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Of Mice And Men

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During the era of the Great Depression in the 1930's, many people lost their jobs and became very lonely. This was around the time when John Steinbeck released his famous book about these "bindle stiffs". The book was called, Of Mice and Men. Loneliness is one of the major themes of this novel. Several of the characters in the book are alone. In this novel, John Steinbeck shows how being alone affects different characters. Each is affected in a different way. Throughout the novel, the theme of loneliness is mostly expressed in the important characters of Candy, Curley's wife and Crooks.

Candy, the ranch handyman, lost his hand in an accident and worries about his future on the ranch. He fears that his age is making him useless and unwanted. Candy's age and handicap also contribute to his loneliness. Many of the men reject Candy because of these things and he fears that he will eventually come to the same end as his old dog. Candy is crushed by Lennie and George's dream to get their own piece of land and "live off the fatta the lan'". This dream lifted Candy's spirit and only set him up for a bigger disappointment. This made Candy not only a victim of loneliness, but also of disillusionment. He also feels the burden of loneliness and shows it by his relationship with his sheep dog. The dog, being described as "ancient", "stinky", and "half-blind", had been in Candy's life and his companion for a very long time and Candy had grown attached to it. He said he, "had him since he was a pup" and he used to "herd sheep with him." Once the other farmhands had finally gotten fed up with it and stated that the dog needed to be put out of its misery Candy was extremely reluctant to turn it over and let him go. After hearing the shot ring outside, all Candy could do was turn his face towards a wall and not look around. Certainly Candy found this dog to be a loyal companion of his and he had developed a strong relationship with it over the years, which helped him cope with his loneliness on the ranch. Whenever one is taking a deeper look at Of Mice and Men one will probably get a sense of how depressing the ranch really is. These are just a few examples of how different characters dealt with their loneliness. However effective or ineffective their cures were, one still must feel a certain amount of sympathy towards them.

All throughout the book Curley's Wife is very "open" to everyone she meets. She and Curley's "so-called" marriage can interpret the reason for this. The relationship between Curley's Wife and Curley seems to be somewhat unstable as he is always asking "Any you guys seen my wife?" This also shows how protective Curley seems to be as he is always checking up on where his wife is. Curley's insecurity seems to cage in his wife from having any kind of a friendship with any other men. In turn, the wife gets so sick of being isolated like this and relieves her loneliness by conducting secret conversations with many other men on the ranch. As a result many of the ranch hands see her as a tramp or a "tart with a roving-eye" but it can be viewed that all she really wants is a person to talk to. Curley's Wife's loneliness is also a big part of her death at the end of the



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