In the novel ‘of mice and men’ many of the characters are lonely. They have no one that really cares for them. This could be because that individual is coloured, female or that the person doesn’t fit in with anyone.
One of the characters that are lonely in this novel is Characters such as crooks who are lonely because he’s black (coloured). Crooks spend the vast majority of his time in the barn. The only way he can socialise with the other men is when they’re all playing ‘horse shoes’. Other times, he’s not allowed in the bunk house. For example Lennie, candy and Crooks were talking in the barn house and Curley’s wife came in and they all wanted her to go. Crooks stood his ground to her as they were all arguing. He said
‘You got no rights comin’ in a coloured mans room. You got no rights messing around in here at all. Now you jus’ get out, an’ get out quick. If you don’t, I’m gonna ast the boss not to ever let you come in the barn no more’.
Curley’s wife replied with
‘Listen nigger, you know what I can do to you if you open your trap.
The book then reads
‘Crooks seemed to grow small, and he pressed himself against the wall. ‘Yes, ma’am.’
What Curley’s wife meant by saying what she could do to crooks is that all she has to say to Curley or anyone, is that Crooks has been coming on to her and harassing her. Once she has said that, Curley will be after Crooks and beat him. No one will want to listen to Crooks side of the story simply because he’s black (coloured).
Other characters in the novel such as Curley’s wife are also lonely. John Steinback purposely didn’t give Curley’s wife a name because it shows that she was not treated as a normal human being. In the novel Candy has his dog that is simply known as Candy’s dog. This is shown of what Curley’s wife means to everyone in the novel. All that she was to everyone was Curley’s property or owner. An example is in chapter three was,
‘Did you see that girl?’
‘You mean Curley’s girl?’
Like crooks, Curley’s wife does not have a say in anything. In the novel
Lennie is another character who is also lonely. He is mentally ill, and has the mind of a child who is five years old. He imitates quite often what George is doing, just like a child would do to someone else for example,
‘He pulled his hat down a little more over his eyes, the way George’s was’.
He also has the tendency to forget things that he has been told, and is quite often called ‘a crazy bastard’ by George. For example,
‘So you forgot awready, did you? I gotta tell you again, do I? Jesus Christ, you’re a crazy bastard.’
Like Crooks, And Curley’s wife, Lennie can’t go out with the other men, such as when the whole group went into town Lennie had to stay behind with Crooks. He can not do this because he can’t be trusted with meeting strangers, such as like what happened in Weed when he supposedly raped that little girl. What really happened was that he just wanted to feel the girls dress because he likes to feel soft and furry materials, and he panicked and the only thing he could do was to hold on until George had to sock him.
Lennie also is Lonely because he does not have the choice to do what he wants, George has to give him instructions and tell him what’s right and what’s wrong. At the near beginning of the novel Lennie wanted to keep a dead mouse which he said he had found dead, however George told him to give the mouse over to him and Lennie, (who loves to pet mice and furry things) and Lennie handed the mouse over to George and obeyed him.
‘It’s only a mouse George’
‘A mouse? A live mouse?’
‘Uh-uh. Jus’ a dead mouse, George. I didn’t kill it. Honest I found it. I found it dead.’
Give it here,’ said George.
‘Aw, leave me have it, George.’
‘Give it here!’
Lennie’s closed hand slowly obeyed.
Lennie is also a tall built man who isn’t aware of his own strengths. He likes to pet mice but always kills them because he doesn’t know his own strength. E.g.
‘They was so little,’ he said apologetically. ‘I’d pet ’em, and pretty soon they bit my fingers and I pinched their heads a little and they was dead’.
Lennie has also often been compared to animals in the novel.
All these things about Lennie like being a bit dumb, being forgetful or just being childish are what I think make him so lonely in the novel. He is nothing like anyone else, he doesn’t ever want to cause trouble but he does it all the time without knowing what he’s getting himself into and because of that he can not socialise with many other people which I believe is resulting in his loneliness in the novel.
Another character in the novel ‘of mice and men’ who is lonely is Candy. Candy only has his dog to keep him company, and was very sad to see the dog go after he was shot due to his bad smell. Candy has only his dog and has always been devoted to it. When he was told to shoot the dog he looked at it for a while and replied.
‘No,’ he said softly. ‘No, I couldn’t do that. I had I’m too long.’
Not only does Candy require his dog for companionship but the dog needs Candy for basic survival, the dog obeys Candy. E.g.
‘Come on boy. Come on, boy,’he said gently. The old dog slowly and stiffly to his feet and followed the gently pulling leash.
Even though the dog has been physically damaged, Candy still wants to stay with it and keep it.
‘I’ll put the old devil out of his misery right now and get it over with. Ain’t nothing left for him. Can’t eat, can’t see, can’t even walk without hurtin’.’ Candy even didn’t except another little pup from slim because he loved that dog so much.
So despite the dog being physically damaged and not being able to do anything, Candy needs the dog because it’s the only thing he has got and he loves it and has really gotten use to it. He was left feeling lonely after it was shot.