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Here are lines from the men in "Of Mice and Men" that express the terrible alienation of itinerant men. Steinbeck was most concerned with the importance of brotherhood as a means of giving meaning to the lives of lonely men who are helpless by their isolation:
'I ain't got no people,' George said. 'I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain't no good. They don't have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin' to fight all the time.'
'Yeah, they get men,' Slim agreed. 'They get so they don't want to talk to nobody.'
'A guy needs somebody--to be near him. He [Crooks] whined, '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,' he cried, 'I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he get sick.'
It is because they are so lonely that George and Lennie come together as brother in the dream of having a place. They look out for each other, protecting, looking out for the other's best interest. (See the quotes from the above post.)
Here is a quote that is fully explained.
Quote: “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George.” (Steinbeck, 61)
After Candy’s dog was put down, Candy regretted his decision to put his old dog down. Candy’s dog had to be put down because it was old and in pain. Candy believed that he should have put his dog down himself instead of letting someone else put his dog down. George listens but their conversation is interrupted by Curley walking in. This quote provides slight foreshadowing that George was going to kill Lennie himself instead of letting the other men get to Lennie. The reader knows that the George thinks about what Candy says before he kills Lennie. George realizes that the he would rather put Lennie down himself rather than let the other men kill Lennie. The logic behind this was that George knew that if he didn’t put down Lennie himself then he would constantly wonder “what if”, like Candy did. George knew that Lennie had to be ended and knew that he had to do it himself. He would live forever with that guilt, but he knew that was better than living with the fact that he had not been with his friend to the bitter end.
Here are some significant quotes from Of Mice and Men:
"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place. . . . With us it ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don't have to sit in no bar room blowin' in our jack jus' because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us." (chapter 1, George)
The above quote is a premise for George's -and Lennie's- desire for a place to belong. It is followed up by this next quote, which describes the details of their ideal world:
"All kin's a vegetables in the garden, and if we want a little whisky we can sell a few eggs or something, or some milk. We'd jus' live there. We'd belong there. There wouldn't be no more runnin' round the country and gettin' fed by a Jap cook. No, sir, we'd have our own place where we belonged and not sleep in no bunk house."(chapter 1, George)
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