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Loneliness Theme of the Novel, Of Mice and Men

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Introduction

How does Steinbeck explore the theme of loneliness in the novel Of Mice and Men? The novel Of Mice and Men, is set in America during the height of the Great Depression, in 1930's. Steinbeck explores the theme of loneliness in the novel, Of Mice and Men, using all the characters, but three in particular are used to highlight the theme - Candy, Crooks and Curley's Wife. Many of the other characters are lonely and this motivates them to look for an alternative way of life. This is one of the reasons why they are drifters - they are continually searching, often without knowing what they are really looking for. Characters are also lonely because of something within themselves - something which almost seems to make their loneliness inevitable. Different characters seek comfort and solace in different things - for Candy it is his dog; for George and Lennie it is each other; for Crooks it is his pride and his unerring skill at pitching horseshoes. The location also plays an important part in the novel. Steinbeck chose 'Soledad' as the location because of its meaning; 'Soledad' is short for 'Nuestra Senara de Soledad' which means 'Our Lady of Loneliness'. So straight away from the location you can see there is going to be loneliness involved in the novel. ...read more.

Middle

Suddenly, when Candy tells Crooks, about his, Lennie's and George's dream, Crooks wants to join in, as he says, "If you ... guys would want a hand to work for nothing - just his keep, why I'd come an' lend a hand", which shows that he doesn't want to stay at the ranch and be all alone for the rest of his life, so he can go somewhere else and work with somebody. Both Candy and Crooks are workers who will never see the benefits of their labour. This book has three social and political evils: racial discrimination, the treatment of old age and the plight of the farm worker who are never appreciated for their labour. Another victim of loneliness, is Curley's Wife. Straight away from the name, you can tell that Steinbeck hasn't given her a real name, but she has been named as an object, which emphasises the fact, that women don't have an importance in 1930's America. Curley's Wife is described as a "tart" and may well be "jail bait" in the eyes of the ranch hands as she flirts with them, but she is never really evil as we know that she is just lonely as she says, "I get lonely... You can talk to people, but I can't talk to nobody but Curley. ...read more.

Conclusion

So he picks on Lennie and says, "By Christ, he's gotta talk when he's spoke to", which shows his pugnacious attitude towards people who are smaller than him, mentally, as he is not a big man himself, physically. Curley's Wife's death was caused through loneliness, as she was bored and restless, enters and talks about her life, as, "She knelt in the hay beside him", and told him to, "Listen", to her, which shows that she is enjoying Lennie's company whilst talking to him. As evident from many of the statements in the novel, Steinbeck offers no answers to loneliness, merely a graphic and moving portrayal of the problem. It confirms the impression of him as a writer who observes and brings things to life through the printed word. He is not someone writing with a grand game plan for how to change things. Indeed, some of the sadness and emotional power of the novel comes from our realisation that things cannot and will not change. Loneliness is a major theme in "Of Mice and Men". George and Lennie stave it off by their relationship. It embitters Candy and Crooks. It kills Curley's Wife. Steinbeck sees loneliness as part of the human condition, something we are born with and something we either fight or succumb to all our lives. Jaitej Walia 10K English Mrs. Christie Essay on the Theme of Loneliness -1- ...read more.

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