english lit essay GCSE, mice and menWatch
How is, loneliness, a theme presented through the characters in “Of Mice and Men”
Throughout the book, “Of Mice and Men” there is a strong theme of loneliness and isolation presented in the book and you could argue that it is a key element in the novel to represent the lonely lives Americans had during the intense hard work life in the Great Depression. The Great Depression often caused men and women to part ways with their friends and family as many people had no choice but to look after themselves. This led to an increasingly large amount of people who feel emotions such as, seclusion and this leads to great deal of pain hence the name of the time period: “The Great Depression”. Steinbeck does not back down from presenting these feelings in the book and the theme of “loneliness” could very well be the most important and crucial concept in the book. “Of Mice and Men” is started off by mentioning where the book is set, “soledad”. The word “soledad” is a spanish word which translates into english as “lonely”. Instantly the whole premise of the book is immediately set, and this suggests that isolation is probably the most prime essence of the book. Here “soledad”, also foreshadows dangerous events which occurs in the future, which are a consequence of feeling of loneliness, such as Curley's Wife’s murder which is a result of her feeling secluded and finding comfort in Lennie which ultimately leads to her own demise.
In the book, George experiences forms of solitude and isolation due to his very paternal friendship with Lennie. A strong paradox is that, George’s loneliness is compounded rather than being reduced by his codependent relationship with Lennie. For example, George states, “God almighty! I could get along so easy if I didn’t have you on my back.” The quote specifically suggests that George had often thought about what it would be like to go around the world without Lennie, and this seems to make him feel more frustrated at Lennie. The use of the strong language: “God almighty” suggests the strong and almost desperate desire that George feels for going around on his own. This creates a juxtaposition instantly since in having a friendship with Lennie, George seems to feel more trapped and confined whereas believes if he was on his own he wouldn’t have to take care of anyone but himself. The use of the exclamation mark after “God almighty!” is a clear declaration that emphasizes George’s, almost, eager craving for the idea of not having someone on his back twenty four seven and not continuously dragging him down, which is something Lennie does do throughout the novel. Although George does repeat this wish of being without Lennie, he is shown to deeply care for Lennie throughout the book and trying to look out for him, for example, he states, “I was just fooling, Lennie. Course I want you to stay with me.” The fact that George realises he has hurt Lennie by constantly saying that he would “get on so easy if i didn't have you on my back” shows that George does care for Lennie as an older brother would. The use of the word, “course” suggests that it is not even a question whether or not he would want Lennie to stay. This again shows that he very deeply cares for Lennie even though he may feel trapped or secluded in his friendship with Lennie.
The paradox of feeling isolation and loneliness due to an unhealthy relationship is again repeated in the book, through Curley and his wife’s marriage. Arguably, Curley’s Wife may very well be one of the most isolated and loneliest character in “Of Mice and Men”, due to a very toxic and unloving relationship with her husband. Throughout the book we never learn her name and this is very significant because, the fact that she is referred to as “Curley’s Wife” suggests that she is merely just Curley’s possession other than being a real person. The fact that she is not given a name and is her husband's possession implies that she might as well have no identity and this itself makes her feel very lonely as she is not allowed to talk to anybody because Curley ordered her not to. She says, “Curley can talk to everybody and I don’t get to talk to nobody.” Through this quote you can infer and almost feel Curley’s Wife’s unhappiness to the idea of not being able to communicate with other people, other than her husband. She also states, “I don’t even like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella”. The quotation implies that she is in a very unhealthy marriage since she doesn’t even like her husband, which is not a type of feeling you should have for someone you are bonded for life to. The fact that she doesn't “even like Curley” shows her feelings of misery and heartache which connects to being lonely in the context that you have no one you are able to talk to, especially no one who could understand. Curley’s Wife, much like Crooks, finds comfort in Lennie and much like Crooks, she confides in him. This is an element which is shown throughout the book, for example, George finds comfort in Lennie, so does Crooks, Curley’s Wife and Candy. This could be linked to the fact that Lennie may be incapable of feeling emotions such as loneliness, and this could be because he is like a child and a child should not really feel such things like sadness, and despair.
