Loneliness in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men
Mother Theresa once said, “Loneliness is a man’s worst poverty.” Without friends and companions, people begin to suffer from loneliness and solitude (Dusenbury 38). Loneliness is an inevitable fact of life and cannot be avoided, as shown prevalent through each of the characters in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Each and every character in this novel exhibits loneliness. Lennie was isolated for being mentally handicapped, Candy was isolated for being old and disabled, Crooks was for being black, Curley’s wife for being a woman, and George for having to care for Lennie and being unable to socialize with others because of Lennie’s consistency of getting into trouble from town to town.
The setting of the novel was along the Salinas River, “a few miles south of Soledad.” This literally translates from Spanish into English meaning solitude of loneliness. This helps to support the theme of man’s isolation and need for companionship. John Steinbeck was undoubtedly aware of this translation; therefore, he chose to use it as the setting of the novel (Moore 48).
Lennie’s loneliness stems from his constancy of being yelled at by George. Lennie didn’t like to be around George when he was yelling at him. Lennie and George were friends, but George yelled at him just to try to keep him out of trouble. Lennie tried to make friends other than George, but it never seemed to work out. He even tried to make friends with Crooks, when no one else would ever talk to him. This shows that Lennie really needs a friend that can understand him (Moore 603).
Since Lennie’s mind works like a child’s, due to his handicap, the other men did not treat him as an equal. Ther…
… edited by Thomas Votteler, Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993, p. 341-342.
Rascoe, Burton. “John Steinbeck,” in Steinbeck and His Critics: A Record of Twenty-Five Years, edited by E. W. Tedlock, Jr. and C. V. Wicker, University of New Mexico Press, 1957, pp. 57-67, in Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. 75, edited by Thomas Votteler, Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993, pp. 336-339.
Shurgot, Michael W. “A Game of Cards in Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’,” in Steinbeck Quarterly, Vol. XV, Nos. 1-2, Winter-Spring, 1982, pp. 38-43, in Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. 75, edited by Thomas Votteler, Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993, pp. 362-365.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.
Votteler, Thomas. Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. 75, edited by Thomas Votteler, Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993, p. 334-335.