In John Steinbeck’s, Of Mice and Men, disappointment and isolation is reoccurring theme in the novella, containing a broad range of characters that predominantly suffer from the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Through these characters they display the vitalness of forming friendships and tight bonds to escape the loneliness that plagued men and women who were subjected to epidemic poverty and severe unemployment rates.
Disappointment stems from dreams or aspirations that have not been fulfilled from external barriers such as the Great Depression, racial segregation, and gender inequality. Steinbeck uses dreams and aspirations to assemble a group of desperate ranch-hands and a discontented Hollywood aspirant. George and Lennie tried to pursue their ‘American Dream’ of owning a farm, stringing Crooks and Candy along towards the inevitable letdown. George and Lennie are the only characters in the novel who shared a meaningful relationship, contrasting with Candy, Crooks, and Curley’s wife all of who experience isolation along with their inability to achieve goals and the disappointment that it brings.
Candy is isolated in that he is much older than others and disabled making him insignificant and a burden compared to the other ranch hands. At the start of the novel, it is evident that Candy wants a companion because of his eagerness to converse with George and Lennie when they arrive at the ranch. His only companion was the sheepdog, and when it is heartlessly shot by Carlson, the consequences for Candy was that he lost his sense of responsibility or meaning to life. Candy’s fear of becoming useless intensifies after the dog’s death because it echoes the fact that his fellow workers normalize the prospect of letting go of those who are unfit for work or are too much of a burden. In Candy’s case they’d make him suffer by ‘canning’ him leaving him to fend for himself. He knows he won’t be working on the ranch for any longer, his time rapidly running out like his dog.
In Crooks’ instance, he is isolated and continually experiences racism through segregation and is excluded from activities causing isolation and the feeling of disappointment of not being able to fit in. He feels disappointed because he admits that he wants to be accepted in society without racism and judgement. At a young age Crooks found that “there wasn’t another coloured family for miles around and now there ain’t a coloured man on this ranch”, Crooks felt isolated because he had no black people whom he could communicate freely with. This unhealthy mental state of being segregated (by not being allowed into the bunkhouse with the white ranch hands) consequently makes his character aloof and is now guarded around any person or kindness he receives. This is shown when Lennie enters Crooks’ stable. “I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room.” Though Crooks is isolated, he is so used to the racial temperament of others so he pushes them away....