Although, Lennie does not really experience loneliness since it is such a complex and painful emotion which his childish state of mind could not be able to comprehend, let alone feel, he does develop a fear of becoming lonely, in losing George. This fear slowly evolves from when Crooks taunts Lennie about George. He says, “Suppose George don’t come back no more. What’ll you do then?” Even though, due to Lennie being mentally challenged, Lennie was able to instantly catch on with what Crooks was telling him. This immediately indicates to the reader that although Lennie does not often understand what people are talking about, he knew what Crooks was trying to say about George, which shows that Lennie must very deeply care for George. The text also states, “‘who hurt George?’ he demanded.” The word “demanded” is a very strong word which emphasises Lennie’s, almost desperateness, to know who hurt George, this shows how affectionate Lennie feels for George. We learn how truly afraid Lennie is about losing George and this is demonstrated during the time he sees visions by the pond. For example, he sees a rabbit talking to him, “well he’s sick of you. He’s gonna beat the hell out of you and then go away and leave you.” Since a rabbit is talking to Lennie we can clearly infer that since a rabbit is very much incapable of talking, it is only Lennie’s mindset talking to himself, presenting his deep fear of George leaving him. The fact that Lennie is even imagining creatures such as rabbits talking to him shows how unstable his mentality is and this could be due to the fact that he has a very intense dread of losing George. Again, Lennie’s fear of loneliness is repeated when the rabbit states, “He’s gonna leave you, ya crazy *******. He’s gonna leave ya all alone. He’s gonna leave you, ya crazy *******.” again the use of repetition is used in the quotation to exaggerate Lennie’s deep phobia of George leaving him. The words “crazy *******” is also repeated to also intensify Lennie’s mind state and to show how hysterical he is about losing George and then having to become filled with loneliness after this. Although the rabbit is basically an illusion and a reflection of Lennie’s own thoughts, Lennie contradicts himself by saying, “He ain’t, I tell ya he ain’t, he’s nice to me, he ain’t gonna leave me.” The fact that Lennie is actually only speaking to himself shows how messed up his mind is with many different thoughts opposing each other, this accentuates how scared Lennie really is of being lonely and at the same time not having George with him.
One of the most loneliest and depressed characters in “Of Mice and Men” is Crooks. Due to the extremely predatory nature of humans in the book, Crooks is a very secluded character who experiences mass physical and emotional pain which is a product of racial discrimination. Racism was also a very prominent problem during the Great Depression and many black men and women were tortured massively as a result of this intense prejudice. Steinbeck, too, does not back down from presenting these hardships and we learn how deeply affected Crooks becomes as a result of racism. We are first introduced to Crooks’ character in chapter 4, which is the only chapter he gets throughout the whole novel. Structurley, this reflects Crooks’ loneliness which instantly suggests that he is an outcast due to the colour of his race. We are first properly introduced to him where it states, “Crooks, the ***** stable buck had his bunk in the harness room.” The quote instantly establishes the fact that Crooks does not fit in with others due to racial differences and hence making him an outsider which also leads to his loneliness. For example, he states, “Suppose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy cause you were black. How’d ya like that, eh?” Although the quote is directed the Lennie, the use of the instruction instantly makes the reader put themselves into Crooks’ shoes. Strong racial discrimination is demonstrated through this quote as it clearly shows the pain black men went through only because they had a different skin colour. Crooks, like Curley’s Wife, expresses his views and thoughts to Lennie as if they both find comfort in someone who does not feel loneliness unlike them. Crooks says, “A guy goes nuts if ain’t got nobody. I tell ya, a guy gets too lonely and he gets sick.” The language of the quotation, such as “sick” and “nuts” conveys feelings of heavy and deep distress which connects to loneliness.
Overall, throughout the text, isolation and loneliness is presented throughout the characters of the novel as a result of being migrant workers; constantly moving around and not staying in one place. A quote to prove this is where George states, “guys like us are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family, no friends. Got nothing to look forward to.” The quote itself shows clearly how lonely migrant workers are. Loneliness in the novel is also created through inequality and discrimination such as genderism and racism (Curley’s Wife and Crooks). Although bonding friendships may have been made, the characters at the end of the book become lonely again due to Lennie’s death.
heyy, this was so goodd, we have to show how far we agree with the statement "candy is central to our understanding of life on the ranch" can you help me out with some key points??