“Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
To begin with, Curley’s wife is an extremely lonely woman; she has a loveless marriage and no friends out in the ranch. This means she has no one to talk to, she can’t talk to her husband because he “spends all his time sayin’ what he’s gonna do to guys he don’t like, and he don’t like nobody.” This indicates that she has nobody to talk to because all her husband does is talk about who he is going to beat up next. She needs love and attention. One Saturday evening in crooks’ stable bunk, she says she is “standing here talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs-a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep-an likin it because there aint nobody else.” Curley wouldn’t let his wife go out that night with him and the other ranch workers. So for attention and someone to talk to, she was forced to talk to people whom she would normally avoid rather than being on her own, this shows how she is very lonely by not having any friends. When Curley’s wife was talking to Lennie she says “I get lonely, you can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley.
Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody?” She knows that she is lonely, she can only talk to Curley or he will get angry. Curley just wants his wife to himself and doesn’t let anyone else talk to her. Curley’s wife doesn’t get any respect off her husband. He treats her like she’s an object. To try to gain friends and companionship she spends most of her life doing her hair and make-up with “full rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up, her fingernails red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters- like sausages” She thinks that by dressing to impress will do just that, by making herself look beautiful she can flirt with the men, she also try’s to make Curley jealous so that it will cause conflict and that way she will get attention. John Steinbeck, when he wrote the novel never gave her a name- she is merely Curley’s ‘property’ with no individual identity, she is just referred as “Curley’s wife” this tells the readers that her character is not meant to be respected. She is an isolated woman.
Another lonely character is Crooks. Crooks is very lonely for many things, mainly because he is a Negro. In the 1930’s America were a very racist country and the colour of skin mattered. Crooks was a normal ranch worker, he complained because he is “not wanted in the bunk house” with the other workers so he has to stay in the stable with the animals- this shows that he is considered to be no better than an animal. Crooks’ bunk was “a long box filled with straw on which his blankets were flung.” He doesn’t have a proper built building where he can stay like the other ranch workers, because people don’t see him as a normal human being, this shows loneliness because he doesn’t have nobody to talk to without them making nasty remarks. Lennie, one evening saw crooks’ light so thought he would go inside his bunk, Crooks says “I got a right to have a light” He is so used to people acting aggressively towards him that respect is very strong to him. This makes him lonely because he is made to feel differently because of the colour of his skin, “Crooks has reduced himself to nothing.”
He feels alone and isolated because when he try’s to stick up for himself or put his point across he gets put down all the time and he knows that he will get killed if he speaks or does something outer line, because he is “a coloured guy”. Another way of why crooks feels lonely is that he has to work and be alone all the time. When Lennie came into his room he tells him “you got no right to come in my room. This is my room” Crooks doesn’t realise when somebody is being friendly, he is so used to being called names because he doesn’t get any respect of anybody, He is physically hurt and has no friends and no one to talk to. He feels threatened that if he gets close to someone he knows he will get into trouble. Crooks try’s to explain his feeling of being lonely to Lennie, he says “s’pose you didn’t have no one, s’pose you couldn’t play rummy because you were black.” Lennie loves playing rummy and Crooks explained to Lennie, that if he were black, he couldn’t play it because it’s what he wants. Crooks get told what he wants to do and not what he wants to do. He has no rights because of his skin colour.
Candy, Is also very lonely but in a different way. Candy feels different because of the fact he only has one hand, plus he is the eldest ranch worker. Candy is a very lonely man since his dog was shot-He was very attached to his “mutt”, he has “had him since a pup…” and was his loyal companion. He says “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.” This indicates loneliness because of the way he referrers his “bunk” colleges as strangers and not friends, he feels that his only true friend and companion was his dog. He is the ‘swamper’ – the man who cleans the bunkhouse.
He knows he will be thrown out and put ‘on the county.’ He says “You seen what they done to my dog tonight? When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like that.” Because of this, he accepts what goes on and doesn’t challenge anything: he can’t afford to lose his job, he is Worried because when they finish with him on the ranch, he will become very lonely because he will have nowhere else to go, so he makes friends with Lennie and George and offers a compensation, so he can cling onto their dream which gives him a glimmer of hope for the future. When he finds Curley’s wife dead, he is furious, as he knows instantly that Lennie was involved and that they have lost their chance of achieving their dream.
To Conclude, Lennie and George are both very lonely, in their own different ways; George has spent his life, looking after Lennie. Lennie has limited intelligence so is “simple” which makes it difficult for George to understand and look after, this creates loneliness to George because of the heavy burden that he feels towards looking after Lennie. Lennie and George have a dream, there dream is that they are “gonna have a little house and a couple of acres we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens.” Lenny makes its sound like paradise, with thick cream on top of milk “like you can hardly cut it.” Ranch workers in America were lonely, so dreams were what got people through times of loneliness, it was called “the American dream.” Lennie is just as lonely as George. He likes to pet soft things, like puppies, dead mice and the “rabbits”, this comforts him, knowing there around.
Lenny can be forgetful – George continually has to remind him about important things, this makes George lonely because of the fact he can’t rely on Lennie to do anything. At the end of the novel when George kills Lennie he becomes very lonely, the last thing lennie said to george was “Le’s do it now. Le’s get that place now” This analyses that Lennie only ever has one thing on his mind which was his dream, he is very lonely and without George he has no body. When George found out that it was Lennie who killed “Curley’s wife” he said “Couldn’ we maybe bring him in an’ they’ll lock him up? He’s nuts Slim. He never done this to be mean” George realises that if he did get locked up, Curley would have killed him anyway. If George didn’t kill Lennie, his future would have been one of misery, which would have been a more painful experience.