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Discuss the theme of loneliness in the novel 'Of Mice and Men' by looking at the characters 'Crook, Candy and Curly's wife'.

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Introduction

Discuss the theme of loneliness in the novel 'Of Mice and Men' by looking at the characters 'Crook, Candy and Curly's wife' Loneliness plays an integral role in the novel and it is this theme, which effectively leads to the inevitable ending. Each of the characters mentioned in the essay title re-enacts different aspects of the definition 'loneliness'. Hence I will explore the way in which Steinbeck epitomises loneliness, using each of these characters. Crooks is depicted as a 'loner' due to his supposed unfortunate predicament of being born a 'nigger'. Despite this term being derogatory, it highlights the immediately low social stratum that black people occupied in a period where racism and segregation was prominent. ' The boss gives him hell when he's mad' Just because is black, he is at the receiving end of the boss; wrath, a white man. Crooks is described by Candy as a 'nice fella'. The reader is left to assume that the only Black character mentioned in the story is 'lonely', as the reader is almost oblivious of his presence. It is but for the initial reference to him and the re-emergence of his character in the middle section of the book that the reader is forced to remember. The idea of 'loneliness' with reference to Crook's character has two explanations. The primary reason for his loneliness is 'Cause [He's]... black'. Crooks is annihilated due to his race which in the period when the book was written, segregation was rampant. ...read more.

Middle

For a short while at least his cocoon of isolation seems to be disintegrating: ' It was difficult for Crooks to conceal his pleasure with anger' This narrative indicates that he is content, as he finally has human company, which he can interact with. The fact that 'Guys don't come into a coloured man's room very much' indicates that despite the solemnity he has become accustomed to, company is always welcome, after all 'A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody' The partial hope of escaping from his sombreness is probably what gives him enough courage to say to Curley's wife on her intrusion into his room, 'Maybe you better go to your own house'. Despite it being his own space, Crooks essentially relinquishes his non challenging role as a 'negro' and dares to question a white person's authority. Yes, he can dream, but Curley's wife throws reality back in his face when she relegates him back to the 'terrible protective dignity of a negro'. Crooks accepts that he will never be a white person's counterpart and concludes: ' You guys comin' in an' settin' made me forget. What she says is true.' Crooks forgot his place as a 'Nigger' and so 'had reduced himself to nothing...nothing to arouse either like or dislike'. Crooks is lonely and no one in the story truly understands his predicament. However the reader is forced to conclude, that his annihilation is what retains the fact that he is 'proud [and] aloof. ...read more.

Conclusion

She becomes so comfortable speaking with Lennie that it is this which leads to her death. She is so willing to poor out her heart, her disappointment and the fact that she is lonely, that Lennie gets attached. It is her sexuality which causes her death. She confides in Lennie admitting that '[she] don' like Curley'. So when Lennie starts to stroke her hair she does not mind initially, but this flirtatious act is what leads to her death. Lennie kills her involuntarily; yet this fate was inevitable. Each of these characters experienced their own forms of loneliness. It is quite interesting to note that each of the characters all end up in the same room, having been left out of the other activities which the men are indulging in: Crooks because he is black, old and cripple, Candy because he is old and disabled and Curley's wife as she is thought of as a sex object, not a person. Although she asks herself, ' An' what am I doin'? Staindin' here... a nigger an' ... a lousy ol' sheep. Yet she answers her own question when she says, ''They left all the weak ones here'. She actually does belong there as all characters are lonely in some way or another and have been excluded from the activities of the ranch. Is it not fair that they comfort each other? The reader understands that this is not possible, as they are not compatible with each other due to their different predicaments. Written By L Itam ...read more.

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