In men do. Crooks has been alone for

In order to live a meaningful and a worthwhile life, everyone needs a friend. Without someone there to communicate with, people often feel isolated and miserable. The problem of loneliness affects many of the characters in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men, such as Crooks, Candy, and Curley’s Wife. These characters all have differences causing them to feel isolated, Crooks, is the only black man on the ranch. Candy is old and has a disability, and Curley’s wife is the only woman on the ranch. Loneliness is damaging to the characters lives and causes them to act in selfish ways to ease the pain of loneliness. This is seen when Crooks is cruel to Lennie, when Candy lets his dog be shot and when Curley’s wife flirts with the men on the ranch. Crooks is an African American ranch-hand, and because he is the only black man on the ranch he feels extremely isolated. The isolation occurs when Crooks is forced to live in a different room from all the other ranch-hands and is cut off from the conversations and activities the other men do. Crooks has been alone for so long that he doesn’t feel the need to make friends with the cruel white men. For example, when Lennie, a white worker on the ranch, comes over to Crooks’ house, he acts defensively “‘You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me'” (68). Crooks thinks that because he isn’t allowed in the bunkhouse, then no one should be allowed in his house, and because the other white men never talk to him he thinks Lennie only wants to talk so he can make racist comments. But as Lennie continues talking, Crooks begins to feel more comfortable and realizes that Lennie isn’t trying to be mean, but really just wants to make a friend. As the conversation with Crooks and Lennie proceeds, Crooks starts to see Lennie as a “big teddy bear” and actually has no harm towards Crooks. Crooks’ “voice grew soft and persuasive. ‘S’pose George don’t come back'” (71), Crooks notices that Lennie is vulnerable and can be easily manipulated, so he tries to take advantage of Lennie by suggesting the scenario of what Lennie would do if George went into town and never came back. Crooks is uncaring towards the fact the Lennie deeply cares about his well-needed partner, George. He is also showing jealousy of Lennie and George’s relationship, so he wants to see how Lennie would handle himself if he were to be alone like Crooks is. Lennie does not react well, he gets upset with Crooks and Crooks then admits that “‘A guy needs somebody – to be near him. . .A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody'” (72), what Crooks is saying has no meaning to Lennie, but he is explaining to him what it feels like to be isolated and have no one to talk to. “‘I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick'” (73), Crooks is admitting that he has been very lonely and is beginning to feel emotionally sick which causes him to act cruelly to Lennie. Another character that portrays loneliness and isolation is Candy, his isolation is shown because he is the eldest worker on the ranch and has an injury, making him different from the other workers. Due to old age and his disability Candy’s one task is to clean the bunkhouse rather than work with heavy machines, making him feel useless. There was one thing keeping Candy from being all alone, and that was his dog who “‘. . .was so God damn old he couldn’t hardly walk'” (36), and all the men in the bunkhouse think that “‘Candy ain’t bein’ kind to Candy’s dog keepin’ him alive'” (45). While all the other workers in the bunkhouse think that Candy should put his dog out of misery, Candy cannot bring himself to shoot his dog. The reason for this is because he’s had him ever since he was a pup, and to see him get old and useless makes Candy feel as if he is getting old and useless as well. Candy starts making the excuse that he “‘. . .don’t mind takin’ care of him'” (45), but because all the men agree he should shoot his dog, Candy begins “looking for help from face to face” (45). Candy is trying to get someone to tell Carlson, the man who wants to shoot his dog, that putting down Candy’s dog would be wrong. But no one says anything to deny the shooting his dog, so Candy is unable to make his own decision and agrees that his dog should be shot. The fact that none of the men care that they are telling Candy to put down his best friend reveals the fact that they don’t know what it feels like to have a close relationship with someone. After Candy’s dog is shot he now feels even more alone and is worried that he will be too old to work on the ranch and will be kicked off. The last character that is lonely and isolated is Curley’s wife, she is very isolated because she’s the only woman on the ranch and is unhappily married to Curley. “I don’ like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella” (89) “‘. . .I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad'” (87). The men on the ranch refuse to have conversations with her because they might “get canned” by Curley, but Curley himself often ignores her and doesn’t give her the attention she wants. Since Curley’s wife “needs” attention she tries to dress up nice and flirt with the other ranch-hands but still gets ignored by almost all of them. “‘Ain’t I got a right to talk to nobody'” (87)? Her attitude towards her rejection leads to her death when she tries to get Lennie to talk to her. Therefore, Curley’s wife’s isolation caused her to act greedy to relieve her loneliness, but it only led to her death. Throughout Of Mice And Men, loneliness and isolation causes many men on the ranch to become unkind and desperate for attention. The isolation of each character is caused because Crooks, Candy, and Curley’s wife all have characteristics making them different. Although the men on the ranch try to solve their problems of feeling isolated, the consequences often turn out bad like Curley’s wife’s death, Candy’s dog being shot, and Crooks upsetting Lennie. Steinbeck’s overall message is explaining that people need social interaction or they will feel isolated and eventually become sick of being alone, which then causes people to act in unusual behavior resulting in a bad outcome.

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