Loneliness In Of Mice And Men

The amount of friends a person has does not prove whether they are lonely or not. Seeking more connections helps with the feeling of being alone in life, and that is what John Steinbeck reveals in the book, Of Mice and Men. In this book, the character Crooks, shows the form of loneliness. Throughout the book, Crooks along with some of the other characters are left feeling curious about what it is like to have a real relationship in their lives. Pushing people away and acting out negatively becomes the outcome, and there seems to be a divide between Crooks and the rest of the world. In the book, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck portrays the theme of how isolation reduces Crooks ability to function or feel with or against others.

Throughout the book, the reader is shown ways of how isolation reduces Crooks ability to function or feel. The book introduces the character Crooks as he is rubbing his own back with liniment, revealing how he only has himself and is completely alone. Steinbeck introduces the isolation of the character Crooks, by saying, “Don’t come in a place where you’re not wanted” (Steinbeck 69). This shows how Crooks is pushing Lennie’s company away because he isn’t used to others wanting to be around him. Rather than accepting that it is better for him to have someone there for him, Crooks stays stubborn and is scared to trust. This lack of trust Crooks has towards the world puts up a wall of separation between him and the other men on the farm.

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Steinbeck shows how loneliness can have a negative effect on the way the characters live or view others. The theme of isolation is shown from the feelings of defeat Crooks continues to go through when he is interacting with others on the farm. When Curley’s wife enters the room and seems to take power over Crooks,  Steinbeck describes to the reader, “Crooks had reduced himself to nothing,” (Steinbeck 81). After Crooks tries and tries to put himself out there he has a sense of defeat and loss of hope because how people treat him could never be changed.

The sight of his dream, of people being in his life seems to be impossible and now he has nothing to look forward to.  As a result, this impacts the way Crooks carries himself through life and he will continue to not let anyone in. Compared to others, he realizes he will always be the smaller person and it will always be him against the world. This will show the readers that even though Crooks allowed those people to be around him, he was still lonely in that moment.

As the book progresses, Crooks interaction with others reminds the readers of the divide between the world and himself and how it can never fill the hole he has missing in himself. Loneliness has serious effects on the way Crooks treats others throughout the book, until he allows himself to let Lennie ‘in’. Crooks explains to Lennie that being isolated has made him appreciate more that,”It’s just the talking. It’s just bein’ with another guy.

That’s all.” (Steinbeck 71). Although Steinbeck portrays Crooks to be stubborn and cold-hearted, he lets the soft spot Crooks has deep down come out in. The author shows the readers that Crooks is damaged in a way that can never be changed no matter how much he hates being lonely. It feels like he is stuck in a way, and it’ll always just be him facing the world. Although this clear divide between him and others, there will still always be this interest in him to seek friendships and fill that hole of emptiness within himself.

Isolation reduces the characters ability to function or feel with others throughout the book. Being alone is hard on a person, especially Crooks and makes him push away any social interactions, revealing his lack of trust. Knowing the way he is treated will never change, a sense of defeat takes over him. This reminds the readers that the dream of having a relationship almost seems impossible and it will always be Crooks against the world. Steinbeck reinforces the theme that being lonely causes a person to become negative towards others because of the curiosity of having a real relationship. Coming to the realization that his future will be nothing more than dreaming about a different reality while isolated from the rest.

Famine And The Black Death

The famine set the stage in the Black Death, by infecting a lot of Europe’s people into hunger and starvation. The famine made people more aware of what is happening around them and in European in the 1300’s. Furthermore, in the 1347’s, there was a horrible turning point that occurred in Europe called the Black Death. The plague began in a hot, dry summer, which caused a multitude of fleas and rats to come out from other places. The rats and fleas carried a disease that was deadly to people, which in turn, made the condition spread throughout Europe and quickly sicken the population, both rich and poor. Also, there were three types of disease that the doctors had to deal with the disease. Many Catholics clergy came to an aid that made them suffer painfully. Additionally, over 800 years ago children sang a song of a memory of the black plague. The song was called “Ring Around the Rosie.” Moreover, both the black plague and the famine had a lot of impacts by over twenty million people dying because of the effect in the middle ages.

The famine was also a horrific event that happened in the Black Death. The hunger was terrible for the people that lived there because they had a massive problem with their food and eating it as well. Many families starved and had nothing to eat especially the low-income families, as they did not have the money to put food on the table. Many wealthy families survived the Black Death because they had the money to buy food so they would not starve. There was not a lot of food to eat because many humans were sick and could not take care of the food and crops. The food and crops got fewer over time resulting in none left to eat, so people began to weaken and then die.

