Loneliness is a terrible feeling that can put your mind into an extremely sad state. In John Steinbeck’s intriguing novel Of Mice and Men, the characters try to handle loneliness in their lives. Loneliness can cause very high levels of anxiety that is ruinous to the characters. This is seen when Curley’s wife is disappointed with her husband ignoring her, Crooks being isolated because he is black, and Lennie’s fear of being abandoned if his only friend, George, leaves him.
Curley’s wife is very disappointed because Curley ignores her and she thinks she deserves a lot more respect than that. She says, “Well, Curley got his arm in a sling- an’ is Curley gets tough you can break his other han'” (84). Curley’s wife is saying this because she has been ignored by Curley, she is ok with Lennie fighting back if Curley is mean because she has been not been treated fairly. Here she says “You can talk to people, but I cant talk to nobody but Curley, else he gets mad” (84). Therefore proving that she is lonely because she is not allowed to talk with anyone or else Curley will get mad. She also says “All the guys got a horseshoe tenement goin’ on. It’s on’y about four o’clock. None of them guys is going to leave that tenement.
Why can’t I talk to you?” (84). Curley’s wife knows that if she is caught with any of the men than Curley will get really mad. She also knows that George has told Lennie not to be near her. So she is explaining that no one will come into the bunkhouse and catch them. All she wants to do is talk to Lennie because she is never allowed to talk to anyone except for Curley. She is so desperate to talk with someone that she will do anything to make it happen. She also just comes right out with ” I Bronner2never get to talk to nobody.
I get awful lonely” (84). This is further showing that she is extremely lonely and desperate to talk with someone. Crooks is living a very sad life after being thrown out of the bunk house because of his skin color being black. Crooks states “I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse” (67).
Lennie asks why and Curley says “Cause im black” (67). If he was white, then he would be perfectly appreciated and accepted into everyone else’s lives and not excluded from it all in the bunkhouse. Just this shows that he would be lonely because everyone else at the ranch is white, and because he is the only black person there, he is the only one that is being excluded from everyone else’s lives. So he is by himself with no one to talk to or do things with. He says “They play cards in there, but I cant play because I’m black. They say I stink” (67).
The guys in the bunkhouse make an excuse by saying that he stinks but it is really because they are racist and don’t want a black man playing cards with them. This is another cause of his loneliness because he is excluded from all of the groups activities. He then says to Lennie “Come in and set a while” (68). Crooks sees that Lennie is different than the other guys and is actually interested in what he is saying so he tells him to sit down so they can talk.
This is very nice for Crooks because he never has had anyone appreciate what he has had to say, so he takes advantage of it and asks Lennie to sit down. He also says “If I say something, why its just a nigger saying it” (69). This is him saying that because he is black, nothing that he says matters to anyone else. Which is terrible because that means he never has a say in anything, so he would never get the opportunity to do the things he wants to do. Lennie has a huge fear of being abandoned by George because George could leave him at any time and be much more successful in life without him. Crooks asks Lennie what he would do Bronner3if George didn’t come back from town that night. Lennie goes into a state of fear and immediately says “He won’t do it, George wouldn’t do nothing like that” (70). Therefore, if there is any possibility of George leaving him, Lennie gets terrified and just keeps thinking to himself that George would never do that to him because his fear of being lonely is very strong in him.
He then questions himself by asking Crooks “Don’t you think he will” (70)? This is him in fear of the possibility that George could leave him. He is asking Crooks just to make sure that George is going to come back.George is telling the story of when he was at the Sacramento River and was feeling smart so he decided to tell Lennie to “jump in” (40).
Lennie does everything that George tells him to do because he doesn’t want George to leave him. So he jumps and he can’t even swim. This proves that he will do anything to not be abandoned by george. The characters are being torn apart by the loneliness that they struggle with. Curley’s wife is was unhappy that her husband doesnt give her the attention that she deserves. Crooks is living a very sad life because he is the only one on the ranch with a different skin color, which makes him feel alone. Lennie is living with a fear of being left alone because he only has one friend that could leave him.
All of these characters are craving a connection with others. Connection to others makes life easier and more enjoyable.