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This is a theme that permeates this novel. Everybody in the novel is lonely to some point. Itinerant workers travel from place to place in search of work. They leave their families, work for small amounts of time and then move on. Slim notes that Lennie and George at least have each other. He muses that, "Ain’t many guys travel around together.... I don’t know why. Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other." This sense of isolation makes men return to bases survival instincts. They essentially forget how to be nice, caring or compassionate. George points this out when he reflects, "seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin’ to fight all the time." Even George and Lennie are not immune to loneliness. George longs for the company of somebody that is not mentally challenged. His relationship with Lennie often prevents him from perusing the things a "normal" man might do,
"If I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an’ work, an’ no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want. Why, I could stay in a cathouse all night. I could eat any place I want...."
Still, George knows he is lucky to have Lennie which makes the ending that much more heartbreaking.