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How Does Steinbeck Present Loneliness and Isolation in Of Mice and Men(TM)?

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Introduction

How Does Steinbeck Present Loneliness and Isolation in 'Of Mice and Men'? 'Of Mice and Men' was first published in 1937 during the great depression and has had a great impact on workers in America since. Steinbeck got the name of the book from a line in a poem 'To a Mouse' by Robert Burns, the poem reads 'The best laid schemes o'Mice an' Men, gang aft agley, an' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain for promis'd joy!' meaning that The best laid schemes of mice and men, Go often wrong, And leaves us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy! This relates to the end of the book where George shoots Lennie, this is the part where it often wrong because the dream is no longer as big as it was. The book follows the journey of two workers, George and Lennie, travelling from Weed across America to the 'Tyler ranch' in Northern California. The book starts by using descriptive language to get a picture into the readers mind, 'Golden foothill slopes' Steinbeck makes America sound like the perfect paradise even with all the racism and discrimination around at that time, people still wanted to go there in order to achieve 'the American Dream'. The setting of Soledad I think, relates to Lennie, 'Golden foothill slopes curve up to the strong and rocky Gabilan mountains', this echoes Lennie's personality as he is calm and gentle ...read more.

Middle

I think George does feel lonely but in the way where he can't speak to anybody except for Lennie, George has boundaries for what he can talk to Lennie about in case he forgets it or doesn't understand. When they arrive on the ranch, George has a sense of relief when he confides in Slim and tells him what happened back in Weed and also tells him how he used to tease Lennie and that's how they ended up travelling together, George feels less isolated because now he has someone to talk to that understands what happened and he can let it all off his chest without snapping at Lennie. Candy is the oldest worker on the ranch, now no use to anyone due to an injury that occurred on the ranch, he has only one hand. Candy joins George and Lennie in the fight of achieving 'The American Dream' and gives them money for the farmhouse. 'S'pose I went in with you guys...how'd that be?' Candy starts to feel less lonely because George is at least considering it at this time, whereas the rest of the workers wouldn't even give him a chance to speak about dreaming of it. He doesn't feel so restricted of where he goes and who he talks to because he knows he isn't going to be there for much longer. ...read more.

Conclusion

The quote at the end of the book 'Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?' These are the very last words in the book and are spoken by Carlson. Carlson only comes into the book when things are linked to loosing family, he shoots Candy's dog and shows no sympathy towards him. This suggests that Carlson is a very lonely character because he doesn't know what it's like to love someone and loose them. Slim shows sympathy and compassion towards George, and looks after him. This suggests that Slim knows what its like to loose family, and I think that's how he ended up alone on the ranch, because he lost his family so he decided to try and achieve the American Dream of making something out of nothing. George has to let go and 'put down' his own family, by killing Lennie, he also kills the dream, not just his, but Candy's aswell. George is now not only alone, but has isolated himself from everyone even more. Crook's predictions have come true which is no surprise to him, he's been there for years and has seen loads of workers have the same dream, but never believed that them would achieve it. The end of the book is left open for you to believe what you want, if you want to believe George and Candy got the farmhouse or whether you think George stayed at the ranch, there is no right answer so you create your own ending. ...read more.

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