Loneliness and
Isolation
Of Mice and Men
The Ranch
• Soledad- Spanish for “loneliness”
• Ranch itself is isolated
– George and Lennie must walk many miles
from road to arrive
The Workers
• All workers, except the disabled Crooks and Candy,
seem to only be passing through
– No permanence
• George describes other workers as “the loneliest guys in
the world” with “no family”
• Slim comments on rarity of friends traveling together
– “Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each
other”
• Boss is suspicious- unaccustomed to idea of friendship
– “I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy”
George and Lennie
• Different from others, because they “got
somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us”
– Lennie is sure of his friendship, and tells Crooks that
George “wouldn’t do nothing like that” when Crooks
supposes that George will abandon Lennie.
• Protective of each other
– George does not allow Slim to call Lennie “cuckoo”
– proudly tells Boss that Lennie can “put up more grain
alone than most pairs can”
– Makes sure Lennie dies happy- last thought is of the
dream ranch
Crooks
• Segregated in barn
– Bitterly guards own property
• “This here’s my room… I ain’t wanted in the
bunkhouse, you aint’ wanted in my room”
– Doesn’t even step foot inside when he comes
to talk to Slim about the mule’s foot
• Regrets the way he taunts Lennie
– “A guy needs somebody – to be near him”
– “A guy gets lonely… sets out alone here at
night”
Candy
• Dog is his company- equivalent of a friend
– Other men- all loners- cannot understand importance
of dog, just want it shot
• Ignore his pleas to let subject drop
– “I’m so used to him” and “he was the best damn sheepdog I
ever seen”
• Joins in on the dream because “I ain’t got no
relatives nor nothing”
– Knows his future includes more loneliness then death
• “They’ll can me purty soon… I won’t have no place to go”
Candy Con’t
• Importance of friendship and the selfesteem it gives him seen when he defends
George and Lennie to Curley’s wife
– “We got fren’s, that’s what we got”
• Seeing collapse of his dream, he takes out
anger on Curley’s wife
– “You wasn’t no good… I could of hoed the
garden and washed dishes…”
Curley’s Wife
• Seems more friendless and remote with lack of
name
• Her dream to be a film star isolates her further
– her reality is lonely and miserable, while her dream
is unattainable
• Immediately isolated
– Only female
• Not the kind to easily fit in on a ranch
• Men know that she is too dangerous to befriend
– George teaches Lennie to “leave her be”
Curley’s Wife Con’t
• Lashes out because they don’t talk to her
– Calls them a “bundle of stiffs” and says she’s only
there because “there ain’t nobody else”
• Makes several visits to bunkhouse
– Claims to look for Curley, but obviously is looking for
company
• Announces her loneliness
– “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody every’ once in
a while? Think I like to stick in the house alla the
time?”
– “I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely”
Overall Theme
• Add it all up:
• What is Steinbeck trying to teach his
readers about loneliness and isolation?
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Loneliness and Isolation in Of Mice and Men