The key themes in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

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Of Mice and Men Revision Notes
Key Themes
Human Fragility
Humanity is small and fragile
Joy is something to be snatched when possible
Vulnerability of Lennie
Dreams and reality
George and Lennie's dream of the ranch
Dreams are powerful
Curley's wife's dream of being a movie star
Ranch hands of being cowboys
Pessimism or optimism
The ending is unhappy
Majority of the book is happy
Lennie's adoration of George
Natural dignity of Slim
Lennie dies in the hand of someone he trusts, painlessly, happy, free, in the open and still
believing in his dream
Lennie's death an act of kindness
Part of life
Protest and racial prejudice
Protests against racial discrimination, treatment of the elderly and disabled and the plight of
the farmworker who never reaps what he sows
Loneliness
George and Lennie fight it through their friendship
It embitters Crooks and Candy
It kills Curley's wife
Relationships
No relationship lasts
George and Lennie's relationship is destroyed
Candy and his dog's relationship is destroyed
The ranch workers and the dream ranch is destroyed
The happiest people on the ranch (slim, Carlson and the boss) are the ones without
relationships

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