George and Lennie's friendship is one of the enduring positives in the novella which makes the loneliness of this difficult era bearable: " If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us." (Chap 1) Here George is recounting to Lennie, in one of the earliest scenes in the novella, their shared dream to own a farm and be their own boss. The "other guys" are the many itinerant ranch workers who travel and are particularly lonely, as they are isolated from their family and friends. The short sentence "But not us" shows, bluntly, how excitedly they see themselves as different - showing how much hope they invest in their dream. George has learnt this speech, as has Lennie, which shows how powerful their shared dream is in keeping them hopeful in the midst of the Great Depression. Their friendship is key to maintaining their sense of hope and it stops them from suffering from the pervasive loneliness of the time. When other lonely characters, like Candy, hear this dream being recounted, they immediately want to join. Candy is shown to be one of many who suffer from the same loneliness of a life without true friendship.