Critical Essay Sample on Of Mice and Men: The Theme of Loneliness

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Literature review
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Of Mice and Men (1937) is a publication describing the life and experience of George Milton and Lennie Small, who happened to be displaced migrant ranch employees. The author expounds on their life as they associated with close friends. John Steinbeck wrote the book, which highlights part of his experience during the 1920s. The literature incorporates several themes and styles to outline the intended objective of the novel. The setting and comprehensiveness of the story a few miles south of Soledad signify the loneliness associated with the life of the characters. Soledad being the Spanish word for loneliness highlights the ranch as a primitive and isolated place. The theme of loneliness dominates the lives of the characters in Of Mice and Men as described in this excerpt.

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How Does Loneliness Affect the Character of Mice and Men?

Steinbeck incorporates racism as part of what contributes to loneliness as seen when George meets Candy and explains Crook as the stable bucks a nigger. The situation surrounding Crook is complicated since he cannot change his skin color, which contributes to the discrimination he is experiencing such as being locked out of the bunkroom because of his skin color. Crook has no friends and spends most of his is a bunk in a separate nigger room. On the other hand, Candy found solace with his dog, which is also considered a stinking hound. Being lonely makes him spend most of his time with the dog. When Candy’s dog is shot, he feels lonely. Candy says I wish somebody would shoot me when I become useless.

Furthermore, Steinbeck reveals how social life choices and personal ambitions contribute to solitude. Curley’s wife wants to be a movie star, and her hopes were high when a man promised to take her to Hollywood. She ended up marrying Curley when she did not receive any letter. The couple does not love each other, and they end up being lonely. Curley’s wife struggles to make friendship by spending most of the time around the bunkhouse, but she does not make friends. Trying to convince Lennie she says. You can talk to me, do not listen to George. In fact, George and Lennie do not know her real name and throughout the novel, she is referred to as Curley’s wife.

Nevertheless, Steinbeck uses a contrast of the life of George and Lennie to show how one can make choices and avoid being lonely. George and Lennie struggle to enhance their companionship by working towards their dream home on a few acres to plant a garden with vegetables and raise cows. The two shares their ambitions with their friends whom they try to get along with within the ranch. However, the shifting nature of their jobs is a hindering factor. Unlike the other characters, the experience and perception of George and Lennie are different as Lennie notes that, I got you to look after me, and you have got me to look after you.


In conclusion, the theme of loneliness is evident in the novel and most of the characters ascertained that their life was lonely. The main characters George and Lennie struggle not to be miserable because of the nature of their occupation and the norm of an employer who dons not value the life of the workers. The two value their companionship and dream to own a home. The other characters also acknowledge the miserable lives they live while moving from one ranch to another living in bunkhouses. Curley’s wife is married to a man she does not love; Candy lost his dog, and Crooks has segregated himself from the rest of the group. The theme of loneliness plays a major role in reflecting the ambitions and struggle of characters in achieving their dreams.

Quotes About Loneliness in Of Mice and Men

  • “If you don’ want me I can go off in the hills an’ find a cave. I can go away any time.” “No – look! I was jus’ foolin’, Lennie. ‘Cause I want you to stay with me.”

  • “A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ast no questions.”

  • Although there was evening brightness showing through the windows of the bunk house, inside it was dusk.

  • The old man squirmed uncomfortably. “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.

  • “Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.”


Steinbeck, J. (1937). Of Mice and Men. United States: Covici Friede.

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