Loneliness in the Story of Mice and Men

In the story Of Mice and Men, I found many themes, but one stuck out to me the most as being the main theme of the story. Loneliness. This theme gives the story the distinct feeling it gives the reader.

Even though in the story George and Lennie are always with another person we can still see they are lonely. They are not lonely in the traditional sense but they are not understood leaving them completely alone in there mind. George cannot go out and have fun because he feels he must take care of Lennie. In the story, George says “God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an’ work, an’ no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want. Why I could stay in a cathouse all night.” He’s saying that he feels trapped by Lennie and that if he was without Lennie he could have a good time.

Lennie is also lonely but not in the same way as George. Lennie is not understood because he himself does not understand. Because of Lennie’s disability, he is very childlike in the way he thinks of the world. Around him are men that are trying to have good lives. Men trying to make a living. Men that are serious about what they do. Lennie doesn’t understand how living away from George really is, this makes him confused and he does not understand what to do or what he might be doing wrong.

Even some other less essential characters show signs of being lonely. Crooks is a black man that tends to the horses. Because of his skin color, he is discriminated against. He is not allowed to sleep in the bunkhouse and is repeatedly called a “Nigger”. Crooks really does not want to be lonely but he insists on be alone because it is the safest way to be for him. Crooks does try to come out and talk to Lennie but Lennie does not understand, pushing Crooks deeper into his hole of loneliness.

Another smaller thing that could be considered loneliness is in the character of Charlson. Charlson lacks remorse. We see two main instances of this. One of these instances is in around the middle of the story when he tells the old swamper named Candy that he needs to put down his dog so Charlson takes his dog out back and shoots him. Candy is devastated but Charlson doesn’t feel bad at all. Another time comes at the end of the book. Lennie accidentally breaks one of the head of the farm’s sons wife. George knows that if the other men find him they will kill him and make him suffer, so George takes it upon himself to make Lennie die a peaceful death, so he shoots him in the back of the head. When Slim tells George that they’re gonna go get a drink. When Charlson sees this he says ‘Now what the hell do you suppose is eatin’ them, two guys?’. Showing that he doesn’t care at all for what just happened.

Overall I really enjoyed the story. I do think that my class was exposed to in at the correct time in our schooling. I did really like this book and I have noted the way John Steinbeck writes.