English Literature Of Mice And Men

Of Mice And Men

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  • Created by: Anna Fox
  • Created on: 19-05-12 12:37

Of Mice And Men Themes

The mouse had dreamed of a safe, warm winter and is now faced with the harsh reality of cold, loneliness and possible death. There is a parallel here with George and Lennie's joyful fantasy of a farm of their own, and its all-too-predictable destruction at the end of the story. Perhaps it is also meant to suggest to us how unpredictable our lives are, and how vulnerable to tragedy.

The two main themes in 'Of Mice and Men' - foreshadowed by the reference to Burns' mouse - are loneliness and dreams. They interlock: people who are lonely have most need of dreams to help them through.

Study the table below, showing both the loneliness and the dreams of each of the main characters. You could use a table like this as the basis for an exam answer about themes in Of Mice and Men.

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Of Mice And Men The Plot

Chapter 1:

George and Lennie camp in the brush by a pool, the night before starting new jobs as ranch hands.

George finds Lennie stroking a dead mouse in his pocket. He complains that caring for Lennie prevents him from living a freer life. We find out that Lennie's innocent petting of a girl's dress led to them losing their last jobs in Weed.

However, when they talk about their dream of getting a piece of land together, we know they really depend on each other.

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Of Mice And Men The Plot

Chapter 2:

When they arrive at the ranch in the morning, George and Lennie are shown around by old Candy.

They meet their boss and, later, his son, Curley - George is suspicious of Curley's manner and warns Lennie to stay away from him.

They see Curley's pretty and apparently flirtatious wife and meet some of their fellow workers, Slim and Carlson.

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Of Mice And Men The Plot

Chapter 3:

Later that evening, George tells Slim about why he and Lennie travel together and more about what happened in Weed.

The men talk about Candy's ancient dog, which is tired and ill. Carlson shoots it, as an act of kindness.

George tells Candy about their dream of getting a piece of land and Candy eagerly offers to join them - he has capital, so they could make it happen almost immediately.

Curley provokes Lennie into a fight, which ends up with Lennie severely injuring Curley's hand.

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Of Mice And Men The Plot

Chapter 4:

The following night, most men on the ranch go into town. Crooks is alone in his room when Lennie joins him.

They talk about land - Crooks is sceptical, not believing that George and Lennie are going to do what so many other men he's known have failed to do, and get land of their own. Yet when Candy happens to come in as well, Crooks is convinced and asks to be in on it too.

Curley's wife arrives. She threatens Crooks and an argument develops. Crooks realises he can never really be part of George, Lennie and Candy's plan.

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Of Mice And Men The Plot

Chapter 5:

Next afternoon, Lennie accidentally kills the puppy that Slim had given him by petting it too much. He's sad.

Curley's wife finds him and starts talking very openly about her feelings. She invites Lennie to stroke her soft hair, but he does it so strongly she panics and he ends up killing her too. He runs away to hide, as George had told him.

Candy finds the body and tells George. They tell the other men - Curley wants revenge.

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Of Mice And Men The Plot

Chapter 6:

Lennie hides in the brush by the pool. He dreams of his Aunt Clara and the rabbits he will tend when he and George get their land.

George finds Lennie and talks reassuringly to him about the little place they will have together - then shoots him with Carlson's gun.

When the other men find George, they assume he shot Lennie in self-defence. Only Slim understands what George did and why.

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Comments

Bethany Cunningham

Really good, really helped and very detailed especially on the themes!

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