• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Of Mice and Men - Loneliness

Extracts from this document...


Loneliness in 'Of Mice and Men' By Bethan Hindson 'Of Mice and Men' is set in 1930s America, in Salinas and centres around two men, Lennie and George, who are migrant farm workers looking for work. In 1930s America, these men would travel around the country, either walking or by cheap modes of transport, in pursuit of farm work. They would receive $2.50, maybe $3 per day, plus board and a room. Often they would spend their whole life either travelling or working. It was a lonely life, and the novel lets us experience this through the eyes of the ranch workers in Salinas. It is thought the inspiration for 'Of Mice and Men' came from the American Dream and the men who believed so steadfastly in it. The American Dream started when immigrants first began to populate America. It was the dream of a better world; equal opportunities; escape from poverty and starvation; and political and religious freedom. Each man carried a different dream. The American Dream for many in this book meant the dream of a 'little place' where they could finally settle down. Yet, this isn't the only dream-from the ranchmen the dream is to be the cowboy heroes they read about in their magazines and Curley's wife dreams of being a movie star. In this essay I am going to look at the topic of loneliness. Each character in 'Of Mice and Men' has his own loneliness and their own reasons for feeling segregated. It is this loneliness that motivates the story, that lets the things that happen, happen. George and Lennie are the first characters we meet, and Chapter 1 is dedicated to describing them and the landscape. We learn they are travelling to Soledad for work in a ranch, 'bucking barley'. We learn of their positions in their partnership immediately upon their entrance: "They had walked in single file down the path and even in the open one stayed behind the other." ...read more.


He tries to show Lennie how he feels, first by talking about his past at his father's chicken ranch and telling him how happy he was then. He says, "the white kids come to play at our place, an' sometimes I went to play with them and some of them was pretty nice." (pg 70). This innocence that comes with children has clearly disappeared as he has grown older and we can see he misses this life. He has little contact with any of the men, save for Slim and the boss, and no friends on the ranch. This may go part of the way to explaining why he is so bitter-he is a proud man, and well educated for a Negro, but he is also very defensive and expects the worst from white men, as we can see when Lennie first appears at his door: "You got no right to come in my room. This here's my room. Nobody got any right in here but me." (pg 68) It may also be a fa´┐Żade to hide his loneliness and frustration, since when he stops being hostile towards Lennie; much of this is exposed for us to see. Crooks is another very lonely character, as a result of racism, but in talking about his loneliness he sums up the case for everyone on the ranch and helps explain why Candy and his dog, and George and Lennie, managed fairly successfully to escape loneliness: "It's just bein' with another guy. That's all." (Pg 71) Curley's wife is a fairly recent addition to the ranch, and is described as having "full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. She wore a cotton house dress and red mules, on the insteps of which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers." The ranchmen look on her as a "tart" and "jail bait" but she is never truly evil. ...read more.


The pity instead falls on his wife, who, during her life on the farm, is described as 'jail bait' and who is avoided by the ranchmen, despite her many efforts to attract them. After her death though, we see what she really is, as all her troubles and loneliness is put to rest: "And the meaness and plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face. She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young. Now her rouged cheeks and her reddened lips made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly." Lennie is the symbol for all this loneliness. He is the one who accepts Candy and Crooks and Curley's wife for whom they are but he is also desperately lonely within himself. There is a barrier between him and the rest of the characters that he can never cross, in that he doesn't have the full mental facilities and therefore is left as the follower, the one left behind, as we see when he first enters and in the barn. Crooks is in the novel to appear 2/3rds of the way through and warn of the imminent destruction of the dream. He is a character in which you have to believe because he is so convincingly drawn and can be identified with. He is exposed to Lennie's dream, and warms to it, as the reader does. Then he realises it is nothing more than a dream, a fantasy. Like Crooks, we want to believe in that dream despite everything we know. Like Crooks we know it will never happen. His isolation stems from racism and in portraying a character like Crooks, Steinbeck attacks everything associated with racial injustice. In their own way, everyone in 'Of Mice and Men' is lonely, but only one of those who suffer is blameworthy for what he has done and deserves his punishment, and that is Curley. The rest-George, Candy, Lennie, Crooks, Curley's wife-are just victims of their society, victims of a world which doesn't allow for people to be different. ...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 Writing to Argue, Persuade and Advise 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 Writing to Argue, Persuade and Advise essays

  1. Life of a migrant worker in of mice and men

    They only came out of this at the beginning of the Second World War in 1939. Men went from ranch to ranch looking for work, mostly without their families. This meant that all money they made had to be sent back to them, for their children and wives.

  2. Horoscopes: Fact, fiction or fun? Horoscopes are a part of our life, its ...

    At the end it differs from one another based on religion, culture, and environment and believes. (5) The western and Vedic zodiac is two signs that have a common origin in the tradition of horoscopic astrology, and so are very similar in meaning while in China on the other hand, the development of the zodiac was different.

  1. Woman in Black

    This also manifested itself physically by Jerome becoming 'frozen, pale, his throat moving as if he were unable to utter'. His fear, making him 'glued to the spot' unable to respond. During chapter five, Arthur espy's the woman in black in the small burial ground by Mrs Drablow's house, he becomes filled with fear.

  2. What is the American Dream?

    So, what is the American Dream? What all these immigrants are looking for in the United States? Is it fame? Is it fortune? One would probably describe it as being rich and well known, some would imply to have a lot of power. However, the general definition of the American Dream is being able to get

  1. Of mice and men

    Another reason why John Steinbeck uses Crooks in his novel `Of Mice and Men' is because He is the forlorn character of the ranch. Some evidence to support my statement is the following "Crooks was a proud, aloof man. He kept his distance and demanded that others keep theirs."

  2. of mice and men

    They are his only hope for the future and without them two he doesn't have any future and he will end up on the streets when he gets canned. Another lonely character we're introduced in the novel is Crooks. He is lonely because he is excluded from the other people and from all the excitement in the bunk house.

  1. How does George Orwell present power in Animal Farm

    He will command his guard dogs to kill them if they don?t confess that they were on Snowball?s side. Among the other animals, Napoleon changes the commandments for his benefit to gain power. Throughout the story, Napoleon didn?t have any interest in Snowball, ?Napoleon took no interest in Snowball's committees.

  2. Why work for the ranch? (Of Mice and Men, Writing to persuade)

    If a worker does not wish to socialise in the ranch itself, there is a small town just a five minutes? walk down the road, where there are numerous pubs, shops as well as cafes that our workers can visit in their free time.

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