Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is book of many themes; one that is very prominent is loneliness. Loneliness is common in many people’s lives and that is also true for the lives of the characters of the book. Almost all characters in the book are lonely in one way or the other. The main characters of the book are George and Lennie. Even though these two seem to have each other, they are both lonesome in a way.Lennie’s mental retardation isolates him from many people.
George is the only person he can spend time with and many times their relationship is more then just friendship, but dependency.George feels responsible for Lennie, but knows he would be better off without him.George has to look after Lennie and clean up the messes he makes, because of this they are never able to stay in one place for a long period of time, making George unable to making lasting relationships with anyone besides Lennie. Later in book when Lennie, the only companion he has, is killed, George is left with an even greater loneliness then he had possessed before.
Another character in the book that displays loneliness is Candy. Candy lives on the ranch, but because he is old and missing one hand he is certain that he wont be able to stay there much longer. He explains it, “They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunk house, they’ll put me on the country.” (Steinbeck 63) Candy doesn’t have any family and even though the people on ranch don’t dislike him, they don’t really care about him either. After his dog is killed Candy is left with no real friends, and struggles against his loneliness by sharing in George and Lennie’s dream of owning a ranch.
Another lonely character is Crooks. Crook’s loneliness is mostly caused by racism; many people on the ranch are prejudice against him. Crooks talks about how his skin color deprives him of the things the other workers are able to enjoy, “They play cards in there, but I cannot play because I’m black. They say I stink.” (72) Crooks is forced to live by himself.