Essays on East of Eden
Essays on The Pearl

Of Mice and Men - Essay 14


In the novel Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck used George and Lennie's relationship and the theme of hope to point out the loneliness in the novel. The novel starts off and is set in Soledad which means lonely. At the beginning they get a job working on a farm together. Lennie is a little retarded and has great physical strength that isn't too controllable. As they work from ranch to ranch, Lennie relies on George for guidance and help. Rather than them both wasting their earnings, they try to save it in the hope of buying a place of their own. While working at one ranch they meet a cow worker named Candy who tries to help them financially. Before this dream can happen, Lennie kills the wife of the boss's son. As the novel concludes George has to kill Lennie for his benefit. Later he goes into town and abandons his dream by spending his money.

The main cause of George and Lennie's lonesomeness and that of all the people at the ranch was a lack of a home. The only thing that kept the two men going was their friendship with each other and the hope to soon get a place of their own. In the novel George and Lennie mention what their dream place is going to be like: "Someday we're gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a little house, and a couple of acres and a cow and some pigs and ---" (Steinbeck 16). Throughout the book the reference to having a place of their own is stressed. It is a deeper dream for Lennie than George because he is always asking to talk about it. It is here where the friendship between both men is starting to develop as they share the same basic dream.

In the early stages of the book it is brought to the reader's attention that before George and Lennie met that they didn't really have anyone there for them. They didn't have any family members around to give them support. As farmers that gave them the chance to make a friendship: "Guys Like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world, they got no family" (Steinbeck 15). After they start talking then it's clear that they both don't want to be alone their whole life. Steinbeck points out that most of the people that work on the ranch don't have anything to look ahead to. George and Lennie want to have something to look forward to and that is why they hope that it won't happen to them: "With us it ain't like that, We got a future" (Steinbeck 15). This is where the hope of them accomplishing their dreams comes into play. Later Lennie goes on to tell that it won't happen to them because they have each other to look over each other. That is where it is showing their friendship covering up the true loneliness of the characters.

The novel suggests doubts of someone getting their dream many times. This is where the character Crooks joins in. He states that he has seen a hundred of men in his time and that everyone has a hunger of a piece of land in their head and none of them ever get it. He uses the metaphor to going to heaven that not everyone gets to go and that not everyone gets some land: "I seen guys nearly crazy with loneliness for land" (Steinbeck 89). Here it suggest that George and Lennie might not get a place, but they refuse to believe it. The last thing that they want is to be alone and that is why they hope nothing will happen: "I tell you a guy gets too lonely, then he gets sick" (Steinbeck 89). Lennie and George reassure that they won't be alone, and all of their dreams of having a place will come true.

George and Lennie have a few differences in the novel. However they join forces because they need a friendship and it would be easier to raise money for their dream: "The Hopelessness is suggested, however, in the opening chapter when George and Lennie's conversation starts it revels that they had to run away from their last job" (French 89). It is well known that they are afraid of what might happen if their plan doesn't come through for them: "George and Lennie are afraid of losing their jobs" (French 90). Basically this means that they are afraid of losing the dream of their life and that is the last thing they want to happen.

Another use of loneliness in the novel is when George and Lenny meet a man on the ranch named Candy. Candy doesn't really have a family, but he has a dog that he had his whole life. Carlson, a man on the ranch that didn't like it killed it. Candy gets depressed and out of loneliness, tries to join into George and Lennie's dream of having a place of their own: "S'pose I went in with you guys'" (Steinbeck 65). Old Candy who was afraid of being alone wanted to have some friends. He offered to give up everything he had so that he wouldn't end up alone.

"Of Mice and Men is the story of a man in a fallen world. They were set to the challenge to break the wandering and loneliness and return to the perfect world which was their dream" (Bloom 145). George and Lennie were committed to accomplishing the impossible in this case. To have land and not to be alone. "One of the themes of Of Mice and Men is that men fear loneliness, which they need someone to be with and to talk to who will offer understanding and companionship" (Bloom 146). All that they had was their little friendship, a dream and a lot of hope. In the reality of it all that wasn't enough to make it come true. Steinbeck's setting shows an act of a man's isolation and Soledad translated in English means loneliness. Steinbeck functions their friendship to point out the loneliness that is really there. "The influence of George and Lenny's mutual commitment, and of their dream has broken the grip of loneliness and solitude in which they exist" (Bloom 147). Even though they don't realize it there is a fear of being alone.

In all of the hopeless longing for a home George and Lennie are like other people on the ranch. In their friendship for each other they aren't like other people: "Steinbeck makes the use of their close relationship to point up the loneliness of the typical ranch hand. Finally at the end of the novel when George is forced to shoot Lennie, it is to emphasize the aloneness of the typical ranch hand" (Dusenbury 346). Both of the characters were afraid of being alone and they always hoped that their dream of having a place would come true.

There were excessive points where the proceeds of George and Lennie were complete out of loneliness. In the novel a home remains a dream, and their friendship covers up the loneliness that is there. The characters are isolated besides each other and they have never really had a companionship or other friends. In Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck used George and Lennie's relationship to point out the loneliness in the novel.