• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Steinbeck explore the theme of loneliness in 'Of Mice and Men' and why is this theme so important?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Steinbeck explore the theme of loneliness in 'Of Mice and Men' and why is this theme so important? Loneliness plays a key role in this moving story of the lonely and dispossessed. Each character has a different element of loneliness, yet they all join together and portray the main image of the book: the hardship faced by ranch workers in the 1930's. The ranch itself is in Soledad, in California's Salinas Valley. Steinbeck purposely used this location as the name Soledad in Spanish translates as 'loneliness'. This is showing the beginning of the lonely journey that George and Lennie were headed towards. Each man on the ranch keeps himself to himself and 'Hardly none of the guys ever travel together' because of the lack of trust work men had towards each other. So when George and Lennie arrive, the Boss suspects George to be 'sellin' him out' and stealing Lennies' wages. This proves that men on the ranch didn't have friends, they are 'the loneliest guys in the world', they just find work and move on 'poundin' their tail on some other ranch'. George tells Lennie of the kind of people on the ranch on their journey. They are the 'loneliest people in the world'. Lennie understands this and tells George that this doesn't apply to them because they 'got each other'. Steinbeck has used George and Lennie in this novel to show the rarity of a pair of workers. ...read more.

Middle

This is because he is one of the typical workers that lack in trust. Candy seems stumped and looks to for 'help' from the others. He tries to put off the idea by suggesting they do it 'tomorrow', he is desperate not to loose his only companionship. When Carlson leaves Candy lies on his bed and stares 'at the ceiling', showing his depression and helplessness and new found loneliness. Candy tries to close this gap which had come from the departure of his dog by latching onto George and Lennie's dream. He asks to 'hoe the garden' and maybe 'cook'. Another expression of loneliness in the novel is the 'negro', 'stable buck' Crooks. He hasa 'lean face' and a 'crooked spine'. He is not introduced till late in the novel which maybe shows his lack of importance on the ranch. Crooks has 'nobody', Steinbeck puts only one 'nigger' in the book to show the relationship and hard racism between white people and black people. The fact that the others know him as 'the nigger' showed how common racism was then. Crooks is by far the loneliest worker on the ranch. He has a 'bunk', a 'little shed that leaned of the wall of the barn'. Crooks 'kept his distance' from the others, and 'demanded that [they] kept theirs'. The others new him as the 'nigger' that reads 'books'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This represents her desperate loneliness. This lack of friendship led to her sudden death, she 'can move quiet' and no one really knows or cares were she is. So when she went to visit Lennie while the 'guys' had a 'horseshoe tenement goin' on' no one noticed. Lennie warned Curley's wife that he was not 'to have nothing to do' with her', she 'laughed' it off. She told Lennie that she gets 'awful lonely' and that she 'can't talk to nobody but Curley'. she trusted in Lennie and she told him of her past and how she could have 'made somethin' of [her] self'. She 'moved closer to Lennie' and let him stroke her 'soft and fine' hair. This shows how little she knew about Lennie before she let him touch her, and how badly she wanted a companion. All this desperation for friendship led to her death. Steinbeck has configured these characters out of loneliness, and I think this portrays the main theme. Steinbeck uses these characters to show the reader that lonleliness was all that the ranch wokers had in life and this is why the theme of the novel is so important. Steinbeck also uses happiness like 'husband' and 'each other' but he doesn't stray far from the theme. Steinbeck has captured life in this novel, and told us of the many hardships men and women faced during life in the 1930's. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How is the theme of racism and loneliness shown through the character of Crooks ...

    3 star(s)

    This gives the impression that Crooks is a skilled worker, but still has no respect on the ranch, and Crooks has a dictionary which leads us to believe that he is intelligent. Also the California civil code means he knows he has rights but the irony is that he has

  2. How does John Steinbeck present the theme of loneliness in his novel 'Of Mice ...

    And she is left happy and trouble-free. As I have said Lennie and George have a very close relationship. George has an astute mind, with sharp eyes and a quick tongue. In the novel, he is described as 'small', 'strong' and 'slender'. He is very intelligent and quick to react.

  1. Compare the Ways in which John Steinbeck and Thomas Hardy Explore the Theme of ...

    Lennie wishes to care for his own creatures, his rabbits. He loves to hear every word of them that he can get, and George loves to tell them to him - so obsessed and incensed are they with merely

  2. Why I think Candy was added by John Steinbeck to his book

    'I didn't mean it jus' foolin. I wouldn't want to go no place like that.' Curlys wife is always trying to get attention. The workers know she's trouble and keep their distance. She's referred to as a 'bitch', 'Poison', 'jail bail' and a 'rat-trap'.

  1. Consider the theme of loneliness in the novel, 'Of Mice and Men'. How does ...

    He also gives them the opportunity to get more money for their dream by offering all his money he has saved up: 'That's three hundred, and I got fifty more comin' at the end of the month.'

  2. Of Mice and Men. Explore the theme of the American dream and importance ...

    have many farm animals especially lennie he is really interested in having lots of rabbits to tend and chickens, a quote to show this dream is" All kin's a vegetables in the garden, and if we want a little whisky we can sell a few eggs or something, or some milk.

  1. How does the theme of loneliness affect the friendship and relationships in "Of Mice ...

    it, so he brings it in but the other men kick him out. Carlson says, "God almighty that dog stinks. Get him outta here, Candy! I don't know nothing that stinks so bad as an old dog. You gotta get him out!"

  2. How does Steinbeck explore different attitudes to women in Of Mice and Men?

    Curley?s wife?s mother symbolizes the possessive mother who wants her daughter to comply with the rules of early 20th century of being a wife and being submissive to the husband she was belonging to. She is, also, a protective mother who worried she was ?on?y fifteen? and too young to have an independent life.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work