Nature of Loneliness, Dreams, and Friendship in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The novel Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck is set during the 1930s in the Great Depression. Over these weeks, my English class and I read the novel to gain an insightful understanding of how society utilized and mistreated people who have a disability. I believe Of Mice and Men represent a parable about what it means to be human. Steinbeck’s story of George and Lennie’s ambition of owning their ranch, and the obstacles that stand in the way of that ambition, reveal the nature of loneliness, dreams, and friendship. The characters that I have selected to support my responses are George, Lennie, and Curley’s wife.
From the novel, the specific theme that we develop a better comprehension is loneliness. Loneliness possesses the power to socially isolate a person, as well as dealing a damaging toll on an individual’s emotional mindset. This is revealed when George and Lennie are reaching camp during the night. George explains their relationship and regards their future dream. “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place…” (P.G.7). In this speech, George relates that loneliness is significantly responsible for much of their suffering. George is lonely because he does not have a life away from Lenny, as the presence of Lenny is dominating his life. Therefore, we gain a more thorough understanding from Of Mice and Men that loneliness can undoubtedly affect an individual’s life.
Another example of loneliness being shown in of Mice and Men is when Curley’s wife is flirting with all of the men. This intentionally fulfills her needs of having someone to talk with. This deep loneliness is utilized to bring out the theme of companionship. “Well- she got the eye.”. (P.G.14). This quote indicates that Curley’s wife possesses a very sad life, as she is the only female on the ranch, and her husband has forbidden anyone to talk with her. Hence, she responds to her loneliness by flirting with the ranch hands. This teaches the readers to appreciate how the melancholy can affect yourself and others around you.
Another essential event we comprehend from of Mice and Men is dreams. Dreams intentionally allow an individual to promote their future happiness and help them feel like more active participants in their lives. This has been indicated through George and Lennie’s dream to own their farm. “All kin’s a vegetable in the garden, and if we want a little whisky, we can sell a few eggs or something, or some milk. We’d jus’ live there. We’d belong there.” (P.G.28). This shows that all George and Lennie desired is to possess a place where they feel they belong and do not have to leave. These are the things that are missing from their lives, expressing that the reason they need the dream is to have some hope that their lives may improve. Hence, from Of Mice and Men, we gain insight about dream can considerably affect an individual’s behaviors and mood and even their relationships between others.
Moreover, the theme of the dream was also illustrated in the book when Curley’s wife told Lennie that she once had the dream of becoming a movie star before the marriage with Curley. “Well, a show come through, an’ I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show.” (P.G.33). Curley’s wife signifies how her dream is a type of escapism for her. Her was different to George and Lennie’s because hers is grander. However, the dreams are similar in that the characters rely on them as a way of coping with the difficulties in their lives. Overall, dreams represent a way for an individual to be engaged and motivated to carry on with their struggles in life.
The following event that we become knowledgeable of from Of Mice and Men is friendship. The novella shows the relationship between George and Lennie by displaying how they attempt to achieve the American Dream by working together. The reliance on each other that these characters maintain emphasizes how the friendship between them allows them to survive. “Because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.” (P.G.7). This conversation between George and Lennie suggests that even during the harsh economic times, as long they have one another they can overcome any obstacles. Thus, the friendship between George and Lennie highlights how important friendship is in maintaining both them and the novella together.
However, other men cannot recognize the relationship between Lennie and George. The other men on the ranch are suspicious of George and Lennie’s relationship and are unable to understand that it is a sincere friendship. “I said what stake you got in this guy? You talkin’ his pay away from him?” “No, ‘course I ain’t. Why ya think I’m sellin’ him out?” “Well I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy…” (P.G.11). The boss was confused about the friendship between George and Lennie like why they would travel together. This demonstrates how the ranch guys cannot comprehend the benefits of friendship as they have been isolated for a long period.
In conclusion, the novel Of Mice and Men manifests that through George and Lennie’s determination of owning their ranch, a variety of challenges have been occurring which signifies the nature of loneliness, dreams, and friendship. Loneliness is revealed in the story when George’s life is taken away by Lennie’s presence, as he invariably has to keep watching him and prevent Lennie from exposing something from their past. Loneliness is also expressed through Curley’s wife, as she flirts with other men on the ranch because she has no one to talk to. Additionally, dreams are indicated in the novella by George and Lennie’s inspiration for owning a farm together and Curley’s wife wanting to become an actress. Ultimately, friendship is shown through the reliance the protagonists possess to one another. However, the men on the ranch could not acknowledge this relationship between them. Throughout reading Of Mice and Men, we gain knowledge of various essential aspects of the American Dream and the nature of human dreams and aspirations and the forces that work against them.