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Many of the characters in 'Of Mice and Men', are lonely - Describe the reasons for their loneliness and explore the different ways they seek comfort.

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Introduction

Many of the characters in 'Of Mice and Men', are lonely. Describe the reasons for their loneliness and explore the different ways they seek comfort. Many of the characters in the novel 'of Mice and Men' are lonely because they grew up in an unurturing and unfriendly environment. The reason for this type of negative and depressing attitude is due to the 'Great Wall Street Crash'. This tormenting economic crash took place at the same time when the novel 'Of Mice and Men' is set, in the year 1929. Families fell apart as the men were forced to leave behind their roots, and seek employment on ranches in order to bring back stability in their lives again. Relationships were never formed on these ranches as no one had any time nor interest in trying to communicate and bond with the other ranch hands or other residents. The only object the ranchers were attracted to was making money and moving on, therefore there was no stability. Tragically, vast amounts of people committed suicide, as they could not bear to live their lives recounting all their losses. Coincidentally the meaning of the town Soledad is 'our lady of loneliness'. Loneliness is a spreading disease, which has the power to make the most cheerful people dull and gloomy as they begin to feel isolated. There is no direct cure for loneliness; therefore no one knows how to deal with it. This is the stage where the effected people begin to split into two distinctive groups depending on each individual's character; the two groups are known as introverts and extroverts. The people that are catogrised in the introvert group suffer the most as they keep all their emotions locked up inside, leading in them taking their anger out on themselves. ...read more.

Middle

Crooks wants things to go back to as he was a child, he wants to revisit the happy days of his life that are now just a vague memory to him. Crooks knows that the only way he can do this is by joining the dream that George, Lennie and Crooks share. However, Crooks soon finds out when George rejects him from sharing the dream that he is destined to be an old isolated Negro. George Milton is one of the main characters in the novel, 'Of Mice and Men', he is quiet, modest and clearly a good worker. George is considered as one of the fortunate characters in this particular novel, this is as he atleast had a chance to experience the true value of companionship and unconditional value with his best friend Lennie Small. His companionship with Lennie 'staves of loneliness', as well as giving George a role in life; a clear task to look after Lennie. It is evident to see that at the beginning of the novel George feels superior with this role as it gives him a sense of power over Lennie: " " George has learnt vastly from his past experiences with Lennie; this allows George to have a two-way relationship with Lennie, one that of a best friend, and another that of a parent. George feels a sense of duty and responsibility towards Lennie as a parent: "Don't really seem to be running, though. You never oughta drink water when it ain't running, Lennie." However, as the novel progresses George begins to realise what companionship is, 'we kinda look after each other', now this role simply makes George feel different from the rest of the ranch hands as it entitles him to a status. ...read more.

Conclusion

Curley's failure to satisfy his wife both emotionally and physically is another reason why Curley's wife is so lonely and has so much hatred built up towards him. When Lennie kills Curley's wife in Chapter 5, John Steinbeck offers the readers a disturbing image. He describes her with more life and vitality as a corpse than he did as a living character, her 'rouged cheeks' and 'reddened lips' now after her death give her the appearance of life. In death the 'meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention' have gone from her face. This represents John Steinbeck's first concrete praise for Curley's wife; he writes for the first time that she appears 'pretty' and 'simple', a more commendable character as a corpse than as a living human being, as she is not her manipulative self. Therefore, concluding that in a way, some may say that Curley's wife has achieved her dream as she won her innocence back. Loneliness is a major theme in the novel 'Of Mice and Men'. It is only the two characters George and Lennie who stave of it by their relationship. However, the disadvantaged characters are the ones who suffer the most, it embitters Candy and Crooks, moreover, it kills Curley's wife. John Steinbeck describes loneliness as part of a human condition in this particular novel, it is something we as humans are born with leading it to be either something we fight or succumb to all our lives: "Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world'... Lennie broke in. 'But not us! Because...because I got you to look after me, And you got me to look after you, and that's why." However, throughout the novel John Steinbeck does not offer any answers to get rid of loneliness, it only shows how different characters deal with this problem differently. Maryum Zaman ...read more.

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