The dark feeling of loneliness is an element of life that is inevitable to all. Like a parasite, loneliness is a virus eating away at the soul. In his novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck exemplifies the loneliness of life on a California ranch. Steinbeck accomplishes this through the use of his characters as well as the name of the town. Crooks, George, and Curley's wife- all hold the sentiment of loneliness in their hearts.
From the beginning of the story the tone of loneliness is depicted through the title of the town, Soledad. Soledad is short for the town's full name, Nuestra Senora de Soledad, which means 'Our Lady of Loneliness'. With a name like this, the town and places around it carry a negative aura. The people who live in the town and all who come to visit are engulfed by its solitude. The characters such as Crooks, George, and Curley's wife struggle to overcome the loneliness while pursuing their dreams. .
Crooks, a sparkling, sharp-witted, black stable hand, who takes his name from his crooked back, leads a solitary life. Crooks" loneliness is a product of rejection from everyone else on the ranch. He is forced to live alone in a barn, where he lives his life in isolation because of the color of his skin. When Lennie visits him in the room, Crooks' reactions reveal the fact that he is lonely. As a black man with a physical handicap, Crooks is forced to live on the border of ranch life. He is not even allowed to enter the white men's bunkhouse, or join them in a game of cards. Crooks inner pain is revealed in his comment to Lennie: "A guy needs somebody--to be near him. 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" (Steinbeck 72-73). Crooks' openness of his inner self and his ability to speak his heart's desire to a stranger illustrates his degree of loneliness.