Any person can identify with loneliness. During the Great Depression there were many men and some women who were migrant workers. To live a life floating from one job to the next caused a lot of loneliness. These people were alienated into a routine of never being with anyone but themselves most of the time. In John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men the characters portray how outcasts are alienated and stuck in loneliness because of unalterable characteristics. An example of an unalterable characteristic is gender. Curley’s wife is isolated because of her gender by the other men on the ranch. After meeting Curley’s wife for the first time George says, “Jesus what a tramp [Curley’s wife],”(32). George only spoke with Curley’s wife for only a short period of time has already alienated her and dismissed her as a negative stereotype of women during the time period. She was viewed once by George and he thought that of her. The other men’s opinions are even more invalid because they have known her longer, and it’s untrue that she is flirtatious. Curley’s wife’s loneliness is mostly because of these men excluding her due to her gender. When Curley’s wife was found dead, Curley was focused on shooting Lennie, for he just kept repeating, “ I’m gonna shoot….him,” (98). Curley did not even grieve or mourn for his wife. There was no sorrow, only anger. Even as her husband, Curley had alienated his wife until she was just a piece of property for show, not care. Curley’s wife was seen as a symbol of complete alienation; to show this Steinbeck didn’t even give her a name.
While Curley’s wife was mostly objectified and isolated by her gender, the stable hand was lonely because of a different unalterable characteristic. That was his skin color. For example, Crooks must explain to Lennie why he cannot go into the bunkhouse by saying,
“Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I cant play because I’m black,” (68). Crooks is alienated by the other men and is invisible to them because his skin color. He’s viewed as an outcast and not even a real person. He is completely alienated and isolated. Also Crooks while talking to Lennie says, “George can tell you screwy things, and it doesn’t matter. It’s just the talking. It’s just bein’ with another guy,” (71). Crooks, even though his skin color is different, he still feels the need of having someone to talk to. Crooks is really revealing how lonely he is and how much he wants to stop being lonely and be included. In similarity to
Crooks being the only stablehand, Candy has been lonely being the only swamper.
Candy was an outcast of the men on the ranch, like Candy, and allowed his alienation to overcome his…