Soledad is the Spanish word for loneliness. Discuss the significance of this in the novel “Of Mice and Men.” Soledad is the Spanish word for loneliness. The novel represents this as it was set in America of the 1930’s. This was a time of poverty and hardship as a result of “The American Depression”. Steinbeck focuses on these issues and emotions that men faced during this time. Work was scarce, so men had to travel to find work.
In doing this they had to leave loved ones, causing them to feel isolated and lonely. We can see this happening in the novel, especially through the character Candy. Also, racism was a big issue during this time. Steinbeck shows this and the emotions of people through Crooks. Steinbeck highlights other issues that were happening during this time. I will discuss how these affected the men in “Of Mice and Men” and how it caused isolation and loneliness.
Loneliness especially affects Curley’s wife in the novel. She doesn’t have a name in the story; she is just referred to as “Curley’s wife”. I think that this isolates her from everyone. It’s as if she is not a part of the ranch. To get attention, she flirts with all the men. But, no one at the ranch likes her because she is such a flirt and because she is married to Curley and no one wants to get into any trouble with him. “Any you boys seen Curley?” This shows that she is looking for her husband but really she is just looking for attention from the ranchers.
When Lennie is in the barn on his own one day Curley’s wife comes in. George told Lennie not to talk to Curley’s Wife in case he gets in trouble. But she sits down next to him and they start talking. She tells us about how she only married Curley to aggravate her mother. She also says how unhappy she is with him. “I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella. This shows that she is really unhappy with him and maybe regrets marrying him.
When she was younger, she was asked by a man to work in the pictures with him; he told her she was a natural. But her mother didn’t like it. She thinks that her mother hid the letter from her so she couldn’t go. “I never got that letter, I always thought my ol’ lady stole it.” I think that this shows that her mother wasn’t very nice and she had a tough childhood, this may have led her to do the things she does now (flirting) as she never got any attention when she was at home.
In the novel, the two main characters are George and Lennie. They both suffer from loneliness but in two different ways. Lennie is lonely because he is quite stupid and doesn’t think about what he is doing. Because of this, people judge him before they know him. Curley is one of the worst people to do this to him. Curley doesn’t like tall people so he picks a fight on Lennie. Lennie didn’t want a fight and I think what Curley did and the fact that people misjudge Lennie makes him feel as if George is his only friend. On the other hand, George does get annoyed at Lennie sometimes because he doesn’t think before he acts. Lennie and George have to keep running away from places and find new work. “We gotta sneak out in the dark and get outta the country.” This shows that Lennie has done something wrong but George is there for him to get him out of the country and to a safe place before he gets in trouble.
Another reason why Lennie feels lonely is because he likes to pet soft things like mice and rabbits. But he used to pet them to hard and he would kill them. This made him feel lonely as whatever he did, even if he tried his best not to kill them, they would die. For example what happened to his pup, “why do you got to get killed?” and “now maybe George ain’t gonna let me tend no rabbits, if he fin’s out you got killed.” In these quotes we can see that he is very upset by his pup’s death and that he thinks George will be mad at him for killing it.