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Of Mice and Men

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Essay title: Of Mice and Men

What causes characters to feel isolated and alone in Stienbeck’s Of Mice and Men, how do they try to combat this loneliness and do they succeed? The novel of Mice and Men is primarily about George and Lennie’s relationship and the hardships of living in America during the 1930’s when there was mass unemployment because of the depression caused by the wall street crash. Gorge is a slow, child like man. He is not intentionally bad, but he is naive and so gets himself in trouble all the time which he and Lennie have to run from. This is how Lennie and George find themselves on the ranch where the story is set. We will meet the characters outlined below, and follow the events that lead to tragedy with the death of Lennie.

The migrant workers had a hard lonely life away from their families, and they did not bond with anyone. They were only living to survive, leaving their families behind and not trusting the strangers they met along the way made it hard to form lasting friendships, and they got what little pleasure they could from alcohol and “Cathouses” (brothels). The migrant workers only survived by putting up barriers and in general not getting attached to anyone. The lifestyle that the migrant workers lead meant that they had a mistrust of almost everyone they came across, because they did not stay in one place for very long and their aspirations in trying for a better life seemed hopeless.

Candy was a one handed old man who had lost is hand on the ranch. He was kind and had a close relationship with an old dog that he had had from a pup. He is from a different era too from the other younger men that come and go from the ranch, and has no living family to miss, so he would be lonely wherever he was. Having no family and having lived in a different world to the other men mean that he is not as forlorn as them, this might be why he shows an interest in other people’s lives. Having his dog as a companion also helped to alleviated his loneliness. He lost his companion (the dog) because the other ranchers believed he was too old and smelly, and that the dog was suffering, for this reason it was decided it was better to shoot the dog. Candy fears that he to will be dispensed of when he becomes too old to work, and will suffer the same fate as his beloved dog.

Candy overhears George and Lennie’s conversation about the better life they are planning, where they will have a place of their own, and tend rabbits. After the loss of his dog Candy relates to Lennie and George and the bond that they have. Because he has got the two hundred and fifty dollars when he lost his hand, and another two hundred and fifty dollars saved up, with fifty more to come, after a little persuasion he talks Lennie and George into allowing him to join them in their future plans. Curley is the ranch boss’s son, so it is impossible for him to be one of the men, so too speak, he can go to the cat houses with the other men but apart from that he is not really included in the bunk house activities. He picks fights with bigger men than him on the ranch because they will not retaliate for fear of being canned. This makes him feel tougher and more important than he really is. Candy warns Lennie and George of Curley’s nature “Well-tell you what. Curley’s like a lot of little of little guys. He hates big guys. He’s alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he’s mad at ‘em because he ain’t a big guy. You seen little guys like that, ain’t you? Always scrappy?” Curly has a very shallow relationship with his wife, they do not talk and he boosts about wearing a glove with Vaseline in just for his wife (This has sexual connotations, which the other men pick up on). Curley dreams of being a fighter because he is a small man and wants to be noticed. When he picks a fight with Lennie his dreams are shattered because Lennie damages his hand so badly, as well as denting his pride. The ranch workers have never had a good opinion of Curley, so I don’t believe that it has changed after the fight with Lennie. Maybe they have even less respect for him than they had before. When Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife, the other ranch workers conspire to make sure that George gets away and so that Lennie is the one to find and deal George. Curley’s wife is alienated because of Curley’s temper and the fact she is considered a tart and jail bait. The men on the ranch view her as a threat because of the above reasons. The men did not realise she was just lonely and craving

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