Loneliness is an emotion, but more so a disease that can kill the heart and soul of even the strongest individual. I believe everyone has experienced loneliness in some form, some more than others, but loneliness none the less. After reading the book of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and discussing the novels themes I came to a conclusion. Loneliness is a building block in which every one of Steinbeck’s characters is constructed.
John Steinbeck incorporates an overshadowing theme of loneliness throughout his novel Of Mice and Men, though by far the loneliest character is Curley’s wife through the her thoughts on Curley and his actions, the fact she is a women, and her broken dream. Curley’s wife is the loneliest character in the novel Of Mice and Men because of her husband Curley. It is apparent throughout the book that Curley’s wife has a great bitterness against her husband. “Sure I gotta husban’.
You all seen him. Swell guy, ain’t he? Spends all his time sayin’ what he’s gonna do to guys he don’t like, and he don’t like nobody. (Steinbeck 78. ) This quote shows how Curley’s wife feels about him. “I get lonely,” she said. “You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody? ” (87. ) It shows she is lonely because it states throughout the book she seeks attention but isn’t allowed to talk to anyone but Curley whom she doesn’t like therefore Curley is forcing her into loneliness. This paints vivid imagery of a sad and lonely young woman with no one to talk to and no one to miss her when she is dead because of her husband’s control.
She is only allowed to talk to Curley because she is his wife and a women, another reason why she is isolated. Being the only women on the ranch took its toll on Curley’s wife, making her extremely companionless. “Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain’t no place for a girl, specially like her. ” (51. ) No men on the ranch want to associate with her because she is a woman. They believe she doesn’t belong outside of her house if on the ranch grounds at all. “Why’n’t you tell her to stay the hell home where she belongs? ” said Carlson. (62. ) All the men on the Ranch have a low view of women and thought she didn’t have the same rights as hem, reflecting the time period of the novel. She was always sent way and usually that’s all anyone said to her because they felt uncomfortable, not by the way she talked or by her personality because it never got that far.
She was not given the same freedoms and chances to have relationships as the men were. The men treated her with less respect and kept her at a distance because of her gender. Along with keeping her away from them because she is a girl it also kept them away from learning about her broken dream, another major factor in her loneliness. ’Nother time I met a guy, an’ he was in pitchers. Went out to the Riverside Dance Palace with him. He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural. Soon’s he got back from Hollywood he was gonna write to me about it. ” (88. ) While revealing her dream to Lennie, Curley’s wife reveals a huge reason for her alienation as well. She is lonely because she had and still has a dream of becoming an actress yet she is stuck, full of contempt for her environment. She could have had people who adored and paid attention to her, everything she lacks living on the ranch.
Well I wasn’t gonna stay no place where I couldn’t get nowhere or make something of myself, an’ where they stole your letters. ” (88. ) She left her dream and home out of anger and rejection and later is regretful because she got the same thing in a different form and is more stuck than before. She had a dream of being an actress but overshadowing that dream was the dream of being happy and wanted which she didn’t give up on even when it seemed hopeless which shows how desperate she was for acceptance and to no longer be lonely which she did not achieve until her death.
Curley’s wife was more peaceful and beautiful in death than in life and she was so far in a hole of isolation the only way to free herself was death. The novel Of Mice and Men shows us an amazingly thought provoking character through Curley’s wife. Learning about our own solitude and the reasoning behind loneliness through this character can help us connect what we read to our own life as well as be better students in all aspects. Loneliness may be an aspect in our own lives but it was something Curley’s wife faced every day in every different way.
Like the constellations the manners and forms of loneliness in Curley’s wife’s life fit together in invisible lines piecing together to make her separated from the world and more content in death than life. Her husband, gender, and hopeless dreams made Curley’s wife isolated and alone reflecting a main theme of the book and making her the loneliest character in Of Mice and Men. (Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1993. Print. )