Crooks, Candy, Lennie, and Curley's wife are lonely people with specific needs. How can I compare the four characters and evaluate what each one would need to end their particular loneliness?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, Crooks is the only black man on the farm and is isolated from the other men because of the color of his skin. He cannot live among the white workers in the bunkhouse and is forced to live alone among the animals in his own room. In order for Crooks to find happiness, racial discrimination on the farm must come to an end. Crooks' loneliness would be lessened if he was treated equally among the other workers on the ranch.

Candy is the old swamper throughout the novella, who is overlooked and perceived as useless on the ranch. Candy is lonely because he is no longer needed on the ranch. He is discriminated because of his age and his handicap. In order for Candy's loneliness to come to an end, his boss would ensure him that his job is secure. Candy could also find support by becoming close with George and Lennie, which is what he attempts to do.

Lennie is lonely because his intellectual disability separates him from the other workers on the ranch. In order for Lennie's loneliness to end, the other workers on the farm must openly accept him by expressing their sympathy and compassion for his intellectual disability.

Curley's wife is lonely because she is the only female on the ranch and nobody will talk to her. The workers on the ranch fear that engaging in a conversation with Curley's wife will jeopardize their jobs, and she has no one that she can relate to on the ranch. Curley's wife might be able to end her loneliness if she gets divorced and leaves the ranch. She is clearly unhappy in her marriage and seeks the company of other women.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question. Crooks, Candy, Lennie, and Curley’s wife are lonely. More specifically, there is something about them that removes them from society. Crooks is the only black man on the ranch. Therefore, he lives alone, and he has no interaction with others. In fact, we find out that no one has visited him in his abode.

Candy is an older man, who has lived past his prime. Therefore, he feels useless. He sees himself as expendable. This separates him from the other men.

Lennie is mentally challenged. So, no one understands him or wants much to do with him. His only friend is George. In the end, he dies by the hand of George in a tragic death.

Finally, Curley’s wife is the lone woman mentioned in the novella. She, therefore, feels alone. Moreover, she is in a loveless marriage. She despises her husband, Curley.  She is also not even given a name. This suggests how insignificant she is on the ranch.

As we can see, Steinbeck’s world is a lonely one. What they each need is compassion and understanding from others. If they had this, their loneliness would come to an end. Ironically, the one who is best off is Lennie, because he has George. This shows what the others need. The tragedy is that no one has it.