Of Mice and Men is set during the 1930s about the time of the American depression. It focuses upon two men who are raising money to buy and live on a small farm of their dreams. They work on the ranches to earn the money to do this. These men are George Milton and Lennie Small. George looks after Lennie as he is very forgetful and slow. Lennie usually ends up getting the both of them ‘canned’ this means thrown off the ranch as he tends to do stupid things that get them both in trouble.
The ranches are lonely places as the men who work on them often have little or no family. The men upon the ranches play simple games when they’re not in the fields working in order to pass the time.
George is described in the book as he and Lennie are walking, it describes well by saying “The first man was small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features Every part of him was defined; small, strong hands, slender arms, a thin and bony nose.”Order now
The book then continues to describe Lennie it reads “Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.”
George sometimes gets annoyed with Lennie, although he loves him and cares deeply for him. An example of this love and care is “Lennie, for Gods sake don’t drink so much.” Lennie continued to snort into the pool. The small man leaned over and shook him by the shoulder. “Lennie. You gonna be sick like you was last night.”
George misses having someone to love him. You can tell this as he says “Guys like us, that work on the ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place.” I believe that this shows a slight glimpse of George’s real feelings, though I think that he is too afraid to disclose his true feelings for the sake of Lennie.
Crooks is also a ranch worker. He takes care of the horses and gets them ready in the morning for working in the fields. Crooks is a black man with a crooked back, he got his crooked back after being kicked in the back by a horse. I think that his name is meant to signify his crooked back. He lives away from the other ranch workers in a small room in the barn. Reading books alone in his room is how he passes time when not working. He isn’t allowed in the bunkhouse where the other men sleep as he is a black man. So it is easy to see he is very lonely as most of the men won’t even speak to him. The only time he can come into the bunkhouse is on Christmas day when to boss gives them a case of whisky. “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make a difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with youâ€¦ I tell ya a guy gets too lonely, an’ he gets sick.” I believe that this defiantly proves that Crooks is one of the lonely characters in the book.
Curley is another lonely character on the ranch his father is the boss. This is the only reason that the other men tolerate him and I believe that he knows this. Although he is fortunate to have a wife unlike the other men, he is still lonely as they have an extremely poor relationship. Curley is unpopular with the men on the ranch, he is a moody person, small and he has a thing against big people. Curley has a wife, she tells Lennie that he gets in a mood when she speaks to other men, and that he treats her bad all the time.
She also tells Lennie “I get Lonely. You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to anybody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody?”
Curley’s wife feels very lonely, she can’t talk to any of the other men on the ranch except for Curley, or he gets mad with her. There are no other women to socialise with on the ranch. She speaks of running away and that nobody would ever see her again if she did. This shows that she is an extremely lonely character on the ranch. Another way that you can tell she is a lonely character is that she is never referred to by name, this shows nobody has taken time to even discover her name. Therefore it must be assumed that the men see her as an object rather than a person.
Curley and she don’t have a good relationship at all you know this, as they never have a conversation during the story. Also she married him to escape her mother and believes that he is strong as a person and that he has power over the workers on the ranch when it is his father who owns the ranch.
There is another lonely character on the ranch, Candy, he is and old man who lost one of his hands in a machine accident, so now he sweeps up in the yard. Candy sweeps while the other men are out in the fields. Candy has an old dog but the book doesn’t give you the dogs name Candy just calls her ‘girl’. The dog is Candy’s only companion whilst the other men are out in the fields. During the story the dog is shot due her old age, after she is shot he tells George “I ought to of shot that dog myself, I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.” Another worker on the ranch shot the dog. Candy is one of the older workers on the ranch and realises that he is too old to live out his dreams now. Also he has no idea what he is going to do when he is ‘canned’. He has no hopes for the future and no real friends therefore he is one of the loneliest characters on the ranch.
George faces a similar predicament, George knows that he must be the one too kill Lennie, because if anyone else does it they will do it inhumanly. This is why he shoots Lennie while talking to him as to distract him, where as Curley would “shoot for his guts.”
Although all of the characters are lonely I feel that these characters are the loneliest. Georges saying sums up all of the ranch workers loneliness by saying ” Guys like us, that work on the ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world.”