In this essay I will be writing about the period of American depression in the 1990’s affected the different types of people who lived and how differently they were treated and why this was. Many men travelled around in hope to seek their dream of having a nice piece of land for themselves. These men (travellers) normally travelled alone so they were isolated for a long time.
Isolation was a big problem in them days as no one would stay with anyone who they previously worked with or any of their family, this is where George and Lennie stand out from everyone else in ‘of mice and men’ because they both travel together from place to place.
Firstly I am going to write about Lennie and George and how they are isolated from the other characters in ‘of mice and men’. The two main characters first come into the story together and are looking for the place where they are going to work when they are there they are both very cautious because Lennie is very simple minded and always gets them run out of places, George wants him to be quiet on this job. They are isolated from the other characters because they travel alone and other men do not like that and get very suspicious E.G when the boss comes into the bunk house George was keeping Lennie quiet to be safe and the boss comes out with this ‘I said what stake you got in this guy?
You taking his pay away from him?’ so already they have been isolated for being new to the ranch and have to start to get known and to have as much support as they can. Lennie is more of an isolated than George because he falls into the outcasts group because no one can really talk to him because he can’t remember anything they say to him ‘jus talks on, an you don’t know what the hell its all about?’ this is when Lennie is talking to the stable buck ‘Crooks’ also referred to as a ‘nigger’ in earlier part of the book.
Lennie can’t understand why Crooks is left out of all the games and has to sleep in his own separate house Crooks explains that he is on his own because he is black but Lennie doesn’t care, crooks likes this about Lennie and carries on talking. Lennie is also left out of the games and things because he is very simple minded and acts just like a child he only wants to be friends but he gets very violent when he is scared and just holds onto things like when he was feeling Curley’s wives hair she asks him to let go but he doesn’t so she starts to yell out for hell so in a desperate attempt to shut her up he breaks her neck by pulling her around the stable by her hair, Lennie gets very scared and runs off into the brush and eventually gets shot by George.
Crooks is a black man that experiences isolation because the people around him are very racist. He gets very emotional when Lennie asks him about why he wasn’t playing cards and this is what he comes back with “Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m Black. They say I stink. Well I tell you, you all stink to me!” he gets very angry with Lennie but then quickly realises that Lennie doesn’t understand and that he has someone to talk to after all. Crooks also takes advantage of Lennie’s simple mind and uses him as someone to talk to for a little while and he gets all of his anger out and tells Lennie about how someone can’t be on their own for that long “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you.
I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an he gets sick”. Crooks is fascinated by the strength of the friendship of Lennie and George, especially how close they are. Crooks said, “Well, s’pose, jus’ s’pose he don’t come back. What’ll you do then?” Crooks ask these questions because he does not have any friends. He was curious about the friendship of Lennie and George. He wants the people to feel the way that he did when he was lonely, having nobody with them. He is trying to achieve sorrow and sadness from others. Crooks would work for nothing if it meant communicating with others. Crooks is working on the ranch to try and communicate more and to clear out his problems of loneliness. Crooks wants to live his dream but has no-one to follow or lead him into it so he has to earn it his self.
The next character I am going to write about is Curlys wife, her intention on the ranch is to flirt with the other workers and to attract attention from them using her body as her only way of interacting. Later on in the book we find that she has not got what she has really wanted at all in life, she goes on and talks about how she really wanted to be in the movies and she wanted to be famous. Curley’s wife notices how simple-minded Lennie is and takes advantage of that moment. She knows that he would be the only one where she could share her problems that she deals with everyday. One problem that Curley’s wife was not told about, was Lennie’s interest in soft objects. When Curley’s wife was done explaining her problems to somebody that would take the time to listen to her, she asked him to stroke her hair. But when she began to yell at Lennie, he just pulled her hair tighter because Lennie gets easily worried about how he won’t tend the rabbits.
This leads to the death of Curley’s wife and now she will not have to worry about being lonely ever again. Curley’s wife’s case of loneliness was the most severe throughout the novel. She struggled in her society to find somebody that she could consult with. She tried and could not find any other people who felt as bad as her or any women so she was the one who felt most lonely. I am now moving on to someone who has experienced a different type of isolation than the rest. Curlys wife is not provided with a name because she is a woman and she is the lowest on the ranch along with Crooks and stein beck is trying to prove how women were just a symbol of hard work.
Candy, an old, useless swamper, has worked on the ranch nearly his whole life. When Candy was on the ranch, he got into an accident that cost him one of his hands to be replaced with a wooden stick, Farm machinery took away his hand, leaving him money and loneliness. Candy feels that he is old, he places himself in a state of mind that is more than his missing hand ever will. He looks down on himself as an old worthless man wasting away his last few years. He is often afraid of losing his work, not to mention is whole life.
“I got hurt four years ago. They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunk houses they’ll put me on the county.”
Candy is so down that he puts himself into a state of solitude. He is often allowed to go out with the other guys, but he always refuses because he has a negative aspect towards himself. Candy thinks that nobody wants to be friends with him because of his disability. Eventually, he tries to find a friendship by attempting to join the dream of George and Lennie, to own and run their own little place and live of the fat of the land. This is one of Candy’s desperate attempts to find a meaning in life and to give him somewhere to belong to. Candy offered his services to become a part of George and Lennie’s friendship and dream.
“I’ll wash dishes an’ little chick stuff like that. But I’ll be on your own place, an’ I’ll be let to work on our own place.”
Candy was attempting to overcome his loneliness and have a positive outlook by finding situations that get him involved with other ranchers. It is quite possible that he was sad and lonely because he was in search of the right person to be friends with. After Candy lost his dog, he felt much more lonely than he was before. The dog was something that Candy had owned and was his only real friend for years. He felt worthless because now he didn’t own a single important thing.
Candy and his dog had the same relationship that George and Lennie had shared for so many years. While Lennie had George and the ranchers had each other, Candy did not have anybody and this put him in a condition of sorrow and depression. Every character in the book is different and no protagonists act alike. Nobody in the book shared the same interests and/or dreams as Candy did. This is why he tried so hard to gain the attention and friendship of Lennie and George. He offers everything that he had to support the friendship including money, but money will never buy genuine friendship. “Maybe if I give you money, you’ll let me how in the garden even after I ain’t no good at it.”
Isolation is a fact of life that not even the strongest can avoid. Throughout the story, Of Mice and Men, the reader finds the many sources of racism violence and people being left out. Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife all suffer these ending up with them feeling loneliness and isolation. They learn to cope with their loneliness through their interest in Lennie and George’s friendship. In some ways they are even envious of the bond. Often times, a victim of isolation will have a never-ending strive to, make a friendship with someone to not get left out.