Of Mice And Men Connections. Characters Building

Walls And Bridges. Essay, Research Paper

“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.”

-Joseph F. Newton

In life, people try to isolate themselves from other people to block out the remembered

pain when they should be building bridges to make newer, better memories of friendship. In the

book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, some of the characters build walls around themselves

to become lonely and isolated. A few build bridges to get rid of the solitude that they had held

for some time. Crooks builds walls around himself to protect himself from the cruel world that is

vastly surrounding him. On the other hand, Curley’s wife tried to build bridges to the outside

world, in hopes of escaping her duties as a housewife. Also in the book, Lennie is torn between

building bridges and making friends or building walls and being lonely but obedient.

Crooks is a black man with a disability who built walls around himself after being

shunned from society all of his adult life. Crooks “kept his distance and demanded that other

people keep theirs” (67). He showed bitterness towards other people because they had always

done so to him. Once example of this is when he says, “”Cause I’m black. They play cards in

there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all stink to me”

(68). Crooks also has low self-esteem which is interfering with how he interacts with people.

Crooks feels that he, “…is is just a nigger talkin’, an’ a busted-back nigger. So it don’t mean

nothing, see?” (71). Crooks may not be meaning to, but he is constantly building barricades

around him to shield him from the fierce, misunderstanding world. In doing so, he becomes

lonely and isolated.

Curley’s wife is a young, flirtatious lady who is married to a jealous man. By getting

married, she crushed all of her dreams of what her future might have held. She thought that a

man she met “…was gonna put me [her] in the movies. Says I [she] was a natural. Soon’s he got

back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me [her] about it” (88). She reached out to this man

and made a bridge in hopes of finding a newer, better life but was disappointed when he never

wrote her back. Curley’s wife is often seen talking to the other men on the farm, trying to seduce

them. She often used the excuse of looking for Curley to go and visit the other men on the farm.

An example of this is when she said, “‘Sometimes Curley’s in here,’ she explained. George said

brusquely, ‘Well he ain’t now.’ ‘If he ain’t, I guess I better look some place else,’ she said

playfully ” (31). She was wed to Curley in the end. She built a bridge of lifelong friendship to

him while trying to escape life with her mother after her mother supposedly stole the letter the

man from Hollywood wrote. She “… married Curley. [She] Met him out to the Riverside Dance

Palace that same night”’ (88).

Lennie, a man with a mental illness, always tries to connect with people throughout the

book with his simple mind but always finds doubt with George’s words. He doesn’t know better

half of the time. He was originally told by George, his traveling partner, to build walls around

himself. “What you gonna say tomorrow when the boss asks you questions?” Lennie stopped

chewing and swallowed. His face was concentrated. ‘I…I ain’t gonna… say a word.’” (15)

Lennie would often use “…smiles helplessly in an attempt to make friends” (68). He may not

have been smart but he had a kind soul that meant no harm. He just wanted to make friends so

he wouldn’t be lonely. Lennie would also try to build bridges with Curley’s wife against George’s

orders. This got him into trouble a few times. One incident occurred when Lennie was in the

barn with Curley’s wife and hesitantly talked to her. He ended up killing her because he was torn

in-between following George’s orders to build walls of loneliness or to follow his heart and build

bridges of friendship (87-91).

People are building walls and putting obstacles between themselves and others so that

they can be alone when they really need to reach out and build bridges to other people. In the

book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, many of the characters try to build walls and bridges

around themselves to become less lonely than they currently are or to become as isolated as

possible. Crooks builds walls around himself because of how he was treated by others. Curley’s

wife and Lennie tried to reach out most of the time and build bridges to escape their lifestyles. In

general, people tend to lean more towards older experiences when they need to go out into the

world and make new ones.


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