During the Great Depression, it was hard to find work and maintain it. Families were apart for long periods trying to support one another. The men went to find work on farms the women manage the house and children. It was the start and end of many families' journeys. In the novel, Of Mice and Men, the 2 antagonists George Milton and Lennie Small were opposites but that's what made then best friends. George was the normal guy who didn't struggle on his own versus Lennie who was on the autistic side and had a brain of a 5-year-old. Throughout the novella, George and Lennie portray loneliness and friendship at an off and on pace.
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Loneliness is a theme portrayed throughout a substantial amount of characters in the novel. Lennie, Candy, Curley’s wife, and Crooke are the main ones that show signs of being lonely. Lennie displays it when he goes into Crooke's room to find someone to talk too and Curley’s wife doing the same. Crooke is a black man who isn’t allowed into the bunkroom because of his color so he is lonely in the small room by the stable. Candy is shown as lonely because he has only one hand which disables him from many things and the loss of his companion, the dog, made him feel lonely as well. Curley’s wife demonstrates the act of loneliness throughout the entire novel. Her attitude acts as she is a happy person but reading more of the novel she is lonely and sad. She is married to Curley but doesn’t want to be with him. To cope with her loneliness she tries to make friends with the men that work for her husband's father, but making friends with the men gives her a bad image. The men call her dangerous because of how heated Curley gets when she talks to them.
Steinbeck helps develop the theme of Of Mice and Men Friendship through George and Lennie. He makes us believe that during this era it was essential to have someone you can rely on.
In the novel, it says “I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.” George sticks with Lennie because he promised his Aunt Clara that he would take care of him and make sure he stayed out of trouble. Through the years, Lennie has been a burden to George but has also been a blessing. Without Lennie George would be lost and vice versa. Their friendship toward the end of the novel shines through tremendously. Lennie accidentally made a mistake that would soon change his life forever. He murdered Curley’s wife meaninglessly and was soon being searched for by a group of Curley’s gang. With George knowing that Lennie was going to be killed by Curley he took it upon himself to take Lennie's life in a memorable way.
The last thing George and Lennie talked about was their dream farm and Lennie's dream of tending to the rabbits. George portrays a big part of friendship by protecting Lennie at all costs and keeping his promise to Aunt Clara.