Theme Of Loneliness In Of Mice And Men Essay Example

Hook- Close your eyes and think of how people lived during the hardest point in history. No matter what was done, it just seemed never enough. filler sentence- In the novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the reader is given a closer look on how the migrant workers worked during the Great Depression and the harsh reality of it. topic sentence- John Steinbeck portrays the idea of loneliness and alienation by making characters give examples of how lonely it can be not having a friend. The characters that are the main examples are Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife. filler sentence- These characters are only three out of the many that Steinbeck introduced in the novella. The characters show an example of how lonely it can get having no family or friends around. thesis- Throughout the novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Steinbeck portrays the theme and his ideas through the characters and through their actions. 

First, in the novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck the first character to portray the idea of loneliness and alienation is Candy. Carlson is one of the people that don’t like Candy’s dog because he smells bad and is old. Eventually, he convinces candy to let him kill the dog by shooting it and putting it out of its misery. Carlson says to Candy “’Why’n’t you shoot him, Candy?’” (81) At first Candy was a bit reluctant because he’s had that dog forever and he feels bad that he has to let it go. His dog is his company and the equivalent of a friend. Nobody else in the bunkhouse felt the same way about the dog like Candy and they only wanted to shoot the dog because it is no longer useful. Candy tried to let the subject drop by changing it however, Carlson wouldn’t let the subject drop and eventually convinced Candy to let him shoot the dog because that’s how the rest of the men felt rather than what Candy felt in that moment. 

Second, John Steinbeck also portrays a bigger idea of alienation and loneliness as segregation. In Of Mice and Men the only African-American is Crooks. During this time there was a lot of stereotypes against African-Americans and it was nice how Steinbeck included that in his novella. Crooks is older than the rest of the men and he has scoliosis, that’s how he got his nickname Crooks. Crooks stays in the barn with the horses away from all the rest of the workers. He spends most of his time by himself until Lennie showed up one day. Crooks said sharply to Lennie “’You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me.’” (105) His isolation has turned him bitter and twisted, he has also adopted a defensive hostility to the world because of how he’s treated. Crooks tried to be bitter towards Lennie but quickly started to enjoy the company. Lennie made Crooks feel like he had a friend and how Lennie didn’t care if Crooks was a different skin color to him. Lennie was the first person that treated Crooks with respect. 

Third, the last character that had a big impact on the theme of alienation and loneliness was Curley’s wife. She’s the only female character in the story and her not having a name already shows how she didn’t have the much importance in the novella and how she was only mentioned in reference to her husband. This suggests how she was an object of which Curley owns. This is not an example of a healthy marriage as she only married him to get away from her mother. She was often left alone leaving her bored so she flirts with the men to cure her boredom. One of the only reasons she married Curley was to get away from her mom because she thought that her mom was taking away her letters and ruining her chances to become a famous movie star. Curley’s wife tells Lennie “’ I ast her if she stole it, too, an’ she says no. So I married Curley. Met him out to the Riverside Dance Palace that same night.’” (127-128) Curley’s wife has this fantasy that the letters were stolen but in reality, they could’ve never been sent out. When she came to visit Lennie in the barn, he was there all alone and she asked him if he wants to feel her hair because he likes soft things. That short moment of her and Lennie made her feel like she had a friend and she could talk to someone without them thinking that she’s trying to flirt with them. However, that moment didn’t last long because he eventually snapped her neck. 

In conclusion, John Steinbeck portrays the ideas of alienation and loneliness throughout the novella Of Mice and Men by using characters and their actions as examples. This theme was first shown in the first few chapters of the book with the first character Candy. This character was the oldest in the workers and the loneliest. At first, he had his little dog and everything was okay until fellow bunkmates started complaining at how bad the dog smelled and at how old he was. The next character that was introduced to be lonely was Crooks. Crooks was the only black person at the ranch and of course he was segregated as it was in the 1930’s. Crooks didn’t have a friend as he was treated different and everyone was racist towards him, but now Lennie. Lennie didn’t care about how Crooks looked and if he was different. The last character that was portrayed as lonely was Curley’s wife. In the novella, she didn’t even get a name because she wasn’t important. She married Curley because she wanted to get away from her mother and she thought that marrying Curley was the only way out. Curley’s wife was often left alone which left her with flirting with the other men to have someone to talk to. All these characters are how John Steinbeck snuck in the ideas of alienation and loneliness.


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