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Of Mice and Men

            Of Mice and Men focuses on the tragedy of human loneliness. Throughout the novel this theme of loneliness is brought forth through the wanderings of its various characters. Virtually all of these characters move from ranch to ranch in search of jobs and rarely stay on a ranch long enough to form true bonds with one another. They express their unhappiness and yearning for companionship as a result of this lifestyle many times as the story unfolds.
             Crooks, the black stable-hand in the novel, exemplifies loneliness at many levels. As a result of his black skin he is excluded from participating in activities with the other workers and is confined to the stables. His sadness and loneliness are made clear in chapter four when Lenny visits his bedroom in the barn while the rest of the men are in town. Lenny innocently wanders into the bedroom of Crooks and is greeted by a great deal of hostility and resentment. A conversation then ensues in which Crooks tries to explain to Lenny what it is like not having anyone to talk to by saying things like, "A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an?he gets sick. (pg. 73)? Crooks then proceeds to scare Lenny into thinking that George isn't coming back from town and is going to leave him. It is clear that now that Crooks has the upper hand in a relationship he is using it to show someone else how it feels to be lonely and excluded all the time. The passionate reaction he gets from Lenny after making such accusations reinforces the strong bond between Lenny and George, making the ending all the more ill-fated.
             Curly's wife is also often found begging for attention and affection due to her lonely lifestyle. Often she can be found in search of her husband Curly but it is quite clear that this is simply a cover for wanting to interact with the ranch workers.

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