of mice and men outline

John Steinbeck uses various characters such as Crooks, Lennie, and Curley’s wife to portray the theme of alienation and loneliness in his novel, Of Mice and Men. I. Among the main characters in the book, Lennie’s distinct mental and physical qualities alienate him from the others.

His mental handicap and “lack of adult intelligence” prevent him from being a successful worker.
It is difficult for Lennie to understand and relate to the events occurring around him, resulting in his incapability of living in the society.  Lennie’s strong physical traits is “too powerful for the weaker, unsuspecting creatures.”

His strength leads to the accidental deaths of the mice and puppies who he enjoys stroking. The potential he has for violence causes the destruction of innocent people, such as Curley’s wife. The only colored worker, Crooks, lives alone and is excluded from all the others.

The harness room that Crooks lives alone in “symbolizes social constraints.”  The presence of racial discrimination clarify how Crooks is ostracized from the other ranch hands. During the argument with Curley’s wife, Crooks is unable to protect Lennie since the color of his skin “leaves him open to sexual blackmail.”  Crooks’ desire to become part of George and Lennie’s dream is “short- lived” after he is “reminded of his position of impotence in a white man’s society.”
Besides the color of his skin, Crooks’ “disfiguration” also leaves him “isolated in a world of physically powerful white men.”  Curley’s wife, who is the only woman on the ranch, is miserably lonely.

Unsatisfied with her husband, Curley’s wife is constantly seeking companionship and simply just “someone to talk to.”  She is viewed by all the others as a “force that destroys men” because of her flirtatious attitude.

The men often refer to Curley’s wife as a “tart” and attempts to avoid any contact with her. After her death, it is demonstrated how her “loneliness and dream for the future was as real and human as the men” as the characters continue address her dead body with bitterness.  Because she is the only woman on the ranch, Curley’s wife is excluded from the “predominantly masculine world of the novel.”  The degree is shown as she even attempts to befriend Crooks and Lennie, who are the other two isolated characters.

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