Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck: Loneliness And Need For Companionship in Times Of The Great Depression
The Great Depression is a very important part of American history which explains that life can change at any second. During the Great Depression, the stock market dropped all of a sudden which made tough to get a good job because most of the companies were bankrupt. The novel Of Mice and Men was written during the Great Depression. In the novel Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck represents the lonely life in the ranches California, during the 1930s that how people needed companionship so, they can share their time and feelings.
In 1930s, a lot of people worked as migrant workers. A migrant worker is a person who travels alone from farms to find a job and a place to live. They don’t have a home where they can stay forever neither a place that they can call it their own. In the book, John Steinbeck puts light on the friendship of George and Lennie who are also migrant workers but unlike others they stick together. George is more intelligent and sensible than Lennie because Lennie has some kind of mental disorder. He doesn’t know how to react to situations and has a obsession of feeling soft things in hands. Somehow Lennie always gets George and himself in trouble. Even in the start of the book when they were resting near a River, George and Lennie had a argument about the mess Lennie created on the last farm. He touched a lady’s dress after seeing the velvet on it but the lady start screaming because she thought he was trying to harm her. So, their boss fired both of them. Lennie said, “If you don’t want me I can go off in the hills to find a cave. I can go away anytime.” When Lennie offers to go in the woods and live by himself George was terrified because he could never imagine life without him. So, he reply to Lennie “No, I was jus’ foolin, Lennie.‘Cause I want you to stay with me.” They both are depended on each other and need each other to survive.
In the story, most of the characters are living in isolation on the ranches where George and Lennie are working. In the book, Candy an old swamper on the farm who’s hand was cut offed while working . He is also a victim of isolation because of his disability and age. Nobody wants to talk to him and he is always left behind to sweep and to clean the ranch because other workers on the ranch believes that he is weak and cannot participate in other activities with them. He said, “A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he doesn’t ast no questions.” Candy gives a good definition of a lonely person. Someone who doesn’t ask any questions and doesn’t listen in other people’s conversation. He is not a nosy person. He was isolated and his only support was his old and ill dog. From candy’s conversation looks like that for Steinbeck being isolated is mostly about staying quiet but Friendship is mostly about sharing feelings and talking to friends.
Being isolated is nobody’s choice but sometimes you don’t have any choice like Curley’s wife. Curley is the son of George and Lennie’s boss who always wants to pick a fight with someone who is weaker than him. He got married not a long time ago and no matter how hard Curley’s wife try to fit in but she just can’t. For example she tries to talk to farm workers but nobody replies her nicely instead she ends up getting ignored because of her flirtatious reputation.“Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely”, she told Lennie. In the book, Curley mostly ignores his wife and don’t talk to her properly. She also doesn’t like him but she only married him because she ran away from her house. Whenever Curley sees her talking to some other guy on the farm he gets awfully jealous and beat that person up. So, she is being forced into isolation even though she is trying her best to get out of loneliness but it is not helping. In early American history, African Americans are always had been underrated because of their skin complexion. In the book, there is also the same story. Crook is an only African American on the ranch and nobody pays attention to him neither want to talk to him because of his skin tone. He is also isolated because of the people critical thinking. He said, “They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me.” Crook told this to Lennie who came in his room after seeing the light in it. No, one has talked to Crook for a long time so, when Lennie came to his room that made him shocked. He didn’t know how to react because he had not talk to someone for years and today he finally get take his all inner feelings out. He was so mad that he has been alone for such a long time without any great reason. So, he doesn’t care about anyone anymore because to him everybody stink and nothing is valuable to him not even friendship.
Loneliness is an unavoidable matter of life that nobody can neglect. The book Of Mice and Men is basically based on Prejudice and Isolation. Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife all suffer from these logics which led them to loneliness. It was never their own choice. They were forced into it. Candy is old and disabled that’s why everybody thinks he is useless than on the other hand Crooks is alone because he is an African American on the ranch so, nobody talked to him because of his skin tone. Even in this period of time segregation is still a fact. Curley’s wife who is forced into isolation because of Curley’s insecurity. He neglected her which made her to seek other people attention even if it meant to act flirtatious. Steinbeck refers that it is nobody’s choice to spend their life in loneliness but they cannot compete with their fate.
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