All human beings develop relationships with others because those relationships fill particular needs. Those needs may be physical, psychological, or social. More often than not, the social relationships are formed due to loneliness and not “having someone”. In his novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck illustrates the loneliness of California ranch life in the early 1930s. Most characters, including Lennie, Crooks, Candy, and Curley’s wife, experience loneliness and isolation primarily due to prejudice and discrimination. However, they learn to cope with their loneliness through their interest in Lennie and George’s friendship.
Without someone, “don’t make no difference who…” a person “goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody” (71).
Crooks experiences isolation because the society he lives in is racist. Finding a personal connection with Lennie, he explains how just as “long’s he’s (a companion is) with you…” you’ll be fine (71).
He explains how a guy gets “sick” when he is alone (71).
Like Lennie, he has a ‘relationship’ with loneliness. He is rejected from every group and neglected by everyone. For example, not being able to participate in playing cards or playing horseshoes. He also has his own room, which is another form symbolizing denial. He is rejected because he’s “black” and he “stinks”, just as Lennie is because of his mental disability (67).
... he wants the best for his brother. Lennie and Duddy have a good relationship but on the other hand Max and Duddy ... it proves costly. It leaves him alone and without relationships. Duddy’s relationship with Yvette was strong, but he lets his greed ... not only alienates Yvette from Duddy. It ironically destroys the relationship Duddy values most. ” (Woodcock43). Duddy stealing the money from Virgil ...
Candy, like Crooks and Lennie, is a pariah because his age and physical disability make him different from the rest of the ranch hands. When his supposed lifelong companion, his dog, is killed, he is lonelier than he was before. He then had to look elsewhere for friendship. He offers to “…cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some…an’ wash dishes an’ little chicken stuff like that” to show he isn’t useless and to become part of George and Lennie’s friendship, covering it up by saying he wants to be part of their dream (58, 59).
Candy, trying to seek some way out of uselessness, works to change “George and Lennie’s dream” into “George, Lennie and Candy’s plan”.
On the other hand, Curley’s wife’s loneliness is caused by her negligent husband. Nobody wants to talk to her because Curley is jealous and will pick a fight with anyone who approaches her. She notices that she is being avoided, but doesn’t know if it is her or Curley’s pugnacious personality that drives the men to evade her. This can be seen when she repeatedly asks “Wha’s the matter with me? Ain’t I got a right to talk to nobody?” throughout the book (85).
Her isolation is also caused by being the only women on the ranch. Without having someone of her own sex to talk to, she turns the next best option: Lennie. Curley forbids her from talking to any of the men and George specifically tells Lennie to not even “…take a look at that *****” and to “…leave her be.”(32).Her desperation to talk to someone, lead her to her unfortunate death.
All of these character experience isolation due to one common thing: discrimination; Crooks because he’s black, Lennie because of and his mental disability, Candy due to his old age physical disability and Curley’s wife because she’s the only women. However, they are discriminated against for a reason that is completely out of their control.
The setting of the novel is destined for loneliness. Soledad is short for the town’s full name, “Nuestra Senora de Soledad”, which means ‘Our Lady of Loneliness’. With the town being named Soledad, loneliness is a premeditated vicious cycle set up by Steinbeck ordained for all the characters to experience. Loneliness is misery. As human beings, we were made to live in sociable environments where we cooperate with each other and befriend each other. Of Mice and Men teaches us that having a friend and interacting with one another is as much of a right as it is privilege, as they prevent us from misery and loneliness
The Essay on How does Steinbeck create atmosphere in the lead up to the fight between Lennie and Curley?
... to trouble between Lennie and Curley. George can see from his first encounter with Curley that there is potential for Lennie to get in ... its paws”, and it is used extensively here to compare Lennie and Curley. Curley is described as ‘like a terrier’ – terriers ... first two chapters that something bad will happen between Curley and Lennie. Steinbeck uses hard, harsh language in dialogue between ...