Three Lonely Outcasts

In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck almost all of the characters are ranch hands and they are solitary wanderers. They live very lonely, solitary lives, drifting from one ranch to another. They don?t make many friends and they don?t make much money. There are three characters on the ranch who are the lonliest of the lonely because they are also outcasts or misfits who don?t fit in with what is considered ?normal? by the other ranch hands. Lennie is an outcast because he is retarded, Crooks is an outcast because he is black, and Curley?s wife is an outcast because she is a woman. These three outcasts look for companionship throughout the novel.

First, Lennie is a lonely outcast because he is retarded. One of the reasons he doesn?t fit in with the other ranch hands is because he doesn?t always understand what people are talking about. He doesn?t even always understand George. Lennie admits this when Crooks says to him, ?Sometimes he talks and and you don?t know what the hell he?s talkin? about.? (Steinbeck,77). But Lennie always needs companionship. He is never alone, even if he has a dead mouse or a puppy with him. George would sometimes punish Lenny by not letting him tend to the rabbits on the ranch. And Lennie?s biggest fear is of being abandoned by George:
??He won?t do it,? Lennie cried. ?George wouldn?t do nothing like that. I been with George a long time. He?ll come back tonight?? But the doubt was too much for him.? (Steinbeck,78).

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The second lonely outcast is Curley?s wife. The other ranch hands stay away from her because she is a woman and because she is the wife of the boss? son. Also, even though her husband is very jealous, she is so lonely that she tries to get attention from the ranch hands, which makes Curley even angrier and more jealous. She is like the outcast of the outcasts. One night, when everyone else is away from the ranch, Lennie and Candy are in Crooks? room. Even though it is just the three ?. . . weak ones here? (Steinbeck,84), when Curley?s wife is lonely and wants to join them, they won?t let her: ?Maybe you better go along to your own house now. We don?t want no trouble.? (Steinbeck,85). In the end, her loneliness costs her her life. She is so lonely that one day she even tries to have a conversation with Lenny and he accidentally kills her.

The third lonely outcast is Crooks. He is the only black person living on the ranch and he is crippled. He is forced to live apart from the other men in the bunkhouse ??Cause I?m black. They play cards in
there, but I can?t play because I?m black. They say I stink.? (Steinbeck,75). His only contact with them is through work or a game of horseshoes once in a while. He spends his nights alone, reading in his
room. He is always alone with no one to talk to because ? . . . there ain?t a colored man on this ranch . . . . If I say something, why it?s just a nigger sayin? it.? (Steinbeck,77). But even though Crooks is proud and bitter, he wants companionship, too. He tells Lennie, ?A guy goes nuts if he ain?t got nobody. Don?t make no difference who the guy is, long?s he?s with you.? (Steinbeck,80).

In conclusion, there are three characters who are even lonelier than the rest of the lonely ranch hands. They are also treated like outcasts by the others because they don?t fit in with the other ranch hands? ideas of what is ?normal.? Lennie, because he is retarded; Curley?s wife, because she is a woman; and Crooks, because he is black are all left out of any kind of socializing that goes on at the ranch. But these three want companionship even more than the others do. They are examples of the way the world treats outcasts in society. People have prejudices against those who don?t fit in with what is considered ?normal,? and all these lonely outcasts get left out for many different reasons.
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