A Literary Essay Example - Loneliness in Of Mice and Men

Date:  2021-04-09 17:09:07
2 pages  (614 words)
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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John Steinbeck, in his novel, "Of mice and men," clearly addresses the theme of loneliness whose prevalence in the novel is depicted by almost all of the main characters. It all starts with George and Lennie, two migrants who move from place to place in pursuit of their dream of one day settling down on their piece of land (Steinbeck, 1937).The characters in the novel are filled with so much loneliness and can't seem to find a way out of it.

Lennie's feeling of isolation and loneliness, for instance, stems from his mental retardation and his body size. His mental state causes many of the other workers in the ranch shun him while mostly thinking of him as a "cuckoo." He avoids getting actively involved in conversations due to his slow-thinking ability which deepens his loneliness further. George, his long-time companion, is the only person who understands him. In most cases, Lenny usually spends his entire time thinking of the dream that he and George have of one day owning their land. The dream often disorients him and makes him lose touch with reality confining him in his world making him lonelier. He is often shy of defending himself and rarely assumes responsibility for his actions which makes the other ranch workers avoid his company due to his unusual behavior. He is shunned by other fellow ranchmen due to his strength which they feared could wreck havoc if it went uncontrolled. Steinbeck, therefore, portrays Lennie's life as one filled with loneliness from the beginning to the end of the novel (Steinbeck, 1937).

Steinbeck uses the character of Crook, the ranch's stable-hand, to further highlight how loneliness and isolation cut across the book. Crook suffers rejection and isolation from the other workers due to his dark color. He's gotten used to being used by the other men as a scapegoat and has since learned to stay in isolation in the barn in a small room. Being accustomed to the loneliness, Crooks tends to be suspicious of any person who tries to be friends with him and thus remains without friends. With his deformed back, Crook is denied the chance to work with the other men leaving him with no option but to stay in his small room in the barn and engage in some menial work. He doesn't have any dreams for the future with remaining in the lonely ranch being his only option (Johnson, 2009).

Curley's wife comes out as perhaps the loneliest character in the novel being the only lady in the farm among men. Her husband, Curley, does not accord her the respect and love that she deserves as his wife forcing her to seek attention from the other men in the ranch. He hardly takes her out, always opting to instead go out with his guy friends leaving her lonely on the farm. While seeking companion from the other men on the ranch, she faces utmost rejection from them for fear of losing their jobs if they were ever caught having any association with her. It thus reaches a point where loneliness takes the best of her, and she starts fantasizing of herself as an actress just to feel more loved and appreciated (Steinbeck, 1937).

Lennie's death closes the novel with a lonely mood as George is now left to go through the rest of the journey without his long-time companion and friend. The dream that they would have a future in which they would experience independence and appreciation became completely shuttered (Steinbeck, 2009).

Works Cited

Johnson, Charles. Reading the character of Crooks in Of Mice and Men: a black writers perspective. na, 2009.

Steinbeck, John. "Of mice and men. 1937." Of Mice and Men & Cannery Row (1993).

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