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The Theme of Loneliness in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men Essay

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The Theme of Loneliness in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is set in the farmlands of Salinas Valley in California during the 1930’s. At this time there was a world wide depression caused by the Wall Street crash in America. John Steinbeck was born and brought up in Salinas California, he had lived and experienced a life of a migrant worker and that is what inspired him to write this novel (novella?). This meant he could paint a lot better picture of the place and the people for the reader to imagine.

'Of Mice and men' is about two migrant workers, Lennie and George, who work and travel together. These migrant workers had a lonesome and isolated life and the
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Unemployment was high at this time and men had to move around a lot looking for work, which meant they were never in one place long enough to form relationships, so this was a very lonely existence.

Steinbeck shaped the ranch where George and Lennie worked in as an isolated and primitive place. Steinbeck uses his personal experiences as a ranch worker to describe how the working men at the ranch felt in the novel. George says that ‘ranch workers are the loneliest guys in the world, and don’t belong know where’. He it is clear to see that a migrant workers life is very lonely.

Steinbeck also portrays loneliness through characterisation. He uses sexism, racism and ageism to get his message across.

One example of this is when George meets the old, decaying Candy and his antiquated dog, he tells him about the ‘Black’ man called Crooks. Candy states to George ‘Give the stable buck hell. Ya see the stable buck’s a nigger’. This was typical of 1930’s America as black people were thought of as inferior to white people. This suggests that Crooks was friendless. He has his ‘own bunk in a separate nigger room’ and ‘he scattered personal possessions around the floor; for being alone he could leave things about’. Crooks is obviously suffering from racial discrimination as he is the only black man on the ranch, and is not allowed in the bunkroom with the
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