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This essay will focus on the theme of loneliness in the novel 'Of Mice and men' by John Steinbeck. I will look at the different characters in the story and how they cope with ups and downs of life on the ranch

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Introduction

Victoria Jackson 10Y The theme of 'loneliness' in Of Mice and Men This essay will focus on the theme of loneliness in the novel 'Of Mice and men' by John Steinbeck. I will look at the different characters in the story and how they cope with ups and downs of life on the ranch and I will also see how loneliness motivates their actions. In particular I will look at Curley's wife because her actions ruin the dreams of other characters and lead to more loneliness. I will also focus Crook's because he is the loneliest character in the book and look at how being the only black man on the ranch affects his behaviour. Steinbeck wrote and set this novel in the 1930's during the time of the Depression, which left many Americans unemployed forcing them to become migrant workers. It was a very difficult time for these people and most of them lost their homes and were forced to work on ranches for very little pay. They would often only have just enough money to buy food and the rest had to be spent on travelling to the next ranch. The ranch bosses exploited these people because they knew that people were desperate for money because they had to survive. The lifestyle of the migrant worker is very lonely they are always moving from ranch to ranch trying to earn their keep, because they are travelling all the time they do not get the chance to settle down and make friends. By being lonely all the time it encourages distrust to form and this leads to the men keeping to themselves but when they finally think that they can trust people they have to pack up and move on. ...read more.

Middle

The shooting of the dog foreshadows the events that happen later on in the story. The death of candy's dog makes him realise his own future. "When they can me I wish't somebody'd shoot me", Candy can see that his dog is killed because it is old and useless just like him. "They said he wasn't no good to himself nor nobody else." He knows he will lose his job soon so he looks to the dream of the farm as his last chance and is willing to put all of his money in the ranch so he can lead a peaceful comfortable life by doing this he shows just how lonely he is. Candy thinks that money will buy George and Lennie's friendship but in reality it won't, George only agrees to it because it is a smart idea. Candy is similar to the character Crooks because they are both old and disabled but Crooks is at a disadvantage because he is black. At the time the novel was written black people were still openly called 'nigger' even though slavery had ended years before. The white ranch hands live in the bunkhouse while Crooks is confined into a small room in the barn because he is black. Crooks would have had no rights, white people would have been allowed would have been allowed to publicly degrade him and even hit him is he said something in his defence. It would have been very easy for a white person to get Crooks killed if they wanted to. "I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't funny", here Curley's wife demonstrates the power white people exercised over black people. ...read more.

Conclusion

I don't think it would bother Curley much that his wife is gone because they never had a proper relationship, but George feels guilty about shooting Lennie and he will have to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. I think that the loneliest character in the story is Crooks because he is the outcast of the ranch, the ranch hands treat him in a demoralising way by calling him nigger and he has no choice but to accept it. The other people on the ranch want nothing to do with him because he is black and the only time he gets the company of other people is when he plays horseshoes. Loneliness provides the motivation for the characters actions in the story. Curley's wife goes to the barn because she is lonely, she talks to Lennie because she is lonely and eventually her loneliness and attention seeking gets her killed, which leads to Lennie being shot by George. The death of Curley's wife has a domino effect; it crushes all of the relationships in the story and only leads to more loneliness. The title of Mice and Men came from a line in a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns "the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft". We see that Lennie and George's dream of owning a farm is ruined by the loneliness of Curley's wife. It shows that no matter how hard George tried to keep Lennie out of trouble he would never be able to do it. If the theme of loneliness was not present in the story then it would not motivate the characters actions and the story would be completely different. ...read more.

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