Loneliness is an emotion even the strongest can’t avoid. In the story, every character seems to find cases of solitude and the feeling of being an outsider. George has nothing in common with Lennie, they don’t speak on the same level. Candy is a frail old man with only his decrepit dog to live for. Candy and his wife are together, but psychologically they are alone, and lastly Crooks, the stable buck, is a result of discrimination and prejudice with only books and dreams.
Like most of the characters in this novel, everyone has a dream that they hope would one day become a reality, but until that time, they would still be breaking backs on the ranch or sleeping alone at night until someone or something changed their lives for the better. George Milton comes across to the audience as the kind of guy who can be alone and be successful, he always says to Lennie whenever the chance arises, ‘If I was alone I could live so easy… ‘ George talks about getting paid and using the money in cat houses, fancy hotels and tasteful food, but without Lennie he would be lost.
His life has always revolved around taking care of Lennie, so if one day he was no longer existent, would George be so secure on his own? The loneliest game for any man to play is solitaire, George sat at the bedroom table indulging himself in the pack of cards while the other men read magazines and dreamed of better days. The way he plays cards is quite ironic because of George being lonely and playing the loneliest game there is. Every man on the ranch at some point would have played this, it just shows how each and every one of them has some form of seclusion inside them, even if it is not revealed by the characters personality.
Crooks is certainly the biggest outcast in the book and is ostracised from the rest just because he is a different colour to everyone on the ranch. Nobody fully understands him, obviously because they wouldn’t take the time to talk to the only black man. When Lennie approaches him out of curiosity and sympathy, all of Crooks’ traits are portrayed, the way he is protective over all of his possessions, how he is probably the most educated person in the book and also how he makes Lennie feel alone and vulnerable when George goes out into town with the rest of the workers.
Crooks seems to comprehend that everyone has their own dreams in life, he gained this knowledge from years of watching them in silence, he said to Lennie, ‘I see hundreds of men come by on the road and on the ranches with their bindles on their back and that same damn thing in their heads’. Even Crooks at one point had a small thought of a dream, but so easily these visions are shattered and seem to be moving further and further away from reality.
When Crooks and Lennie share their thoughts, hopes and worries, it’s like a stream of consciousness that is arising because neither of them is listening to each other but they both are constantly talking. This may be because when you’re an outsider like both of them, there’s never any souls who care to listen to you, everyone in ‘Of Mice and Men’ has a story to tell but nobody to share it with. Crooks may call Lennie insane, but he doesn’t realise how alike they are. Especially with the physical and mental details which represent both their lives and personality.