Theme of Loneliness in Of Mice and Men

“Loneliness is one of the most horrific emotions one can undergo within a society, as it strikes every living soul and is created through the lack of empathy from others.”(unknown) The novel “Of Mice and Men ” by John Steinbeck, tells the tale of two men, George and Lennie, who are completely opposite but they travel together unlike other migrant workers. When settling into a ranch near the Salinas River, they find themselves among many lonely characters, one being Curley’s wife.

The two men discover that the pleasure of companionship is to be taken granted for and is truly a pleasure. Steinbeck teaches us that one cannot fully understand happiness without first knowing sadness. Throughout the novel Of Mice and Men, many of the men on the ranch are at lonesome in their own way, but Steinbeck better portrays the theme of loneliness, by analyzing the only female character being Curley’s wife, as she is prohibited to speak and suffers from isolation.

In the novel, “Of Mice and Men,” the men try their best to hide their loneliness, but Curley’s wife acts very flirtatiously since she is very lonely and powerless. All the men on the ranch fear her as she is married to the bosses’ son, Curly who treats her as a possession, therefore the men won’t speak to her. For example, Curley’s wife is identified through her husband’s name indicating that she isn’t independent/free but is instead in possession of her husband.

Top Writers
Academic Giant
Verified expert
5 (345)
Verified expert
4.7 (239)
Dr. Karlyna PhD
Verified expert
4.7 (235)
hire verified writer

By being the only female on the ranch, she may appeal as a strong leader, but in reality, her gender and background distance her from others on the ranch. She has no one to relate to or even communicate with making her life miserable. Furthermore, when Curley’s wife confesses her feelings to one of the guys at the ranch, she exclaimed, “I’m always alone…You can have a conversation with individuals, but I can’t with anyone besides Curley. Else he gets frantic. How’d you like not to converse with anyone?”(Steinbeck, 85) Determined, Curley’s wife seems desperate to have a friend to talk to like any other human. Additionally, she is willing to go out of her way and even trouble with her husband just to relate to and talk to someone besides her aggressive husband. Curley’s wife’s willingness to speak with someone is the reason why she got killed. For example, Steinbeck forgives the fact that the only way she can communicate is by flirting with the other men on the ranch when one of the guys exclaims “she got the eye.” (Steinbeck 28) Therefore, the men just ignore her when she wants company but call her a “tart” and a “bitch” behind her back. Curley’s wife being continually left out and being treated like property made her think that she has to be sexual just to get noticed. Additionally, she was compassionately showing off her body just to start a conversation. This deep theme of loneliness demonstrates how among the others on the ranch, Curley’s wife is one of the loneliest through her willingness of action since she is separated and by her noncommunication of the others on the ranch.

Through this novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck demonstrates that many times, a victim of loneliness will have a never-ending search to fulfill a friendship. Having no one to talk to or relate to, being trapped from life, and being a possession are all held accountable for Curley’s wife to live a miserable and lonely life. In our society today, people are still mimicking those during the time of the Great Depression. Just like Curley’s wife many people, primarily teens are being put down by others just because they may be a bad influence or not wanted near. The actions of one towards another can cause suicidal thoughts just like Curley’s wife. Initially, the kindness and desire for company resulted in her death. Therefore, people who are asking for unwanted attention can get into serious problems. Are you someone who is changing one’s opinion and shutting them down due to their race, religion, or color?

Cite this page

Theme of Loneliness in Of Mice and Men. (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7