Of Mice and Men Loneliness and Isolation
by John Steinbeck

Several characters are isolated on the ranch including Crooks, for his skin color; Curley’s wife, because she is a woman; and Candy, due to his age and handicap. While Crooks appears to have no friends at all and has developed a certain contentedness with his isolation, Curley’s wife, similarly lacking in friends, seeks out companionship by frequently visiting the men’s bunkhouse under the pretense of looking for her husband. Both Crooks and Curley’s wife find a companion in Lennie who, due to his simple nature, does not recognize the social constraints that have led to the isolation of these individuals. Candy, on the other hand, lives among the ranch hands, yet he continually fears that he will be cast out if deemed useless on the farm. The drowned puppies and Candy’s dog, both killed because they were of little use and were likely to die soon anyways, illustrate the common occurrence of discarding the useless on the farm. Candy’s advanced age, missing hand, and the loss of his dog contribute to his loneliness, despite the fact that he is included in some of the ranch hands’ daily activities.

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