Of Mice And Men: Loneliness Through Discrimination

All human beings develop relationships with others because those relationships fill particular needs. Those needs may be physical, psychological, or social. More often than not, the social relationships are formed due to loneliness and not “having someone”. In his novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck illustrates the loneliness of California ranch life in the early 1930s. Most characters, including Lennie, Crooks, Candy, and Curley’s wife, experience loneliness and isolation primarily due to prejudice and discrimination. However, they learn to cope with their loneliness through their interest in Lennie and George’s friendship.
Without someone, “don’t make no difference who…” a person “goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody” (71). Crooks experiences isolation because the society he lives in is racist. Finding a personal connection with Lennie, he explains how just as “long’s he’s (a companion is) with you…” you’ll be fine (71). He explains how a guy gets “sick” when he is alone (71). Like Lennie, he has a ‘relationship’ with loneliness. He is rejected from every group and neglected by everyone. For example, not being able to participate in playing cards or playing horseshoes. He also has his own room, which is another form symbolizing denial. He is rejected because he’s “black” and he “stinks”, just as Lennie is because of his mental disability (67).
Candy, like Crooks and Lennie, is a pariah because his age and physical disability make him different from the rest of the ranch hands. When his supposed lifelong companion, his dog, is killed, he is lonelier than he was before. He then had to look elsewhere for friendship. He offers to “…cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some…an’ wash dishes an’ little chicken stuff like that” to show he isn’t useless and to become part of George and Lennie’s friendship, covering it up by saying he wants to be part of their dream (58, 59). Candy, trying to seek some way out of uselessness, works to change “George and.