GCSE ENGLISH - Controlled Assessment - Loneliness in Of Mice and Men Essay

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Loneliness in Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck


- In this essay I shall discuss and attempt to conclude the many ways in which Steinbeck presents the recurring theme of loneliness. I shall be writing about how loneliness is perhaps one of the main traits each of these characters share and how Steinbeck seems to show how, and why, this common theme of the novel is a natural and inevitable result of the kind of life they are forced to lead. Each character in this novel exhibits loneliness although loneliness may be, in some ways, shown more in some than others. We see loneliness in numerous characters such as: Curley’s wife as she faces a continuous struggle for affection; Crooks who faces racial discrimination and prejudice; Candy, who’s only friend (his dog) dies causing him to despair. Each of the characters in the novel has a somewhat mental attitude that attracts them to the dream in which George and Lennie share causing their loneliness to subside, momentarily.                                                                                                                                                 - The novel is set on a ranch during the great depression as a result of the Wall Street crash furthermore Steinbeck centres the novel around two main characters, George and Lennie, who travel around America from ranch to ranch in hopes of fulfilling their lifelong dream. Both characters centres their dream upon the concept of the American dream; fantasy in which consists of independence and self-reliance nevertheless as the story of the novel prevails consequences soon arise causing loneliness to reach its peak. Steinbeck uses his personal experience as a ranch worker to describe how the working men at the ranch felt in the novel. George says that "ranch workers are the loneliest people in the world and don't belong nowhere".  Steinbeck raises questions in the mind of the reader, that the novel would be based on loneliness. The first line read "A few miles south of Soledad". This is a clever idea by Steinbeck as "Soledad" means loneliness in Spanish. The title "Of Mice and Men" may be seen as a warning for the whole novel as it came from Robbie Burns’ poem "To a Mouse" which translates as `no matter how well we plan the future, things often go wrong'.

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Steinbeck also portrays loneliness through characterisation. He uses sexism, racism and ageism to get his message across. One example of this is when George meets the old, decaying Candy and his antiquated dog, he tells him about the "black" man called Crooks. Candy stated to the inarticulate George "give the Stable Buck hell. “Ya see the stable buck's a nigger". This was typical of 1930's America as black people were thought of as inferior to white people. This suggests that Crooks was friendless. He has his "own bunk in a separate nigger room" and "he scattered personal possessions around the ...

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