In John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, is George lonely? Find evidence to support this in the text.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

George is a deeply lonely man. A central paradox of the book is that George's loneliness is compounded rather than being alleviated by his codependent relationship with Lennie. His self-esteem is also bound up with the role of caretaker.

George takes pride in the idea that he is caring...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

George is a deeply lonely man. A central paradox of the book is that George's loneliness is compounded rather than being alleviated by his codependent relationship with Lennie. His self-esteem is also bound up with the role of caretaker.

George takes pride in the idea that he is caring for Lennie even as he bitterly rues being held back by him. He talks frequently about the possibility of being alone. This idea is, in its way, about as realistic as the farm and rabbits they dream of having. He complains to Lennie that he is the cause of George's problems.

God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go and get a job an' work, an' no trouble....An' whatta I got,'... 'I got you!

Part of him understands that having a fundamentally solitary nature is one thing that connects him to Lennie, however; he includes Lennie in his self-categorization, saying they are similar.

Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

[eNotes editors are only permitted to answer one question per posting. If you have additional questions, they must be posted separately.]

In John Steinbeck's story, Of Mice and Men, George must be lonely. Because of Lenny's unusual "personality," or "disadvantages," the two men are required to be forever on the move to avoid trouble. When the story begins, they have just had to skip town because Lennie had gotten in trouble for wanting to touch a girl's dress, scaring her half to death.

Even though George has committed himself to caring for Lennie, and is compassionate, naturally he becomes impatient and annoyed when Lennie fails to comprehend the importance of their behavior—that their very existence relies on being able to work.

But for all the things he cannot remember, Lennie remembers "the rabbits." This is a story, like a fairytale, that George obviously recites to Lennie often, and it is very telling with regard to George's observations of their emotional situation.

Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place. They come to a ranch an' work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they're pounding their tale on some other ranch. They ain't got nothing to look ahead to.

Lennie then asks George to explain how it is different with them. George continues, explaining that they have a future, someone to talk to who cares about them, they don't go to bars and throw away their money. And someday they will have their own little place to call home.

And even while Lennie delights in the idea that each of them has someone to talk to, for George it seems more like he has someone to watch over and worry about, and no place to call his own. I think that George is lonely.

This is also supported by one of the book's themes: alienation and loneliness. These men don't fit in anywhere, and they travel a lonely road, living a lonely life, as many people did during the Great Depression.

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team