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Many more events happened in the great famine from 1315 to 1317. It was not only about how a lot of people died, or due to the large geographical area is affected. The great famine also had long time consequences. A consequence that happened in the great famine was that there was more social violence than ever before. There was more murder, rape, and suicide in Europe so the citizens’ families would not starve to death, but they still perished. Because of this, many criminal cases and activities happened to cause more deaths.

The plague began in Eastern Europe and Russia. It was a disease that fleas had, and the fleas were on many black rats in Europe. There were many rats on the ships, which caused the start of a new plague. The plague was a horrible occurrence, many Europeans and Russians bitten by insects died within three or four days. The Europeans that breathed the infected air were killed in a week or much less, although they did not die that painfully like the ones who were bitten by the fleas or rats. Those who contracted the disease turned black in certain spots creating the name, the Black Death, for the plague. One of the main areas on the body that turned black was the hands and fingers. Besides, there would be large red boils under their armpits, which were extremely painful.

There were three forms of this disease called the bubonic, pneumonia, and the septicemic forms. The bubonic form of the illness lasted five to seven days, and it spread by the blood by tick/flea bites. The pneumonic form lasted three to five days and spread by breathing the infected air or by droplets from infected animals such as cats, black rats, dogs, and cows. Besides, the last one is septicemic, and death can happen in one to four days.

There were doctors in Europe but helping the sick people put doctors at risk. However, if the doctors would help the people, then they would get sick too. In addition, the medicine was limited during the Black Death and in the Middle Ages. There were few ways of making the cure for the sick people. Many doctors did not know how to cure the boils on the skin or the horrible effects of the black spots on their surface.

In the Black Death, a lot of people in Europe did not know what was happening. Therefore, many people blamed it on the Catholics, and the Catholics thought it was a punishment for all their sins. As a result, the Catholics prayed and prayed, but God still did not answer them. The Catholics were people that believed and trusted their God. The people of Europe blamed it on the Catholics because they thought that they wanted to curse them. The people of Europe banned the Catholics from having their church. Accordingly, many churches had to close up and give up their buildings. The Catholics also had to stop walking around Europe talking about God and carrying crosses.

A consequence that followed the great famine was that the Catholics prayed and prayed (Halina). Then, they never got an answer to their prayers, and instead, the prayers seemed to make it worse for themselves. The Catholics were against all of the causes of the famine. Also, this consequence affected their religions. Therefore, the Catholics and other faiths had many problems with each other which resulted in fighting. There also was the failure of the medieval authority to deal with the crisis. It was when the Europeans realized that their God was not helpful for them. God looked like he was unwilling to answer the prayers of the people in Europe. The people of Europe prayed to God because they believed he had the power over the Earth.

When the plague first started in Europe, the Europeans did not know what to do and “Children abandoned the father, and husband abandoned the wife, wife the husband, one brother the other, one sister the other. . . Some fled to villas, other to villages to get a change in the air. Where there had been no [plague], where they carried the disease with them and infected those who previously lived on the countryside” (Zahler 45). The people that abandoned their families made it worse for themselves and others as well, because the infected ones were already going to die. Therefore, it was harder for them to travel. Additionally, the infected individuals poisoned those that were healthy, causing Europe to lose more than millions of people.

In the memory of the Black Death, young children sing a song called “Ring around the Rosie.” This song represents the people that died during the great plague. The Rosie referred to a reddish color of a rash or a type of allergy reaction to something, and this was very common in the plague. The posies were herbs that people carried as self-protection to protect themselves from the smell of the dead bodies.

Overall, when the Black Death was ending in the 1400’s many people were overwhelmed. The survivors of the plague realized that their horrible nightmare was finally ending. The disease had lasted for at least three years. When survives survived the plague, they still had the big fear of the plague returning soon. The fear was passed on from generation to generation and so on. Besides, it will not always be famine and the plague, and it could be other disasters. Everything passes from bad to good, and no one knows what the future will hold.

Works Cited

  1. Jordan, William C. Europe during the High Middle Ages. New York: Viking, 2003. Print.
  2. King, Halina. The Great Famine. Yorkshire. The Middle Ages. King Edward. 02 March 2012. http://www.halinaking.co.uk/Location/Yorkshire/Frames/History/1315GreatFamine/GreatFamine.htm. Accessed 02 March 2012.
  3. Mate, Mavis. “Agrarian Economy after the Black Death: The Manors of Canterbury Cathedral Priory, 1348-91.” JSTOR. Vol. 37, No. 3 (Aug. 1984). 16 October 2012.
  4. “Medieval Apocalypse the Black Death BBC Documentary.” YouTube, uploaded by Bryan Perez, 9 April 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffaoF0xkUTo
  5. Zahler, Diane. The Black Death. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2009. Print.
  6. Ziegler, Philip. The Black Death. Illustrated ed. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire: Alan Sutton Pub., 1991. Print.

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