As a result from the Wall Street Crash in the world’s stock markets, 1930’s America had become a place of isolation and hardships. It was during this period that author John Steinbeck set his novel “Of Mice and Men” in attempt to highlight the struggle of man’s desperate search for work in which the compassionate nature of men was lost. This made loneliness almost inevitable because every man was trapped in their own hole trying to dig their way out.
Back in the 1930’s, where this book was set, society was still being affected by Jim Crow laws, which meant blacks and white had separate facilities for living and socializing. Crooks, being the only colored worker on the ranch, was constantly oppressed by his co-workers by describing him as only a nigger. The white men of the ranch didn’t bother to include Crookes in their social activities. “They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black,”(60) he said. This quote shows that Crooks felt the pain of rejection more than he let others see it, which plays into the theme of loneliness since nobody was willing to listen to a black man. And, when Lennie enters Crooks room, he immediately tells Lennie he has no right to be in there, but eventually gives into loneliness. As the two men settle in, Crooks starts talking and talking, not even caring if Lennie was listening or not because he was so desperate for a companion. Crooks says to Lennie, “ A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long he’s with you. I tell ya a guy gets lonely an’ he gets sick.”(71) In a way, this point made by Crooks shows that George and Lennie support each other from being lonely, even if Lennie has the mental capacity of a small child. As they’re on the subject of George, Lennie decides to tell Crooks about their dream of one day owning their own share of land/ Upon hearing this, Crooks exclaims, “ An’ never a God damn one of ‘em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Everybody wants just a little piece of lan’. It’s just in their head.”(74) While Crooks calls Lennie nuts for having such an improbable dream, he’s still willing to listen to his “crazy talk” because no one has taken the time to conversate with him latelty.
Each character in this novel has exhibited loneliness due to their own personal reasons, but it’s apparent that both Candy and Lennie are isolated by their disabilities. Candy, once and old ranch worker, is now confined to the mundane job of cleaning because he had lost his hand in an accident for which he’s constantly judged by the other men of the ranch. The only thing that can keep him company and doesn’t judge him for being old and disabled is his dog, whom is also very old. Carlson, another worker on the ranch, harshly suggests that the dog should be put down and does so himself. When Candy realizes he’s weak and not of much use on the farm, just like his deceased dog, he says, “You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody ‘d shoot me. But they won’t…I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs.”(60) Because of this, Candy clings onto George and Lennie’s dream, hoping that one day, the two men will take him to their own little place since “ they’ll can me(him) purty soon. Jus as soon as I (he) can’t swamp out no bunk houses...”(60) Candy’s spirit remains hopeful until he arrives upon the scene where the bosses wife and Lennie had their last talk just a few minutes before. As he laid eyes upon her lifeless body, his spirit was once again crushed. “You done it, di’n’t you? I