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Isolation and the Feeling of Being Unwanted

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    Mother Teresa once stated, “isolation and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” Not only are the characters presented in Of Mice and Men aware of their desolate economic level, but they all have various reasons to feel isolated. During the 1930s, life was extremely hard, especially since it followed the Great Depression. Quality of life depended on the amount of wealth one had.

    Still, the company of encouraging friends and family kept people going through the rough times. However, the characters Crooks, Candy, and Curley’s wife, in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, were unfortunate enough to have either, which made their lives miserable. John Steinbeck shows isolation, through the novel “Of Mice and Men”, through Curley’s wife, Candy, and Crooks.

    The first character, Curley’s wife, is the most isolated. She has a reputation around the farm for “having the eye”, or basically just being a flirt. While she does have a flirtatious air, she only does it to fill the void of attention. While talking to Candy, Crooks, and Lennie, she states, “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once and a while? Think I like to stick in that house alla time?” (Steinbeck 77) Curley’s wife is isolated because all the men at the farm expect her to remain in the house and not be seen. She is especially lonely, though, because she regrets not fulfilling her good of being a movie star. She expresses “I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella… coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes.” (Steinbeck 89)

    Candy is the next character, he is the oldest character is the novel. He was separated from everyone in the ranch because of his old age, he was an outcast. Candy does not have any relatives, but he does have a puppy that he raised. As Candy grew older, the dog became useless and worthless. Candy’s isolation started occurring after his dog was shot. All workers were to be active on the ranch, if you were unable to do so, they would be released to be on their own. Candy soon realized this would happen to him.

    ‘Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunkhouses they’ll put me on the county’ (Steinbeck 60). Candy decided to invest in George and Lennie’s dream, by proposing $350 to the dream house. ‘S’pose I went in with you guys. Tha’s three hundred an’ fifty bucks I’d put in. I ain’t much good, but I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some. How’d that be?’ (Steinbeck 59).

    He was very hooked on the idea of helping with the farm. Doing this for George and Lennie, would have helped him forget about being alone, and help him find something new that he would love and cherish.

    During the Great Depression, racism was the biggest issue. Crooks was one of the victims, he was physically removed from the other men. He did not have many friends, so he kept himself busy by reading. Even, though he read a lot he still stated “books ain’t no good,” and that “A guy needs somebody – to be near him. A guy goes nuts when if he ain’t got nobody” (Steinbeck 72). On, the ranch Crooks was the only black man. Crookes knew he was powerless against the racism he received, he was aware that he was treated unfairly. ‘This is just a nigger takin’, an’ a busted-back nigger. So it don’t mean nothing, see?’ (Steinbeck 71). It is sad that this was reality during the Great Depression. Crookes accepted the way he was treated except, this intensified his isolation from the rest of the men.

    John Steinbeck shows isolation, through the novel “Of Mice and Men”, through Curley’s wife, Candy, and Crooks. These three characters faced sexism, ageism, and racism in this time period. Each of these characters found how they were isolated from everyone. Depending on what role they took or the situation they were in, they all coped with it and fought against it.

    Steinbeck has shown us that isolation brought by judgment does automatically influence one’s actions. Today’s generation understands the meaning of isolation and judgment. It should be the community’s goal to get rid of all forms of judgment and be accepting of what others go through in there day to day life.

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