Intolerance is human nature; people who are different from or weaker than the normare victims of intolerance and become isolated and lonely. Those who are in thenorm are expected to be strong and not show their feelings. In Of Mice And Men, byJohn Steinbeck, the social power group is the white, male workers on the farm.
They are younger men, still useful, reasonably intelligent, and average-sized. Theyexclude people who do not fit their norm, such as Curley for being short, Lennie forbeing retarded, Candy for being old, Crooks for being black, and Curley’s wife forbeing a woman. Between themselves, they expect strength, distance andindependence, and are uncomfortable with emotions. This intolerance and isolationcause loneliness for all the characters in this novel.
This social power group oppresses and isolates Curley, Lennie and Candy becausethey are different, even though they are white. Lennie is very strong and big but hismind is like a child’s, so the men don’t respect him as an equal. For example,George explains to Slim that he, “Used to play jokes on Lennie cause he was toodumb to take care of ‘imself”(p. 40). Lennie does not take part in the activities theworkers do in their spare time. Lennie does not go to town with the men.Order now
In Weed,Lennie gets in trouble because the people don’t understand his problem. They reactwith anger instead of understanding. George explains to Slim, “Cause he ain’tmean. . . .
like what happened in Weed-“(p. 40). Candy is afraid that he will havenowhere to go soon because he is old: “I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t getno jobs. ” (p.
60) Candy knows that society doesn’t value or care about people whocan’t work. Society ejects them because they are no longer useful. Carlson showsthis when he says about Candy’s dog, ” He ain’t no good to you, Candy. An’ he ain’tno good himself. Why’n’t you shoot him, Candy? (p.
44). Candy knows he is likehis dog; an old man is almost useless. He knows how they will discard them he’s nolonger useful: “They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When theycan me here I wish’t somebody shoot me. ” (p.
60) Curley feels excluded fromsociety because he is too short. He hates big men because big men automatically getinto the social power group. Candy comments to George that “Curley’s like a lot oflittle guys. He hates big guys. He’s alla time picking scraps with big guys.
Kind oflike he’s mad at them because he ain’t a big guy” (p. 26). Curley shows this abouthimself when he is hostile and angry when he meets Lennie for the first time. Curleyshows his extreme insecurity in the bunkhouse as Slim and Carlson are not afraid ofhim. Curley is afraid losing his power of intimidation.
He notices that Lennie is weakand afraid, and turns his anger on Lennie. The reader sees Curley is insecurebecause Curley continues to attack Lennie even though Lennie doesn’t even protecthimself or fight back. Each man is rejected by the norm, and is lonely. White menare not the only people who are victims of intolerance and the loneliness it causes.
The social power group oppresses Crooks because he is black. The boss gets angryat Crooks anytime the boss is upset. Candy explains, ” The boss gives him hell whenhe’s mad. ” (p. 20) Only at Christmas is Crooks allowed into the bunkhouse.
Whenhe is, Smitty starts a fight with him, even though Crooks is crippled. Crooks knowshe is not important in society because he is black. He explains this to Lennie: “This isjust a nigger talkin’, an’ a busted-back nigger. So it don’t mean nothing, see?” Crookspromises if he had a chance to work for something, he would, such as sharing thelittle farm with George, Lennie, and Candy: ” I ain’t so cripped I can’t work like ason-of-a-bitch if I want to” (p. 76). Crooks remembers how little power he has whenCurley’s wife warns him, “Well, you keep your place then, Nigger.
I could get youstrung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” (p. 81). As a black man, Crooks hasno chance against the social power group. The white men would kill Crooksbecause he is black.
The reader sees this as, “Crooks had reduced himself tonothing” (p. 81). Because the white people require Crooks to stay in his own group,he is lonely. Women are also victim of intolerance and loneliness.
Women are also victims of intolerance, which leads to loneliness. Curley’s wifedreamed of being a movie star, but the man who promised he would help her neverwrote to her . As a woman, during the depression, she has no choice but to marrysomeone who can support her. Society gives jobs and independence to men, andwomen have no power. She is on the bottom of society.
Her marriage to Curley is adisaster because he only cares about himself. He isn’t interested in her at all, “Swellguy, ain’t he? Spends all his time saying what he’s gonna to guys he don’t like, and hedon’t like nobody” (p. 78). Curley’s wife understands that all men think she is anobject.
She uses her beauty to attract men so they will talk to her: “She put herhands behind her back and leaned against the door frame so that body was thrownforward” (p. 31). Curley’s wife needs friends and people to talk to. She tries to findfriends, but everyone turns her away.
Curley is jealous and treats he like apossession to be guarded, but his wife is frustrated: “‘What’s the matter with me?’she cried. ‘Ain’t I got right to talk to nobody?'” (p. 31). Curley’s wife is isolatedbecause she is the only woman on the farm, and is kept out of the social powergroup, so she is terribly lonely.
Even the normal white workers on the farm are lonely because they isolatethemselves from each other. Slim explains that all the men are afraid to show theirfeelings and be close to others: “Ain’t many guys travel around together. I don’tknow why. Maybe ever’body in the whole damn would is scared of each other”(p. 35). Slim describes how the workers choose to he lonely: “I hardly never seentwo guys together.
You know how the hands are, they just come in and get theirbunk and work a month, and then they quit and go out alone. Never seem to give adamn about nobody” (p. 39). George and Lennie know that they are lonely like mostworkers: “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family.
They don’t belong no place . . . . they ain’t got nothing to lookahead to” (p . 13,14).
At the end of the novel, Carlson shows how men shutthemselves off and hide their feelings, when he doesn’t even know George is sad:”Now, what the hell you suppose is eatin’ them two guys?” (p. 107) The white men inthe society power group choose loneliness because they are afraid of showing theirfeeling and fears. Intolerance and fear exist everywhere in humanity, which leads to loneliness in OfMice and Men. Loneliness has many causes. The workers fear showing their feelingsto each other.
They cast out people who are different or weak, such as Curley,Candy Lennie, Crooks and Curley’s wife. The author shows the reader thateveryone causes loneliness in society. Maybe when people understand this aboutreal life , they will be able to end loneliness.Words/ Pages : 1,204 / 24