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

How does Steinbeck present the theme of loneliness in ‘Of Mice and Men’

Extracts from this document...


How does Steinbeck present the theme of loneliness in 'Of Mice and Men'? 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck, is set in mid-1930s America during the depression. This depression came as a shock to America after the 1920s 'boom-time'. The inspiration that Steinbeck drew upon is the troublesome times people were living through at that time. However, the characters in the novel are lucky in that they are working on a prosperous farm, despite millions actually being out of work at the time. In this essay, I will attempt to bring out key points referring to loneliness and how it affects the characters in the story. The novel is set in a place called Soledad, which incidentally means loneliness. The two central characters in the novel are George Milton and Lennie Small. The first chapter helps us get to know the characters well. George and Lennie are two workers who move from ranch to ranch in search of work and good pay. We know early on that they are currently between jobs, and are hitching lifts to their next job. They had to move on from the last ranch because of Lennie having touched a girl's dress, so they are on the run. George is quick-witted and intelligent. ...read more.


Whereas the ranch hands generally read magazines, he has the time - and the intelligence - to read proper books. Literature, after all, educates us, allows us to enter into other worlds, and fills our time profitably. He says, "A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin' books or thinkin'" The books actually show that Crooks is not inferior. If anything, they show that he has a superior intelligence. However, Crooks indicates the books also reflect his loneliness - he would like someone to talk to. So they also show how he is different and apart from the other workers on the ranch. He has long been the victim of oppressive violence and prejudice, this in itself leaves him separate from the rest of the group. Despite the persecutions, the other characters seem to secretly admire him "Jesus, how that nigger can pitch shoes." Then Slim replies "He's plently good," although they never complement him when he is around. Crooks does have rights, but many of them are abused and no-one does anything to enforce them. Crooks has trouble fitting in and making friends because of restrictions imposed on him by the boss - he is only allowed in the bunkhouse at Christmas. Crooks' character is bored with life and only wishes to be equal with white people, like he seemed to be as a child, and he only now realises why his father despised his white friends as a child. ...read more.


She does. Eventually killed by her own loneliness, she dies violently at the same strong hands as the mice, the dog and Curley's hand. Candy then stumbles upon the body, he knows it was Lennie and realises the trio's dream is finished. He gets George who knows he must reach Lennie before Curley and the other ranch-hands, so he can help Lennie escape the violence that would ensue if he didn't catch him in time. An alternate way of life is sought by the characters, motivated by their loneliness, this is one of the reasons they drift from ranch-to-ranch, they are continually searching. They do this, often without knowing what they are really looking for. Characters are also lonely because of something within themselves, something that almost seems to make their loneliness inevitable. Different characters seek comfort in different things - for Candy it is his dog; for George and Lennie it is each other; for Crooks it is his pride and skill at things like pitching horseshoes. For them, it is an unending journey moving from place to place, the same jobs, the same routines, different people. Sadly, they never stay in one place long enough to make friends or settle down. Many dream of getting a ranch of their own, but it will never happen as long as they take their pay every month and go into town and waste all they have earned on one night of recreation. ...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. How does Steinbeck explore the theme of loneliness in 'Of Mice and Men' and ...

    Curley's wife told them that she gets lonely having to 'stick in that house alla time', so she wanted to 'talk to somebody'. The fact that Steinbeck put in that only the 'weak ones' were left back showed that Curley's wife had no one else to talk to and they were her only option.

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

    Candy is no longer a significant within society, he serves as an observant outsider, he is old and is now even lonelier after the killing of his only friend, his dog. As I said earlier Steinbeck has linked Candy and his dog very closely and similar, both old and no longer any use.

  1. How does John Steinbeck use George as a symbol of good friendship in ...

    Crooks Character Analysis In John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, the character named Crooks was segregated from the other men because he is black. This caused him to be lonely. He was forced to sleep in a separate bunk than the others.

  2. 'All characters in the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ are either lonely, bored or ...

    This is the situation Crooks is in. However he is the only coloured person at the ranch, so he has to accept all racial comments on his own. He has his own separate room, which isn't even a room it is a shed that leans off the side of the barn wall.

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

    Candy lives at the ranch. He is very old and his only companion is his dog. His dog means a lot to Candy. They are very alike, both old and crippled. Candy's had his dog since he was a pup.

  2. Comparison between the portrayal of women in ‘The Ostler’ by Wilkie Collins and in ...

    His mother writes the details down so that she doesn't forget them. His mother seems to be a suspicious women who believes the dream had a deeper significance and that it was a prophecy that Isaac would one day be killed by the women of the dream.

  1. This essay will focus on the theme of loneliness in the novel 'Of Mice ...

    The idea of food falling out of the mouth is a very child like, it is something that babies and toddlers do and it is not associated with adults. Lennie appears to be in his own world and he doesn't need to talk all of the time to keep him

  2. How does Steinbeck present the theme of loneliness in 'Of Mice and Men'?

    Lennie is lonely in the sense that there is no one who is as simple-minded as he is, he does not realise this, as he is too busy playing with his pup. When George and Lennie first arrive on the ranch, they are met by Candy.

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