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Index
Context
Author
The Depression
Migrant Workers
Ranch Hands
Characters
Lennie
George
Slim
Candy
Crooks
Carlson
Curley
Curley's Wife
Themes
Loneliness
Overview
Curley's Wife
Candy
Powerlessness
Fate
Animal Imagery
Chance
Dreams
Lennie
Curley's Wife
Curley
Candy
Crooks
Prejudice
Context
Lennie
Curley's Wife
Candy
Crooks…read more

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Context
About the Author
John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. Although his family was
wealthy, he was interested in the lives of the farm labourers and spent time
working with them. He used his experiences as material for his writing.…read more

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Characters
Lennie Small
A migrant worker who is mentally handicapped, large, and very strong. He
depends on his friend George to give him advice and protect him in situations
he does not understand. His enormous strength and his pleasure in petting
soft animals are a dangerous combination. He shares the dream of owning a
farm with George, but he does not understand the implications of that dream.
George Milton
A migrant worker who protects and cares for Lennie.…read more

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Carlson
The insensitive ranch hand who shoots Candy's dog. He owns a Luger, which
George later uses to mercifully kill Lennie.
Curley
The son of the ranch owner, Curley is a mean little guy who picks fights with
bigger guys like Lennie. He is recently married and extremely jealous of any
man who looks at or talks with his wife. Lennie crushes his hand, earning
Curley's future enmity.
Curley's wife
The only character in the novel who is given no name, she is Curley's
possession.…read more

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Loneliness
Overview
The way in which once all of the ranch hands have gone into town, Lennie,
Candy, and Curley's wife go into Crooks' room to find someone to talk to.
Crooks says, "A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no
difference who the guy is, long's he's with you."
Slim mentions, "I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That
ain't no good. They don't have no fun. After a long time they get mean.…read more

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The men on the ranch avoid her because of flirtatious personality to
keep out of trouble - they don't want to be under threat by Curley
All the characters are effected by loneliness, but no-one on the ranch
is able to understand why she is so badly effected by it
Her insecurity is shown through her choice of clothing and make-up
Curley does not give his wife to love and affection that she desires - it
makes her seek it from other people
Acting in…read more

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Powerlessness
Although Lennie is physically strong and would therefore seem to represent
someone of power, the only power Lennie possesses is physical and
because of this he cannot stop his urges for touching fluffy things. Also, he
knows what it is to be good, and he doesn't want to be bad, but he lacks the
mental understanding to avoid the dangers ahead.…read more

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Fate
Life's unpredictable nature is another subject that defines the human
condition. The title of the novel is taken from the poem of Robert Burns, "To
a Mouse On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with a Plow," November, 1785. Burns
wrote that "The best laid schemes o' mice and men / Gang aft a-gley [often
go astray], / And lea'v us nought but grief and pain, / For promised joy.…read more

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Dreams
Lennie
Lennie's death is symbolic that all good things coming to an end
George uses the dream to give them both hope for the future, once
word spread the other ranch workers wanted in too - demonstrates
the importance of dreams on a whole in the novella, and for those who
lived in the 1930s Great Depression era in a similar situation to the
characters.…read more

Comments

amina

this is extrememly helpful, thanks! :)

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