Essay, Research Paper: Of Mice And Men Evaluation

Literature: Steinbeck

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"A guy goes nuts if he ain't 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 novel 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 swamper, Candy is 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 tries she can not fit in. For example, when she tries
numerous times to talk to George and Lenny she is either ignored or told to
leave. Because of her reputation for being a flirt none of the farmhands want to
talk to her. It is the threat of getting in trouble with Curley that causes many
workers to avoid her. In addition, because of Curley's insecure feelings he
neglects her and forces her to seek attention anyway she can, even if it means
flirting. She is ignored by both the farmhands and her own husband and because
of this she is being forced into loneliness, the one thing she fights 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 exists. 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 will eventually causes his downfall. We find
discrimination being the major cause of this characters loneliness. He is
treated as an outcast and peon and is forced t find friendship in the only thing
that he can, the books he reads. Loneliness is an inescapable 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 solitude.
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