John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” is a touching novel, which emphasizes the theme of loneliness as it is depicted in the lives of its characters who draw comfort from dreams of a better life. The story takes place, “A few miles south of Soledad (1),” a clever idea as the translation of “Soledad” in Spanish means solitude or loneliness. The setting of Steinbeck’s novel is very important because it took place during the 1930’s, around the time of the Great Depression. The dollar became devalued, unemployment was high, and men had to migrate from farm to farm looking for work. This meant they were never settled in one place long enough to form any relationships. They never had anyone to look to for companionship and protection, therefore making theirs a very lonely existence. The feelings of the workingmen were best described when George explains to Lennie, “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place (13).” Throughout the novel, Steinbeck shows the enormous effect that loneliness has on the characters of Curly’s wife, Candy and Crooks.
As Steinbeck illustrates through Curley’s wife, Candy and Crooks, companionship and a sense of belonging are essential to human happiness. All three characters face problems and negative feelings because of their loneliness and isolation. This loneliness is sometimes due to the unwillingness of society to tolerate those who are different.
Curley’s wife is the only major character Steinbeck does not give a name. Like the ranch- hands, she is desperately lonely and has broken dreams of a better life. For Curley’s wife, the dream centers around Hollywood, and becoming a movie star. The loneliness of Curley’s wife is kept alive by Curley’s jealousy. She dislikes her husband and feels isolated from the other men. She confesses this to Lennie when she say, “I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella (89).” Curley’s wife is so...