Friday, 18 March 2011

Of Mice and Men Loneliness Theme

As I'm currently still studying the book Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck and the fact that I've already seen the two films (one from 1939 and the other from 1992), and I'm currently studying the book's theme - and that's lonliness.

In this post, I'm going to be talking a bit about the characters and why they are lonely and the incidents they were involved in: I'm going to "blab" about three different characters in the book who are the supporting characters. Curley's wife, Crooks and Candy.

Of Mice and Men is a brilliant book wonderfully written by John Steinbeck who later became a Nobel Prize winner. It's set during the Great Depression in California, United States. It features two migrant workers named George and Lennie who keep travelling place to place together. They hope that they will own a ranch in the forest of their own some day but they need the money to hopefully afford their dreams.

The first of the characters I'm going to do in order is Curley's wife:

  • Why lonely?
The reasons why Curley's wife is really lonely is because she is the only female at the ranch and that's one of the reasons why it makes her 'awful lonely'. She doesn't like Curley at all and they were only married for two weeks. Curley's wife only married Curley on the night they met - she hoped for a better future but all it was was worse. She tries to talk to some of the farm workers just for a friendly conversation and all the workers never respond to her starting conversations - because they don't want to be in threat with Curley because he could get them 'canned' (fired). When Curley is going out of the ranch to have fun downtown at night - he never invites his wife to come and have fun - he always tells her to stay in the house and not to go outside.

  • Incidents
Curley's wife has been involved in some incidents. Before marrying Curley - she hoped that she would become an actress someday. Even an actor saw her when she was 15 and said that 'she was a natural'. He said that she would put her in 'pitchers' (films) and says that she needs to write a letter to him - although unfortunately she never got the letter and blamed it on 'her old lady'.

Curley's wife was involved in a small incident when she was in Crooks' separate bunkhouse with Lennie and Candy inside. Crooks tells her to leave - but Curley's wife starts to threaten him and calling him "negro" and threatening to have him "lynched" (hanged).

The biggest incident that Curley's wife was involved was towards the end when Lennie was in the barn crying over his dead pup, and then she tries to comfort Lennie and for a while it seemed to work. She let Lennie stroke her hair while they were in a topic of "soft things". Lennie kept on "mussing" up her hair and then she started to panic and then Lennie accidentally broke her neck and she was killed instantly. John Steinbeck said in an interview that Curley's wife wasn't a person but a bad symbol towards poor Lennie.

Now, onto Crooks

  • Why?
Probably the number one reason why Crooks is lonely or isolated from other people is because of his different skin colour - he is black. Because of that, it means that he has to sleep in a seperate bunk house from the other people. He does a different job from the other people leading to his injuries. Since he has a different skin colour from everybody - it means that he can't go into the bunkhouse and play cards because apparentally he "stinks". He doesn't really socialise at all and often spends time in his bunkhouse reading books or magazines and not communicating. Crooks' time is "a guy gets nuts when he has nobody." Altohugh Crooks does take part in horseshoes and is good at it. But, he does seem to be complimented by Candy the swamper.

  • Incidents
In the past, Crooks was involved with an incident that involved a horse. He was kicked in the back of the head by a horse a long time ago and that's why he has a sore back - he is known as "a negro stable back". I suppose that Steinbeck named the character "Crooks" because of the fact he has a crooked back.

While Lennie came into Crook's ranch - and at first Crooks was unwelcoming towards Lennie saying "he ain't got no right to come in here". While Lennie was being friendly towards Crooks, so Crooks invited him inside. At first, Crooks was teasing Lennie because he says that what would Lennie do if George never returned back - at first Lennie was worried and then grabbed Crooks really frightened. Crooks realised that the joke went too far and ended it.

While Lennie and Candy were occupied in Crook's bunkhouse - Curley's wife shows up asking if "Curley was here?" - of course, Candy and Crooks weren't very welcoming towards Curley's wife and asking her to leave while she was talking to Lennie about how Curley's hand got injured (by Lennie of course). So, Curley's wife turns to Crooks and using racial words towards him and threatens to report to the boss (or Curley) and accusing her for being raped (which is all a lie) and have Crooks "sprung up a tree" which meant being executed.

Last but not least - Candy:

  • Why lonely?
One of the reasons why Candy is lonely in the book is because he has no family or surviving relatives left, and his only real friend he had was his dog that was very old and had the dog since it was a puppy. He has an injured hand from the past which meant that he can't do other jobs like the other farmers do - so he is a swamper. His only home that he lives in is the farm - that's the only place he lives. After Candy's dog was shot - Candy was on his own until he joined in with George and Lennie about the dreams of living the farmhouse and that Candy could do chores for them and gardening and said that when he died, he will share his will and money to them.

  • Incidents
Candy has been involved in some incidents in the novel - he told the workers in the horseshoe tournaments as part of the plan as if he only saw Curley's wife dead in the hay. But one of the main incidents was the death of Candy's dog. One night, Carlson couldn't stand the hygiene or the stench of his dog and wanted it killed. Candy was defensive and claims that "he knew him too long". Slim promised Candy that he will give him one of the pups. Candy later lost the case - and Carlson got out his Luger and took him out to kill him. Candy was very upset that the dog was killed because it was his only real friend in the world and he regretted that he should've killed the dog himself.


That's my talk about the Lonliness theme of Of Mice and Men done - if I can, I might post another Lonliness theme with different characters because there are a lot of lonely characters in the book. That's really what the theme is - one of the lines in the book is that "rancers are the lonliest people in the world".

See you folks.

P.S. The Fantasia mosaics will probably not be posted until Sunday because I will be out all day tomorrow with friends at Basingstoke Gym from 10am to 10pm which will be a very busy day.

1 comment:

Eric Noble said...

Very nice. Loneliness and the relationships between people are big themes in the book. I should go back and read the book again.