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How does the account of Whitey's quitting contribute to the book's mood of alienation...

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user292601 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 30, 2013 at 2:07 PM via web

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How does the account of Whitey's quitting contribute to the book's mood of alienation in Of Mice and Men?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 30, 2013 at 5:51 PM (Answer #1)

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The fact that Whitey quits apparently for no reason, and no one thinks to question it, reinforces the alienation of the migrants.

George says being a migrant worker is a lonely life.  Most guys don’t have anyone.  George and Lennie are the exception, because they travel together.  The example of the finicky eater Whitey who quit for apparently no reason shows that the life was a lonely one.

"Why... he... just quit, the way a guy will. Says it was the food. Just wanted to move. Didn't give no other reason but the food. Just says 'gimme my time' one night, the way any guy would." (ch 2)

By describing Whitey’s quitting as nothing unusual, Candy reinforces the mood of alienation and loneliness.  Whitey was clearly lonely. He stood out from the others, and that made him even lonlier.

Few of the men on the ranch have any real connection with anyone else.  Whitey's situation is all too common.  Migrants went from place to place, never putting down roots anywhere.  Whitey may have used the food as an excuse to leave because he did not feel like he belonged, or because he never felt like he belonged anywhere.

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