However, there are particular people in the ranch who have lonelier lives than others. For instance, Candy. He is referred as the old man in the story. He is a character who stages an interesting role in the book. He also holds many of the books important themes, and amongst them is the significant theme of isolation. In the scene with Candy’s dog, Candy tries to hold on to one of the few things that can keep him company, however the rest of the bunk house, in particular Carlson, thinks that the dog is “… no good to you, Candy.”(44) His reasons are that he is old and has got no teeth. This appears to be almost like a description of Candy not his dog as Steinbeck has used a clever metaphor where Candy’s dog represents Candy himself. Carlson does not seem to understand that although the dog may be unable to work and is useless to Candy in a physical sense, the dog is still a piece of Candy’s life and can be considered as Candy’s one and only family. This shows that the farm hands’ compassion is severely limited and is incredibly short sighted, only looking for the physical benefits of something without looking at the emotional value. This is further enforced by the way Carlson reacts to Lenny’s death at the end of the book, “Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys?” Carlson doesn’t understand that although Lenny was a person who wasn’t particularly useful to anyone because of his disability, the two characters, George and Slim had an emotional connection with Lenny and therefore it would be understandable for them to be saddened by Lenny’s death. Something else to point out about this scene is the way Lenny is killed,”...a bullet to the back of his head”, exactly the same way Carlson had killed Candy’s dog.
The loneliness in the story is what causes most of the conflict in the story. First off, Curley's wife is the only woman on the ranch and the only female character in the entire novel. Also, Curley is very possessive of her, as if she is something that he owns but that everyone else desires. Curley wants the fearful men on the ranch to know that he has something valuable that they are prohibited from. Curley prohibits her from socializing with the other men, and therefore she has no friends. Because she is so lonely, she is always looking for attention and putting great effort into her style (looks). Her appearance portrays her desperation to be noticed. She is not able to make any connections with the men on the ranch. Everyone