It’s really interesting that this comment comes from Slim. Of course, it characterizes how all those people drifting in poverty across the country and looking for work are feeling, but Slim’s the ranch’s own local megastar. He, who can do no wrong, intimidate any man, and kill a fly with a bull whip, seems to have the same feelings as everybody else about the whole world. It’s a lonely and scary place.
Isolation seems to make men return to their basest instincts – fighting to survive. It seems companionship is the only thing that can keep men civilized, and ranches full of lonely guys tend not to be that civilized.
Crooks is so accustomed to his isolation that any attempt to break it is a threat. Interestingly, Crooks is described as "proud and aloof." Thinking about Crooks’s isolation then, we might wonder whether it’s a self-imposed state; rather than being kept away from the white folks, he chooses not to be near them. This is a cross-section between isolation and prejudice, and there comes a point where we aren’t sure whether barriers are there to keep some people out, or to hold some people in.
These are Lennie’s first words in the play. He’s just submerged his whole head, hat and all, in a pool for a drink. He takes pure pleasure in the drink, and wants to share that pleasure with his friend George. There’s something simple and sweet about the episode. Lennie couldn’t care less about hygiene or etiquette. Like an innocent child unschooled in the manners of civilization, he’s just had a delight, and his first, simple thought, is to share it with his friend. This innocence will not only characterize Lennie’s actions, but it’s also an insight into the way Lennie thinks of his friendship with George – simple and pure.