How does Steinbeck explore loneliness in the opening two chapters of Of…
How does Steinbeck explore loneliness in the opening two chapters of Of Mice and Men?
Relationship between George and Lennie
Lennie being disabled finds it hard to understand what George is saying. this creates communication barriers for the pair, thus creating a sense of loneliness. Ironic as George is never alone but potentially the loneliest person in the novella.
George goes on to say that him and Lennie are 'different from the other workers because they have each other' friendship is juxtaposed with loneliness
Lennie and George despite being the least lonely personalities in the novella them being marginalized highlights loneliness.
'aint many guys travel around together' this depicts isolation.
the protagonist George can never settle in one place, Lennie's constant trouble making makes
'if i was alone i could live easy' .... 'if you don't want me George i can go off into the hills and find a cave'
The realationship between Candy and his dog
Candy being older as well as disabled, futher explores his vulnerability, thus displaying the reasons behind why he cherishes his relationship with his dog. The realtionship explores the need for companionship and the sense of closeness
"Well-hell! I had him so long. Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him." He said proudly, "You wouldn't think it to look at him now, but he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen." - Candy is standin up for his old dog and reminising on old times when both the dog and himslef where more able and productive
"I'd make a will an' leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, cause I ain't got no realaties or nothin" - Further exagerates the extent to which Candy is loney, even to the point he he willing to leave behind everything in the name of two strangers
"I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to let no stranger shoot my dog." - Candy felt upset and guilty toward the loss of his dog and began to regret letting Carlson carry out the act.
the significance of the context
"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place." lennie and George were migrant workers who went from farm to farm trying to find work as seen int he quote above it was the loneliest job, as they are by themselves and then men if they had families were not ale to bring them. George and lennie were extremely lucky to have each other so they were not alone like the majority of migrant workers
the great depression left many people out of work and in poverty especially men, leaving them desperate for work and alone
the dust bowl intensify peoples loneliness as how people and livestock were killed and crops failed across the entire region. The Dust Bowl intensified the crushing economic impacts of the Great Depression and drove many farming families on a desperate migration in search of work and better living conditions.
the workers themselves lead lonely lives. Although most of the story shows the majority of the men working and living together, these itinerant ranch workers often changed jobs frequently and moved on to other jobs individually. George, and others in the story. With no family, no settled home, and no continuous friendships, they resort to this.
Characteristion of Crooks, Candy and Curley's wife as lonely minorities
based off his race (African American) automatically makes him an outsider "sure. ya see the stable buck's a nigger.:
he is disabled "got a crooked back where a horse kicked him"
He is an old man "tall, stoop-shouldered old man" "the old swamper" "said the old man". being an old man limits him with his capability to work compared to the other workers who are younger and capable of more work
he always had his dog with him, until Carlson wanted to killed him which Candy didn't want because he had been his company for so long "no. i couldn' to that. i had 'im too long"
seeks attention from other men "her body was thrown forward" "she smiled archly and twitched her body"
always looking for Curley rather than being with Curley "i'm lookin' for Curley" doesn't get attention or company from her own husband "i'm tryin' to find Curley, Slim. Well you ain't tryin' very hard. i seen him goin' in your house" She was bored and went looking for attention
Significance of setting
soledad (town) - translates to solitude, immediately isolation and loneliness is a prevalent theme in the novella
California- the great depression during this period, home to many farms
first setting- river where they sleep on the ground. establishes setting. this highlights nature and the peaceful beauty of nature is juxtaposed with the ranch wjere nature is exploited for profit, and men are exploited fro labour.