Lennie; It Shows ThThe world in the 1930’s was a very uncaring place. Due to the depression, many families were split up, so loneliness was running ramped. Ranch hands were thought of as the loneliest people in the world “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world” (page 15). Loneliness wasn’t the only kind of sadness and suffering that was endured by the workers. Lost dreams, discrimination and being disabled were only some of the problems faced. But these were not only limited to workers, women also felt these kinds of sadness and suffering a lot. In the book, Crooks, Curley’s wife and Candy are the main examples of these.
Crooks is a black stable hand who has been called Crooks due the hunched back he has after a horse kicked him. In the 1930’s, being black was an extreme disadvantaged. You would be discriminated for your colour and this would lead to loneliness. Crooks was always being blamed for everything that went wrong even though he was hardly involved. The boss picked on him because of his colour “An’ he give the stable buck hell” (page 21) “Ya see the stable bucks a nigger” (page 21). Candy says this when George and Lennie arrive at the ranch and after Candy said that Crooks was a nigger, George accepted the boss’ treatment of Crooks. Another time Steinbeck talks about Crooks being discriminated was when he writes about the Christmas party where Smitty took after Crooks and the men did not stop the fight because Crooks was black, but did not allow Smitty to use his feet in the fight due to Crooks’ disability.
Crooks has a room to himself because the guys won’t let him into the bunkhouse because he smells. This makes Crooks a very lonely man. Candy says “Got books in his room” (page 21) as if that is some sort of replacement for the company of another person. “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody” (page 72) “I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick” (page 72). This Crooks way of trying to explain to Lennie that Lennie is a lucky man to a friend like George, and he is also saying something about his own death to loneliness.
Curley’s wife experiences nearly, if not more sadness and suffering than Crooks. She is discriminated like Crooks, but for a different reason. She is a woman in a man’s work place as George says it “Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain’t no place for a girl” (page 52). This also makes her lonely like Crooks, and is always trying to interact with the ranch hands “Ever’ time the guys is around she shows up” (page 52). The ranch hands don’t want to talk to her because they think that a job is better than none “She’s gonna make a mess” (page 52) “She’s jail bait” (page 52). While most of the ranch hands have a dream, so does Curley’s wife. Her dream is a lost dream of becoming a movie star “Coulda been in the movies” (page 87). Her lost dream makes her feel like there is nothing to live for and that is why she married Curley.
Candy’s dog was Candy’s only true friend. After he allowed Carlson to kill his dog, he losses the only thing that he has every truly loved. Candy feels a lot of loneliness on the ranch because he is an old disabled man. He has no family and after his dog is gone, he has no one. Because he is disabled, people look at him differently to a man who isn’t disabled. He is discriminate because he is look at as a swamper who is nothing more and is not spoken to by many people. He looks at Curley’s wife as a woman who doesn’t know her place, even though she is much like him. He has a feeling that he will be sacked soon because of his disability and age “They’ll can me purty soon” (page 60) so he joins in on the dream’ of George and Lennie, as a way to escape his loneliness.
Loneliness is an inevitable fact of life that not even the strongest can avoid. Throughout the story, Of Mice and Men, the reader discovers the many sources of solitude, primarily being discrimination. Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife all suffer the previous injustices resulting in loneliness and isolation. They learn to cope with their loneliness through their interest in Lennie and George’s friendship. Each of these three characters confides in Lennie with the confidence that he will not tell. George also, in a way, confides in Lennie. As Crooks puts it so well “A guy can talk to you an’ be sure you won’t go blabbin” (page 70). The death of Lennie and Curley’s wife are just a part of the bigger picture of sadness and suffering in the book.