Of Mice and Men-Themes

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  • Created by: maisiegul
  • Created on: 11-03-16 19:05

Loneliness and Isolation

  • Steinbeck offers no solution to loneliness 
  • Due to the nature of their job they keep on chasing their dream with nobody to share it with, being lonely was normal 
  • 'Soledad' reminds us of 'solitary'. It means loneliness in Spanish 
  • They try and distract themselves with prostitutes and games to feel like someone cares
  • Even though they are surrounded with other workers they do not have real bonds 
  • Even those with a companion are still lonely:
  • 1) Curley uses his wife as a possession and distraction from his lonelieness. It makes his aggresive from his internal anger with life. 
  • 2) Candy has a dog which is murdered- they are destined to be on their own
  • 3) George is lonely, Lennie can't relate on an emotional level 
  • 4) Crooks lives in isolation. Society means that he is lonely and that's all he knows 
  • 5) Curley's wife has no identity or power, just a possession who is worthless and lonely. Flirtation provides a temporary feeling of interaction 
  • 6) Carlson lacks emotional understanding as they never have to care about anyone but themselves.
  • 7) Slim is lonely. Not even his skill or status can change that
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  • The only person who is self-sufficient is the boss. We rarely see him so the rare appearance symbolises the rare chance dreams will be achieved
  • The dream for a worker means escaping the cycle of chasing for a comfortable life 
  • They may know the dreams aren't achievable(apart from George and Lennie) however they it is something to keep them living 
  • Having a dream meants living instead of existing 
  • It is unusual workers travel together. Does this make George and Lennie's dream more real

The Characters 

  • Lennie childishly believes the dream of the farm will come true. This may be false hope but he sees his dream across the river before he dies 
  • George recalls the dream for Lennie multiple times. Maybe he is just trying to convince himself 
  • Curley's dream of being a boxer is physically crushed in the fight with Lennie 
  • Curley's wife's dream is to be an actress. The only spotlight on stage she gets is when she dies 
  • Crooks is cynical. But the dream is so powerful it gives him hope and confidence to dream of a better life. However he is hit with reality by the fact he is worthless in society 
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  • Steinbeck shows that people's path has been chosen and they can't change that
  • Humanity is small compared to the force that controls our lives
  • Even though dreams allow them to survive they are destined to never come anything else but that
  • The fact that George and Lennie wasn't dropped of to the ranch by the bus shows they will never get to where they fantasise about 
  • Their invested hope in the dream only makes it inevitable to be destroyed by fate 


  • George controls Lennie's destiny of death but destiny controlled George to kill him
  • Curley's wife's dream was destined not to happen due to her mother then her relationship 
  • Slim is 'godlike' but he has no control over important events 
  • Crooks was destined to be a black man in 1930's society which he would live as an unequal
  • Lennie inevitably runs into trouble due to his lack of intelligence and awareness of the world
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.Death is the only way that workers break the cycle of chasing the American dream

.The deaths in the novel are of Candy's dog, Lennie and Curley's wife

.It may be possible that this is the only time that they achieve their dreams: Lennie sees the ranch across the river and Curley's wife is on a 'stage' being an actress

. All of the people and animals that dies are undesirable in a way: old, woman and handicapped

.The deaths in the novel are clashing- murder because of a friendship love (george kills Lennie) and a murder that tears apart a friendship (Candy and his dog)

>>>Lennie and Candy's dog's death is very similar:

1)They are both killed with the Lugar in the back of the head 

2) George seems to be the only one affected of Lennies death like Candy is the only one saddened by his dog's death  

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. Those who are oppressed are always in the shadows and don't have a valued voice

.Prejudice stems from society's attitudes. Where they have little power and are inferior

.They are a sub-division of loneliness as they are ostracised

.The main forms of prejudice are sexism, racism and ageism 


1) Crooks is intelligent and insightful but this isn't recognised as he is black. He is lonely and is literal seperated from the bunkhouse making him alienated 

2) Curley's wife is a victim of stereotypes and is assumed to be like the women in the brothel they visit. The male dominance makes her completely segregated and worthless

3)Candy is a person who hasn't always been discriminated. His age makes him undesirable and so his power is disposed of. This may be even worse than Crooks and Curley's wife discrimination because everyone has turned their back on him 

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