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Loneliness is a predominant theme in "Of Mice and Men"

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Introduction

Loneliness is a predominant theme in "Of Mice and Men". Discuss how it effects: * George and Lennie * The migrant workers * Crooks * Curley's wife Of Mice and Men is set in the farmland of the Salinas valley, where John Steinbeck was born and which he knew all his life. Steinbeck's father owned land in the area, and as a young man Steinbeck had worked on the farm. The ranch in the story is near Soledad, which is southeast of Salinas on the Salinas River. Weed is nearby. The countryside described at the beginning of the book, and the ranch itself, would have been very familiar to John Steinbeck. The title of the novel comes from a poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759 - 96): The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft agley [often go wrong] And leave us nought but grief and pain For promised joy! The novel is mainly about the life of two migrant workers, George and Lennie. As we read the novel we experience how their friendship is different to the other guys on the ranch. Many of the men on the ranch would have loved to have a friend, someone to talk to and be there for them. Everyone on the ranch has a dream to achieve, it takes their minds of the problems they have in their everyday lives and gives them hope for the future. ...read more.

Middle

George always tells Lennie about their dream to keep Lennie happy but in fact it is Lennie who makes George actually believe that their dream will come true. This relationship is different as they have each other, they travel together and they do have someone to talk to. Candy is the handy man on the ranch. He is separated through ageism and his disability as he lost his hand in an accident he worries about his future on the ranch. Fearing that his age is making him useless, he wants to be part of George and Lennie's dream so he offers his life's savings to be part of their dream. When his one faithful companion; his dog was shot it in the back of the head as it was old, this made Candy think that the ranch workers will do this to him. This made him come back down to earth and he realised that this dream would never come true. Candy represents what will ultimately happen to all ranch workers. Through time, they will get old and have no place to go. Crooks was the "Negro stable buck" he is an outcast on the ranch because of the colour of his skin; he is offered referred to as a "nigger". He does not live in the same bunkhouse with the other men but he has his own bunkhouse. ...read more.

Conclusion

The men on the ranch refer to her as a "tramp," a "tart," and a "looloo." She dresses in fancy clothes and feathered red shoes. She is a temptation to the other men on the ranch and she uses this to her advantage to get what she craves- affection. Steinbeck lets us see two sides of Curley's wife and in the end we do have great sympathy for her. Like the other ranch workers, she is desperately lonely and has broken dreams of a better life. She is lonely because Curley doesn't pay much attention to her. This lack of attention from Curley forces her to seek it elsewhere. She flirts with the other ranch hands but they pay her no attention either. We find out that she doesn't even like Curley and she married him as a last resort. She dreamed of being a famous actress, her loneliness became so bad that she dressed as if she was in the movies and this resulted in her being known as a "tart." She is the end of George and Lennie's dream. When Lennie kills her their dream is forever lost. Candy with his old age, Lennie with his retardation, Crooks with his race, Curley's wife with her gender: all are victims of the attitudes and prejudices of society. Some days we may feel lonely but the peoples lives in this novel were affected by loneliness everyday! The End ...read more.

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