One example of this is when George meets the old, decaying Candy and his antiquated dog, he tells him about the "black" man called Crooks. Candy stated to the inarticulate George "give the Stable Buck hell. Ya see the stable buck's a nigger". This was typical of 1930's America as black people were thought of as inferior to white people. This suggests that Crooks was friendless. He has his "own bunk in a separate nigger room" and "he scattered personal possessions around the floor; for being alone he could leave things about". Crooks is obviously suffering from racial discrimination as he is the only black man on the ranch and is not allowed in the bunkroom with the other men because of his colour.
He therefore, had a very lonely existence.
Steinbeck also uses Candy to portray loneliness. The disconsolate Candy becomes lonely after his beloved dog was shot. The men in the ranch describe the dog as a "stinking hound" and an "old b******d". Candy feels dejected as he says "I wish somebody would shoot me when I become useless".
This proves that Steinbeck describes Candy as lonely character.
The workers think she is a "tart" but she is an insecure, lonely woman and this is shown when she tells Lennie "I never get to talk to anyone, or else, Curly gets mad".
Steinbeck illustrates Slim to say to George and Lenny "I've never seen a couple like you two before. It is not normal in this area". You never read about Slim in abundance which must also indicate he is a lonely character.
Another example which Steinbeck uses to illustrate why these men are lonely was when Whit describes that he has a friend who was in a magazine; he said, "Do you remember Bill Tenner. He worked here three years ago?"
This emphasizes how these ranch workers never developed relationships.
Steinbeck uses George and Lennie as a contrast because they are the only people to have anyone to talk to. To demonstrate this, Lenny exclaimed "But not us because.........because I got you to...