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During the Great Depression

During the Great Depression, it was not uncommon to become morosely secluded while working. Men would go far away from their families in search of any jobs they could get, with only themselves to confide in; colleagues only filling in the void of friends and family partially. Naturally, John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men, written during this period, would reflect this fact as a major aspect of the story. Loneliness would become the sinew of Of Mice and Men, manifested in some of the story’s main characters: Candy, Crooks, and Curley’s wife. These allusions to loneliness are found throughout the book, mimicking the rampant disease of isolation at the time. Of Steinbeck’s characters, the one who most closely resembled an average man.As Crooks says later on, “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody.” (Steinbeck 36) Crooks was a solitary man as well, being forced by the social boundaries at the time to keep to himself. He could not even make the idle chit-chat that the other men could to occupy themselves and sidestep the preliminary loneliness of working away from family. He was separated not only mentally but physically; “Crooks … had his bunk in the harness room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn.” (Steinbeck 33) Crooks, who hailed from a different line of descent than the men surrounding him, was forced by the ethics of the era to stay separated. He had no one to confide in at all. He never mentions family, only lending to the fact that he has himself alone to talk to at all save when people give orders to him around the ranch. It is loneliness at its most concentrated. Not only was he separated but “He wasn’t wanted in the bunkhouse …” Not only is loneliness defined as being without companions and solitary, but as being “sad because one has no friends or company.” Not being wanted only makes one sad, and having no one to talk to makes Crooks a perfect match for the definition of loneliness. With Crooks, Steinbeck overwhelmingly makes the theme of loneliness readily apparent. Not stopping there, Steinbeck created another character, Curley’s wife, who was engulfed in loneliness. Loneliness during The Great Depression

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