The Theme of Isolation in Of Mice and Men

Updated August 1, 2022

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The Theme of Isolation in Of Mice and Men essay

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A common theme found in Of Mice and Men is of isolation, the state of being alone and secluded from others. Steinbeck offers many instances in which the characters feel lonely, but I at Crooks is the loneliest. He has no actual name, due to his lack of importance in the farm, but is given the nickname “Crooks” by the other ranch hands because he is crippled. In addition, he is commonly referred to as the stable buck or a nigger and is discriminated against for being black. Racism was popular during this time period and blacks were not accepted in society since people believed that whites were superior to them. Looks aside, Crooks is a very intelligent man. His room is scattered with piles of books, showing that he has plenty of free time due to his lack of a social life. If it weren’t for his skin color, Crooks would likely be much more successful. He works, lives, and sleeps alone in the stables. This is to segregate him from everyone else on the ranch.

When Crooks first meets Lennie, he immediately rejects him. “Well, I got a right to have a light. You go on get outta my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room” (Steinbeck 75). He does not yet know that Lennie is unlike the other men and he is so accustomed to being isolated that he doesn’t know how to react around people. Crooks calls Lennie “nuts” because he does not believe that Lennie will be able to buy his own land along with George and Candy. “An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head” (Steinbeck 81). This shows that he has no hope for the future and that he has no belief that men from the ranch will make it to heaven.

I feel that the main idea of the story is that everybody needs someone to talk to in order to survive. Curley’s wife died from her loneliness since she had no one to confide in. Crooks says that he feels sick sometimes because he is so lonely. It is apparent that he isn’t going to live a happy life and will probably die soon. Finally, Candy is a lonely old man associated with his dog. All in all, many of the characters in this novel are lonely but what makes Crooks different from them is the fact that he doesn’t have anyone to talk to.

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