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Not having human companionship can have huge repercussions. It can lead to sadness and being miserable in others. In his novel Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck introduces us to some minor characters who suffer from no human companionship daily. Whether it is due to their ethnicity, their gender, their age, or their mental capacity, these characters are left alone and have to deal with the effects of not having human companionship. Steinbeck showed a fascinating view in these minor characters of how people, when left to deal with something on their own can negatively impact those with whom they come in contact. Through his characterization of his minor characters, Steinbeck stresses that if you do not have human companionship it can bring out the worst in people through the characters Crooks and Curley’s wife.

Crooks, the only African American on the ranch, is rejected by everyone he lives and works with, causing him to feel deep depression and frustration towards others. For example, in this quote Crooks states he is not welcomed in the bunk with the others because he is black ‘I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse, and you ain’t wanted in my room.” “Why ain’t you wanted?” Lennie asked. “’ Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink”(Steinbeck 67). We can imagine the loneliness Crooks experiences at the kind of wholesale rejection he is subjected to because of his race, segregated into a separate room with only a box of straws to sleep in. Also, he has no one to talk to because no one wants to talk to him because he is black. Furthermore, in this quote, Crooks expresses that a person needs human companionship no matter who they are “A guy needs somebody to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. It doesn’t make any difference who the guy is, as long as he’s with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick'(71) This shows since Crooks has no human companionship he can’t be provided with happiness and a support system to make him strong and successful. Likewise, he explains that a person can go crazy and get sick if he or she has nobody or somebody near them. Overall, Crooks being rejected by everyone he lives and works with he has to deal with not trying to go crazy or get sick of not having someone to talk to.

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As the only female on the ranch, Curley’s wife is ignored and persistently avoided by the ranchers, causing her to try and gain control of the situation in a negative way. For instance, this quote is said by Curley’s wife when all the men go to town, including her husband “’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 nobody?’” (84) This shows that Curley’s wife is trapped and she doesn’t know what to do but to express her feelings and try to find some way to talk to somebody besides Curly. Moreover, Curley’s wife admits she is lonely and does not know what to do about it but finds some way to talk without Curley knowing so he does not get mad. Next, “A girl was standing there looking in. She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made-up…

She put her hands behind her back and leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forward”(31). Curley’s wife hungers for attention and communication with others, although she often seeks this attention in the wrong manner. For, knowing that she is the only woman and that she is attractive, Curley’s wife seductively positions herself. Also, this quote is about how Curley’s wife had big dreams but they were abandoned “ ‘I lived right in Salinas,’ she said. ‘Come there when I was a kid. Well, a show came through, and I met one of the actors. He says I could go to that show. But my old lady wouldn’t let me. She says because I was only fifteen. But the guy says I could. If I’d gone, I wouldn’t be livin’ like this, you bet”(86). Curley’s wife is pathetically lonely after having had to abandon her dreams of being a movie star. I tell ya I could have gone with shows. Out of this loneliness, Curley’s wife comes around the bunkhouse to bother Lennie and have someone to talk to and express her feelings. Lastly, in this quote, Curley’s wife shows a very tough and aggressive side toward her ‘Well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” (79). However, she holds a power that the men do not when she threatens Crooks with lynching. Moreover, in this quote, Curley’s wife is acting tough in front of Crooks because her lack of human companionship makes her turn the situation into a negative one. As a result, Curley’s wife being ignored and persistently avoided turns her loneliness into aggression and a seductive manner.

In Conclusion, these minor characters show that they do not have human companionship in their lives starting from Crook’s childhood and when Curley’s wife gets married. The lack of human companionship is an inevitable part of life, which many individuals struggle with. It is an emotional response to a lack of companionship and communication with others, which has a huge impact on one’s overall behavior. Some impacted individuals may try to end their loneliness negatively; others become hopeless and bitter. The theme of the lack of human companionship is presented in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The novel Of Mice and Men portrays the lack of human companionship as a complex emotion that often drives individuals to behavioral extremes. Steinbeck uses characters, some of the most important ones including Curley’s wife and Crooks, to reflect on the discriminative time that ultimately leads to the characters’ loneliness and particular behaviors. As a result, if everybody had human companionship fewer people would be lonely and unhappy.

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