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How does the Jungian theory articulate loneliness in Of Mice and Men?

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geszdxc | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 13, 2013 at 7:41 PM via web

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How does the Jungian theory articulate loneliness in Of Mice and Men?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 13, 2013 at 9:00 PM (Answer #1)

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Carl Jung features a very distinct analysis of loneliness that can be seen in Of Mice and Men.  Jung's definition of loneliness is an distinctive one:

Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.

In this light, Jung's theory of loneliness is evident in the characterizations that Steinbeck offers.  For example, Crooks would embody the loneliness that Jungian theory addressed.  Crooks is unable to communicate what is important to him because of a condition of segregation that silences him.  His views about how a man of color is still a human being and requires companionship is something that "others find inadmissible."  Another example of this construction of loneliness can be seen in Curley's wife.  Her insistence on needing someone to talk to and wishing to find someone with whom she can be with as a person is where her loneliness exists.  Her meeting with Lennie helps to provide a respite of loneliness because he is an audience with whom she can communicate, or at least facilitate something associated with it.  In both Crooks and Curley's wife, Jung's theory of loneliness can be seen.

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