How is George alienated in Of Mice and Men? How would this be expressed in an outline form?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the central themes in Of Mice and Men is that of alienation. Characters have their various modes of alienation. For instance, Candy is alienated because he lost his hand and can no longer perform his proper work; he has become second rate. Lennie is alienated because his mental deficiencies keep him from functioning in a social world in an acceptable, unsupervised manner.

George has his own form of alienation. Of Mice and Men is set during the Great Depression, a time when want and misery forced people, in some degree, to turn their backs on others--to isolate themselves--and struggle only for their own survival (one wonders if America ever overcame this feeling and reunited again).

George is different from this because he watches over Lennie and takes care of him. This is due to George's personal nature and a promise he made. This commitment to this kind of an association with Lennie causes George no end of trouble, from inconvenient to serious, and people wonder why he does it.

In the Great Depression era mentality, this wondering George a liability--no one wants his troubles visited upon themselves--and a suspicious oddity to be distrusted. In addition to which, he is shunned because very few people want to be associated with Lennie. These factors all combine to create George's alienation.

I. Theme: Alienation
a. Candy
b. Lennie
II. Thematic Setting
a. Great Depression era
b. Want and misery
c. Survival struggle
III. Interpersonal dynamic
a. Fend for self
b. Turn back on others
c. Isolated
d. Suspicious, distrustful
IV. George
a. Defies mileu (era)
b. Continues humanity of caring
1. Because of promise made
2. Because of personal nature
c. Suffers small and large troubles from association with   Lennie
d. Suffers socially from association with Lennie
e. Isolated
f. Alienated