George Milton in John Steinbeckr's Of Mice and Men and Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salingerr's Catcher in the Rye both experience a sense of loneliness and isolation; George has a companion throughout the novel, and Holden is alienated from society and his environment, however, both characters share a similar desire--companionship and human connections. George spends his life traveling from ranch to ranch looking for a well paying job. When describing men like him he states, Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They dont belong no place.
They aint got nothing to look ahead to (Steinbeck 13-14). Although George is seen as just a farm worker, he differs from the majority of the men because of his companionship with his long-term friend, Lennie. George sometimes seems to resent Lennie because he is always having to keep him out of trouble. When talking to Lennie, George claims, "If I was alone I could live so easy (Steinbeck 11). Despite Lennie holding George back in certain situations, it is evident that George cares deeply about his and Lennier's friendship. When speaking about George and Lennie, the boss explains, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy, proving that the two of them care deeply for each other (Steinbeck 22). At the end of the novel George is faced with a painfully difficult situation, and ends up shooting Lennie. A mob of angry workers is after Lennie, so George decides to spare Lennie the painful death he would experience, had the angry men killed him. All things considered, George is able to overcome his loneliness through the companionship he shares with Lennie.
In contrast with George Milton, Holden Caulfield does not have a faithful comrade to keep him company. Holden is a sixteen-year-old that has been expelled from Pencey Prep, his high school, because of his lack of effort and poor grades. The negative way he portrays the adult world leads him to call any and everything phony. When speaking about the reasons he leaves his former school, Elkton Hills, Holden says, because I was surrounded by phonies. That's all (Salinger 17). Holden alienates himself from the people he considers phony any chance he can throughout the novel. The entire school attends a football game that was supposed to be a very big deal around Pencey (Salinger 4).
While everyone was on the field watching, Holden is on a hill watching it alone from afar. At times Holden pretends like he does not care about being lonely, but it is clear he is throughout the novel. Holden says I got up and went over and looked out the window. I felt so lonesome all the sudden (Salinger 54). Holden seems to push everyone away except his little sister, Phoebe. Phoebe is a compassionate listener, and someone who has not yet been exposed to the adult world. Loneliness comes in all different forms, and although Holden and George come from contrasting backgrounds they both experience it . Holden and Georger's ability to only find human connections with people who are innocent and youthful, like Phoebe and Lennie, leads them both to feelings of loneliness and isolation.