Loneliness is a basic part of human life. Every one becomes lonely once in a while but in Steinbeck's novella "Of Mice and Men", he illustrates the loneliness of ranch life in the early 1930's and shows how people are driven to try and find friendship in order to escape from loneliness.
Steinbeck creates a lonely and blue atmosphere at many times in the book. He uses names and words such as the town near the ranch called "Soledad", which means loneliness and the card game "Solitaire" Which means by ones self. He makes it clear that all the men on the ranch are lonely, with particular people lonelier than others. In the opening chapter, Steinbeck introduces the idea of loneliness and men who work on ranches living temporary lives, with no aim in life. Steinbeck uses the setting to convey these ideas. As they were walking along the path, it is described as
" a path beaten by hard boys coming down from the ranches to swim in the deep pool, and beaten hard by tramps who come wearily down from the highway in the evening to jungle-up near water" (p.18)
This creates a setting and shows how men who work on the ranch have had temporary, isolated and lonely lives. He also writes
"an ash-pile made by many fires" (p.18)
This shows that many men must have walked through this road to enter a lonely and miserable life, moving from ranch to ranch finding useless work.
I think all the people living in the ranch are lonely. This proves this where Steinbeck describes the bunk house where all the workers sleep.
"Over each bunk there was nailed an apple box with the opening forward so that it made two shelves for personal belongings of the occupant...