanation to her action would be that she is another victim of loneliness, desperate to establish relationship with others. She dislike Curley for when Curley crushed his hand she even suggested to Lennie that she would have liked to done it herself. When she eventually discovers that Lennie is a good "listener", she unburdens herself with "words in a passion of communication, as though she hurried before her listener could be taken away". She is a highly ambivalent character because although the reader feels sympathetic towards her for her past "cast- couch" experience, her seduction that lead to the murder at the end is almost entirely her fault. ...read more.


Apart from Lennie, Slim appears to be the only one who George is willing to confide. During the talk, they touch on the subject of loneliness, a sensation that grins a normal, respectable person to nothing but "a mean guy who wants to fight all the time". In this part of the novel, George explains his relationship with Lennie and why they had traveled together. In a deeper sense, the phrase "got kinda used to each other" implies a long-term relationship which neither of the can live without now. Other minor characters in the novel such as Carlson and Whitney represent transaline people who best demonstrate the majority of the society at the time. They "ain't got no people" so they move around the country as Crook states: "they come, an' they quit an'go". Their life style is monotonous and "they ain't have no fun". Their few entertainments include the horseshoe game and cards, which again are reference to competition and individualism. Nonetheless, it is only in these games they make allowance for their guard and relax into the company of each other. In conclusion, Steinbeck presentation of the theme of loneliness is reflected in the actions of his character. Although desperate to make contact, their concern for reputation and nature of the machismo culture in society isolate them from one another. The end tragedy then attracts sympathy from the reader by shattering the hope of few exceptions that appeared to have survived. ...read more.

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