Explain how the theme of loneliness affects Candy, Crooks, and Curley's wife in Of Mice and Men.

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In this novella, Steinbeck illustrates ways the every-man-for-himself ethos of capitalism isolates people and causes them to be lonely and fearful.

Candy is lonely and fearful because he is old and disabled. He cannot save enough money for retirement. When his bunkmates want to shoot his old, blind, smelly dog, Candy mourns losing his companion. More than that, he sees in the killing of a creature that is no longer useful a picture of his own end.

Curley's wife, a newlywed teenaged girl already dissatisfied with her marriage to a swaggering bully, is lonely and isolated as the only woman on the ranch. She wants to be admired as a sex object, yet the ranch hands wish very much to steer clear of her because of fear of tangling with Curley. She has utterly unrealistic dreams and fantasies of going to Hollywood and getting into movies. In the meantime, she dresses up in tawdry ways with no one to admire her.

Crooks is a more complicated case, as he is a victim of racism. He is lonely because the other ranch hands reject him as a black. They say he stinks and, as result, he sleeps apart from them in a harness room off the stable. He is often isolated and copes with his fate by reading.

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Steinbeck explores the theme of loneliness throughout his classic novellaOf Mice and Men, and the characters of Candy, Crooks, and Curley's wife embody the extensive loneliness on the ranch in Soledad, California during the Great Depression. As an elderly swamper, Candy experiences loneliness and worries about being let go in the near future. Candy's closest partner is his ancient dog, which struggles to survive on the ranch.

Tragically, Carlson petitions Slim about shooting the old dog and kills it outside of the bunkhouse. Without his dog, Candy struggles to overcome loneliness as he becomes increasingly isolated on the ranch. Candy is also too old to travel into town with the other men and stays back at the ranch when the workers leave. Candy even attempts to align himself with George and Lennie in the hope of avoiding loneliness.

As the only black worker on the segregated ranch, Crooks is prohibited from sleeping in the bunkhouse with the white workers and lives an isolated life in a small room attached to the barn. Crooks is treated like an outcast on the farm and reveals the extent of his loneliness when he explains to Lennie that his skin color is the primary reason he is voiceless. Crooks admits to being extremely lonely and spends the majority of his leisure time reading by himself in his small room. Crooks resents the fact that he cannot live or interact with the other workers in the bunkhouse and is possibly the loneliest person on the ranch.

Given that Curley's wife is the only female on the ranch, and her husband is an oppressive influence in her life, Curley's wife is an extremely lonely person. Curley attempts...

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to prevent his wife from interacting with the workers, and she seeks attention from the men. Curley's wife has no other women in her life, and her husband does not allow her to leave the ranch.

Curley's wife regrets marrying her authoritative, aggressive husband and can only have a meaningful conversation with Lennie, who struggles with an intellectual disability. She is forced to sneak around the ranch in order to talk to the workers, who view her as a "tart" and do not want to speak to her. Overall, Candy, Crooks, and Curley's wife are lonely individuals who are isolated and struggling to interact with the other workers.

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In Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, loneliness is one of the primary themes. George and Lennie manage to stave off loneliness for much of the book because they have each other, thus demonstrating the importance of companionship. When they reach the bunkhouse and meet the other men, the theme of loneliness becomes quickly evident. Three characters who portray this theme are Crooks, Candy, and Curley's wife. Crooks demonstrates loneliness because he is the only black man on the ranch and he lives in his own room, separated from the others. He does not have anyone who is considered to be his equal, so he spends much of his time alone. Candy is the old man on the ranch who has lost his hand and fears that he will eventually be tossed out because he will not be useful anymore. Candy's dog is his companion for part of the book, but when the dog is shot, Candy is very alone. His fear of being cast out due to his age and physical handicap cause him to feel further isolated and lonely. Candy is so desperate to feel needed and cared for that he offers to pay the down payment for the farm with George and Lennie. Curley's wife is an interesting character due to the fact that she is beautiful and flirtatious. One would imagine that she would not be lonely because of her beauty. That being said, Curley threatens all of the men with a beating if they speak to her. This makes Curley's wife feel extremely isolated and makes her act increasingly flirtatiously, which only causes the other men to avoid her more so that they would not get beaten up. Curley's wife eventually seeks attention from Lennie because she is so desperate for interaction. Her extreme loneliness and desire for attention ultimately causes her death. Steinbeck's use of the theme of loneliness shows that people need meaningful human interaction and that loneliness can affect people of all types.

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How is the theme of loneliness developed in this chapter? Think about the characters Lennie, Crooks, Candy and Curley's wife.

You have not specified which section you are referring to and rather than give you exactly the answer you are after I am going to give you some pointers for you to refer back to the section, re-read it and pick out some quotes.

Loneliness is certainly one of the key themes of this novel. George introduces this theme early in the novel when he tells Lennie that their job as ranch hands is one of the loneliest jobs there is. Those who are dependent upon migratory labour rarely have any chance to develop friendships as they travel alone and do not stay in any one place for long. As the story develops, all of the characters you have mentioned confess their deep loneliness. It is interesting to note that they confess these feelings to complete strangers - hinting at the desperation they feel to find some friendship. Strangers must do where there are no friends. Each of these characters are searching for a friend, or as Crooks says, "someone to help them measure the world". However, tragically, the novel seems to suggest that this kind of friendship is impossible to achieve in the world of Of Mice and Men. For George, his dream of combatting loneliness through his relationship with Lennie dies with the gunshot that kills Lennie, and we predict that he will spend the rest of his days alone.  

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