"Guys like us are the loneliest guys in the world, They got no family, they don't belong no place". Discuss the theme of loneliness portrayed in "of Mice and Men"

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“Guys like us are the loneliest guys in the world, They got no family, they don’t belong no place”

Discuss the theme of loneliness portrayed in “of Mice and Men”

“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck is the story of two farm hands, Lennie and George working up a stake on a ranch so maybe they can buy a place of their own “An’ live off the fatta the lan’.” George is smart and small where as Lennie is a massively strong giant of a man yet as innocent and simple minded as a young child who relies on George as a protector and mentor. There is a theme of loneliness running through the book which comes from John Steinbecks own experiences of working the land.  

  When George starts his story about what life will be like when they get a plot of land he starts it “guys like us.” He’s talking about Ranch hands and labourers like him and Lennie probably forced to search for jobs because of the economic recession at the time the book was set.  The labourers were nearly always single men who have very unstable jobs and would have had to move on once the job was done (once the harvest was collected for example). Their hard itinerant lifestyle was very lonely as the men were separated from any friends they’d made as soon as their job was finished. So the ranch hands often blew all the money they’d just earned on whisky and prostitutes to drown their sorrows and forget their problems and as the men usually travelled away from their home they “don’t belong no place.” Because Steinbeck had experienced this way of life he really captures the atmosphere and loneliness of the ranch with details that make you feel like you are there. Like in the bunkhouse, not only does he describe it like he’s lived in it and knows just what it looks like, he includes details of the behaviour of its inhabitants to hint at the atmosphere of the place and bring it to life. For example “western Magazines ranch men love to read and scoff at and secretly believe” the word secretly shows how the men have to keep their real feelings hidden from the others to appear strong and survive, like any weakness would leave them vulnerable to attack. Most of the men are guarded from each other like this, Curley’s wife draws the readers attention to this when she complains that the men won’t talk to her when there together, “You're all scared of each other, that's what. Ever' one of you's scared the rest is goin' to get something on you" Because most of the men are scared of each other they shield themselves off from each other and so they are very lonely.

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By introducing the story of Lennie and George’s dream at the beginning of the book John Steinbeck sets the scene and introduces the feeling of loneliness. But he also shows how Lennie and George are different, they “don’t have to sit in no bar room blowing our jack.” Strange as their relationship is, they have each other and so they don’t seem lonely. You can tell how different and strange George and Lennie’s relationship is because Steinbeck uses the other characters to express surprise and suspicion at it. For example the boss says “Well, I never seen one guy ...

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