Of Mice and Men

Notes on Of Mice and Men :)

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  • Created on: 27-12-11 14:57
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Of Mice and Men
"To a mouse" by Robert Burns is referenced in the title of the book, in the
poem Burns writes:
`The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley'
This means that even the best plans often go wrong, and this can be seen as
a theme throughout the novella.
The American dream:
The idea that regardless of circumstance of social class, you can achieve your
This is another theme throughout the Novella, and can be explored through
many characters e.g.: George and Lennie want to own their own land; Curly's
wife wants to be in the movies and Crooks wants to be accepted.
Historical background:
1929 ­ The Wall Street crash.
Steinbeck was concerned for the poor.
25% unemployment rate.
1933 ­ Franklin Roosevelt became President.
1930 ­ 1936 severe dust storms caused damage to American land; it affected
100,000,000 acres of land.
Steinbeck saw lots of migrant workers like Lennie and George come and go.
PEA on Slim:
Slim is shown in his description to be an intelligent, noble and skilful character. This is shown
Steinbeck uses words such as: `majesty', `royalty' and `master to describe him, the
repetition of synonyms for royal show his authority and that he is a role model for the other
ranch workers. This also relates to the American Dream and shows that nobility can be
achieved in any environment.
The killing of Candy's dog creates sympathy for Candy as he has owned the dog since it was
a puppy. Carlson thinks that the dog can just be replaced, showing that he doesn't hold
sentimental value to things and that if you aren't useful on the ranch anymore then they will
just get rid of you. Tension is built up because it keeps stalling, the ranch workers are trying
to make small talk, but it isn't working. All the ranch workers are waiting for the dog to be
shot together, contrasting with the loneliness Candy is feeling. It's mundane inside, and all
the action is outside, also contrasting.

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Words to describe Crooks:
Wants a house
Wants to be accepted
Wants friends.
Words to describe Curley's wife:
Only woman
Surrounded by men
Wants to be famous
Wants to be an actress.
Crooks (pages 66-67):
Lives in a barn like the horses.
Owns lots of tools, showing he has skill, but he isn't respected like slim is because
he's black.…read more

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Page 5: Lennie copies George exactly, showing that he is child-like and doesn't think
for himself. Informal American dialect is used to reflect their characters, surroundings
and their situation.
Page 7: Lennie kills a mouse, the first encounter with death in the book.
Foreshadowing Lennies strength and later events in the plot.
Page 14: Lennie says he will go and live in a cave, another reference to bears.…read more


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