As Lennie is very simple minded, he is always getting into trouble, and at once point Lennie and George found themselves fleeing from their old working situation in Weed. They later find themselves work on another ranch, where we meet many other characters living similar lives full of unhappiness and despair. We meet the old swamper- Candy, who has only one working hand after getting one caught in a machine. It is here that we begin to get an idea of the lonely life Candy leads, considering he only has one companion- his dog, which was later put out of its misery by another ranch worker who saw it as unfit and a nuisance to itself.
Another example of an unhappy character is the stable buck- Crooks. Crooks falls victim to racial discrimination and finds himself living in almost complete solitude because he is black. It seems as though Crooks will always lead a terrible and hopeless life because of the little to no respect or acknowledgement that the other ranch workers give him. The only way Crooks could make companion would be to find another black person, which does not seem very likely. Years of disrespect and neglect from those around him have turned Crooks into a mean and insecure man with absolutely no rights whatsoever! However, he retreats to his reading and his work, looking after the horses. Crooks does also play horse-shoes, which the men praise him for as he was very skilled in the game.
Furthermore, the wife of the bosss son- known only as Curleys Wife, experiences sexual discrimination. She lives on a ranch where the majority of the people of the people are males, with nothing to do but play records or wander about the ranch looking for somebody to talk to. We learn how Curleys Wife is trapped in a loveless marriage and how dreams that she could have made much more of herself by perusing her career as an actress had she have not married Curley. In the novel she is not given a name and this shows readers just how insignificant she is to Curley, as well as the other ranch workers.
Most of the characters experience some type of prejudice at some point throughout the novel. The only person to really seem happy with the way their life is going si Slim- who is looked up to bye everyone working at the ranch including Curley. Curleys wife, Crooks and Candy are all lonely with no real friendships with anybody.
Although it may seem George and Lennie are unhappy or angry, they are never lonely because they have each other. The thought of someday owning their own ranch pushes them to keep working in such poor conditions, earning only $50 a month!
I felt sorry for most of the characters (excluding Curley) as they did not have much to show for the lives they have lived so far with little or no chance of marriage, or remarriage. During this novel, readers experience such themes as racism, prejudice, and discrimination, as well as learning just how lonely and hopeless life seems without having any friends or companions.