The Great Depression was the longest lasting economic downturn in American history preceding World War II; starting in the year 1929, and lasting until 1939. Throughout the Great Depression many people feel a type of loneliness. Adults during this time are trying to find jobs, and when they found a job they most likely have to travel, causing them to leave their family and feel some type of loneliness. Loneliness is defined as some type of sadness because a person doesn't have friends/company. In Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men he shows throughout the book that loneliness can drive people sick if they're different from others, and the negative power loneliness had on people; Steinbeck shows this through the characters Crooks, Candy, and Curley's Wife.
Being black during the Great Depression was not fun at all, especially when you're the only black person on a farm. In the novella Of Mice and Men Crooks is the only black person on the farm, which automatically makes him different from the others. Crooks has nobody, nobody comes to talk to him, nor do they come to visit him, "A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin' books or thinkin', an' he got nothing to tell him what's do an' what ain't so. Maybe if he sees somethin' he don't know whether it's right or not. He can't turn to some other guy and ast him if he sees it too. He can't tell. He got nothing to measure by. I seen things out here. I wasn't drunk. I don't know if I was asleep. If some guy was with me, he could tell me I was asleep, an' then it would be all right. But I just don't know." (Steinbeck page 73). All Crooks wants is somebody to talk to, and to have there when needed. In the novella Crooks is having a hard time trusting people due to many years of racism; but his loneliness forces him to acquiesce when Lennie tries talking to him and coming in his barn. While Crooks is talking to Lennie he starts to somewhat vent, and is also trying to give Lennie a life lesson.