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In what ways is “Of Mice And Men” a novel about loneliness? With reference to at least two other characters, show how Steinbeck explores this theme in the novel.

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Introduction

In What Ways Is "Of Mice And Men" A Novel About Loneliness? With Reference To At Least Two Other Characters, Show How Steinbeck Explores This Theme In The Novel. All the way through the novel, Steinbeck uses loneliness to draw parallels and comparisons between characters. For example, the relationship between George and Lennie is similar to the relationship Candy has with his dog. The dog is useless like Lennie is dumb, in the world they live in, there is no need for them but in a similar way Candy, Lennie, Crooks and Curley's wife share one thing and that's the isolation, they have from everyone else on the ranch. From the beginning of the novel, it is clear that although George and Lennie are exact opposites, even though neither of them seems to be able to live without the other, even though George would be able to get along without so much trouble, Lennie is what sets him apart from the stereotypical virtues of a drifter. It is because they travel together though which the other men like the Boss who says it is suspicious and consider it very unusual, this is shown in what they say, "I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy" The boss even suspects that George is taking Lennie's pay for himself. However, this is not the case, although at the beginning of the novel it is unclear exactly what George's motives are for caring for Lennie. ...read more.

Middle

For example, he reveals no shame, only amusement when he recalls, "we had fun...we woulda killed the nigger." This shows the cruel streak that has developed in him. It also suggests that there is a relish in seeing someone else as victim. After the death of his dog, Candy, aware that his dog was killed partly due to him being "old" and "useless" realises that he may shortly be facing a similar fate. It is the dream that therefore offers Candy a hope of survival, as he knows that otherwise he will soon get "canned". In the same way, Curley's wife also bears in her heart a shattered dream and a deep suffering. However, her shattered dream is in the past and her life on the ranch is a direct result of it. We hear about this dream when she confides in Lennie. Curley's Wife reveals to Lennie that her ambition was to become a Hollywood actor and that she was once na�ve enough to believe that a man, whom she had met just once, was going to make her famous. This explains why she married Curley, in case she was pregnant. It is also, why she is on the ranch and isolated from the friends she used to have. Also it provides a reason for her to sexual powers in order to gain attention in the bunkhouse. ...read more.

Conclusion

Instead of responding to Curley's Wife's remarks, he "reduces himself to nothing" and simply replies, "Yes, ma'am." This segregation and hardship leads to Crooks becoming not only a lonely man but also one who cannot see a future for himself. This makes him hopeless and despairing. He therefore defends his few physical comforts fiercely. For example, when Lennie enters his room he tells him, "You got no right to come in my room." He also treats Lennie cruelly in the way that he is treated as this has developed a cruel streak in him. He spitefully torments Lennie by proposing, "S'pose George don't come back no more", for a moment of sad sadistic pleasure because for a change he is not the victim. One reason why the three characters are all segregated is that none of them have anyone to express their feelings to, until Lennie comes along and shows the reader why they have been isolated and how they are different. Each one of the three feel better having talked to Lennie because he is too stupid to understand what they are saying let alone why. Through out the book Steinbeck uses these characters to emphasize a message that he wants to get across to us. By looking at the situations which George, Lennie, Candy, and Curley's wife were in, we can conclude that Steinbeck wrote the book to tell us how important it is to have someone to share your life with. Lennie was proof of this. Mandeep Khatkar 10E ...read more.

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