Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

"A guy goes nuts if he aint got nobody.

Don't matter no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell
ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick." A major theme in Steinbeck's
novella Of Mice and Men is loneliness. The characters Crooks, Candy and

Curley's wife each suffer from this although the severity of their seclusion
varied.

The old swapper, Candy was victimized by
isolation as a result of two main factors, one being his disability and
the other being his age. For example, throughout the book we find the farmhands
out bucking the barley while Candy is left behind to sweep and clean the
ranch. He lost his hand after getting it caught in a piece of machinery
and as a result he is forced to stay behind. This being one of the major
factors that leads to his loneliness. Furthermore, Candy's age adds to
his feeling of uselessness. Because he thinks that he is old he puts himself
in a state of mind that handicaps him more than his missing hand ever will.

He looks down on himself as an old worthless man that's wasting away his
last few years. Not only is it the way that others think of him but also
the way he thinks of himself that forces him to find solitude.

The most evident case of loneliness is

Curley's wife. No matter how hard she tried she couldn't fit in. For example,
when she tried numerous times to talk to George and Lenny she was either
ignored or told to leave. Because of her reputation for being a flirt none
of the farmhands wanted to talk to her. It was the threat of getting in
trouble with Curley that caused many workers to avoid her. In addition,
because of Curley's insecure feelings he neglected her and forced her to
seek attention anyway she could, even it meant flirting. She was ignored
by both the farmhands and her own husband and because of this she was being
forced into loneliness, the one thing she fought so hard against.

Crooks is a black man that experiences
isolation in terms of racism. For example, he is forced to live alone in
the barn. Because the setting of this book takes place during the 1930's
discrimination sadly still existed. The farmhands feel that since he is
black he isn't worthy of living with the rest of them. Furthermore, his
separation from others causes his severe loneliness. He spends his nights
reading and his days alone in the barn working on the horses. His distance
from others eventually causes his downfall. We find discrimination being
the major cause of this characters loneliness. He is treated as an outcast
and underling and is forced to find friendship in the only thing he can,
the books he reads.

Loneliness is an inevitable fact of life
that not even the strongest can avoid. Throughout the story Of Mice and

Men we discover the many sources of solitude, primarily being discrimination
and prejudice. Crooks, Candy, and Curley's wife all suffer from these facts
which leads them to their loneliness. As for the consequences we find that
the severity of each characters loneliness varied and that the eventual
effects were directly related to the magnitude of their desolation.