John Boyne’s story, A history of loneliness, is about a guy named Odran who used to go to a Catholic Church in Dublin, Ireland as a child and was abused by a priest. Since the priest was a family friend, Odran didn’t want to say anything to his parents. He wasn’t the only child, and most people know about the abuse but didn’t say a word. Abortion and divorce was banned yet the abuse these children went through wasn’t talked about because it would put a bad name on the country.
Because of the country’s ignorance towards the boys, they suffered by themselves from loneliness much like Candy, Crooks and Curley’s wife suffer with isolation. John Steinbeck’s famous novel, “Of Mice and Men” portrays loneliness in characters much like Odran. These characters, Candy, an old swamper, Crooks, a black stable buck, and Curley’s wife have different situations but all of them are isolated from the world.
Mother Teresa once said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty”. Not many people notice that isolation is something that some characters have to deal with in this story. Candy is an old ranch worker who lost his hand during an accident a few years back. Candy’s best friend was his old crippled dog, who he’s had since it was a pup. When a man named Carlson tries to convince him to shoot the dog out of its misery, Candy refuses. He’s the only type of friendly company he’s ever had.
“Look Candy. This ol’ dog jus’ suffers hisself all the time. If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head—why he’d never feel it””..
.No I couldn’t do that. I had ‘im too long.”(45) After he agrees to let Carlson shoot his dog, Candy hasn’t been as uplifting. It takes some agreeing to disagreeing whether to wait or not, but he finally gives in.
Candy fears being sent out of the farm because he’s old and crippled like his dog. He saysCrooks is a stable buck, with a crooked back. Racial prejudice is amajor problem in this novel that is barely touched. Crooks is a black man who has his own bunk separated from the rest of the guys. He is not treated like a person meaning he doesn’t get to join the other men playing cards, or working out in the fields. Although it’s a hard job, being by himself has gotten him crazy because all he has in his bunk is some books to read while others go out and get to be with each other.
When Lennie comes in his room while the guys are in town, crooks tells him, 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. I tell ya,I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick().This is Crooks telling Lennie about how lonely he gets being by himself all day everyday. He doesn’t even get to play cards with the guys let alone come in their bunk.
Crooks is letting out his feelings, so he also tells Lennie, “‘Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t because I’m black. They say I stink.
Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me”(100). This is crooks explaining how since he is a black man, he doesn’t get treated like the other men, with respect and dignity. This proves that because of his skin color, Crooks was isolated from everyone.Curley is the bosses son, a lightweight and handyman. Curley’s wife, unnamed in this novel, is referred to as a tart by most of the men that work on the field. When George and Lennie come into town, Candy tells them,”Well—she got the eye””Yeah? Married two weeks and got the eye? Maybe that’s why Curley’s pants full of ants””.
..Well I think Curley married… a tart.”(28)This conversation between Candy and George is when Candy is explaining that Curley’s wife gives some of the guys flirtatious looks, which is why they think he’s married a tart. George tells Lennie to stay away from her because she’s a dangerous woman. Little do they know that she’s very lonely.
When Curley’s wife is with Lennie in the barn, she tells him, “What’s the matter with me? Ain’t I got a right to talk to nobody?” This is her telling Lennie that she has a right to talk to everyone and not be ignored by all the guys. She also tells Lennie that she could’ve been in the movies and worn fancy clothes like celebrities. That shows that Curley’s wife isn’t just a woman who wants attention, but also a woman who had hopes and a dream job. But because the guys think of her as a tart, they isolate her away from them.In conclusion, Candy, crooks, and Curley’s wife all illustrate that being alone and isolated from everyone can make you lonely. Whether it’s because your age, getting older, whether it’s color discrimination or because gender discrimination like Curley’s wife dealt with. She was flirtatious, but it was the only thing to do other than stay at home by herself. Either way, being isolated creates loneliness in these characters and in the end, none of them have happy endings.