Of Mice and Men GCSE AQA

Notes about the novella Of Mice and Men

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Levy
  • Created on: 19-05-13 11:28

Loneliness

Everyone is lonely
George says "ranchers are the loneliest guys in the world"
Crooks - says guys get "lonely" - segregated - black
Curley's wife gets "awful lonely" - not given a proper name - referred to as "Curley's wife"
Looking for companion can end badly: G and L - L dies - G alone: C's wife flirts, looks for
company - gets killed: Candy - dog is killed, dream dies with Lennie
Animals seen as temporary solution - Lennie, mice and rabbits: Candy's dog

1 of 11

Prejudice

Disabled - men needed to be fit to work: mental disabilities were not understood
Age - unable to work/look after self
Racism - blacks segregated in many states - on the ranch Crooks is separated:
He is picked on: given "hell" by boss: threatened by C's wife. Likes the idea of the dream (to
own a farm) - can be equal: but realises that it's not possible after C's wife threatens him
Candy - treated badly - age and disability "I ain't much good with one hand": loses dog and
dream
Women - C's wife is the only woman in the book: lonely - uses looks to get attention - men
react - considered a tart etc: people thought women should be at home with the children: she
had a dream - but now alone with Curley - who goes to brothels with other men
Other women mentioned - girl in Weed - causes G and L to go to Soledad: Susy the brothel
keeper - has a sense of humour - gives men short term happiness: Aunt Clara - looked after
Lennie - he was afraid of her
Men and women do not understand each other: men think C's wife is a trouble maker (she is
lonely) C's wife thinks men are useless - G will never get his ranch: Curley does not
understand his wife - thinks a hand covered with Vaseline (to keep it soft) is enough: C's wife
Does not understand C's frustrations either (small, has to be tougher than the other men)

2 of 11

Dreams

G and L - want a better life: G wants to be his own boss and have his own property. The
dream keeps them going - L more so - not sure G really believed in it (for a moment when
Candy offers money)
George speaks rhythmically - when he repeats the dream to Lennie - sometimes bored -
sometimes with enthusiasm "entranced" - at the end "I knowd we'd never do her"
Whit and Carlson - no dreams - earn money for whiskey and sex
C's wife - wanted to be in "pictures": but trapped with Curley

No one achieves their dreams in the novel: in 1930's USA many believed that the idea of the American Dream was over

3 of 11

Destiny

Many events are foreshadowed - we know the book will end badly: L's violence gets worse:
L is deceitful: symbolism - shooting of Candy's dog
Most characters have little control over their destiny - Lennie dependent upon George:
C's wife - her mother and the director (did mother hide the letters or director not bother?) then
Curley. Killed by L because no one was watching him
Slim: Godlike, controls small things - life on ranch, Candy's dog, stops Curley from sacking G
and L - cannot stop death of C's wife or Lennie

4 of 11

Death

Death in nearly every chapter: 1 - L kills mouse: 2 - Slim drowns 4 puppies: 3 - Candy's dog
shot: 5 - puppy and C's wife: 6 - snake and Lennie
Death is a part of life on the ranch - no one can escape it
Reactions to death are different: L no difference to killing a human or animal: George -
concerned about L not C's wife: Curley - no affection for wife - just wants revenge: Candy devastated - because he has lost his dream: Slim - treats C's wife with respect in death

Death ends everyone's dreams

5 of 11

Chapter 1: by the pond

George and Lennie arrive in a natural peaceful scene: but a fish "mysteriously" sinks in the

water - ominous

Lennie drinks too much water - childish: low intelligence

Lennie - animalistic images - bear/paw/strong

George - intelligent - quick eyes/"restless eyes"

George talks about the dream - but red and green rabbits make it seem unreal

George loses temper - mouse - ketchup - "crazy *******" wishes he was alone - then looks

ashamed lay into the flames

Foreshadowing: both on the run from Weed: Lennie told to "hide in brush" if any problems

(George expects it?) many other people have made the journey - "beaten hard" - so nothing special about them - just two more of many millions

6 of 11

Chapter 2: arrive at the ranch

Men both nice and cruel
Candy helps them settle in - George unhappy with beds - Carlson jokes about Lennie not
being "very Small" (name is Lennie Small)
Men shown to be lonely - not likely to stay for long - few items in apple boxes:
lonely - magazines/solitaire - symbols of loneliness
CRUEL - Candy about Curley's wife - "got the eye" "tart"
CARLSON - dog - heartless demanding it is shot - dog is "old and useless" - symbolic of old
like Candy - who will have no one to care for them at old age
CROOKS - stable buck (looks after horses) alone - "given hell" by some as he is black
BOSS AND CURLEY - unfriendly - boss suspicious "what you tryin' to pull"
CURLEY - "like all little guys, he hates big guys": foreshadowing - George says he will "get
hurt" if he messes with Lennie
CURLEY'S WIFE - red - danger "rouged lips" red fingernails, mules etc: Lennie says "purty"
George threatens Lennie to "stay away from that *****" she is lonely - pretends to look for
Curley/tries to attract men
SLIM - nicest man - shown by description: he has "majesty: has a "prince" like authority: he is
kind to George and Lennie
WORRIED - G and L worried: G shouts at Lennie for talking to Boss: scared Curley will fight
with Lennie: worried about C's wife: Lennie afraid too "I don't like this place ...""I wanna get
outta here" (foreshadowing)

7 of 11

Chapter 3: dreams and fights

George finds adult company in Slim and opens up to him - Slim agrees Lennie is "like a kid":
G tells Slim about Weed (grabs RED dress and cannot "leggo": Slim agrees "Lennie ain't
mean"
Whit reads letter - found in magazine - published - from old ranch hand: exciting because life
is so boring: Whit also invites G to brothel - shows how life could be without Lennie and the
dream
Candy's dog: Carlson cruel, Candy powerless - upset. Slim agrees - offers puppy - illustrates
Candy's loneliness and foreshadows killing of Lennie (putting down old/disabled)
Dream possible? Candy offers money G excited - only time G believes the dream is possible -
only part of book with HOPE
FIGHT spoils everything: Curley picks on L as he is smiling (L's dreaming - but C thinks he is laughing at him) L described in animalistic terms - warning of strength: L asks G for help - but told to "Get 'im". Hand crushed - flopping fish: note Slim calls Curley a "dirty little rat" sneaky and small
SLIM - takes control as George is afraid they will be "canned" (wants money to put with Candy's) so Slim persuades C not to tell - he tells Curley men will laugh at him (was this a wise decision by Slim and George?)

8 of 11

Chapter 4: Crooks room

L is left alone by G - visits Crooks: black own room - using horse liniment for back - disabled hence name - hard life in pain: lonely - by animals/uses animal medicine - reinforces the idea of being lower than white men. Cares about his rights "California Civil Code" in his room and is educated
Candy joins them - all 3 dream - 3 least powerful: black/old and crippled/mental disability
Dreams - Lennie tends the rabbits: Candy "not be thrown off" (place to live and die on) Crook "lend a hand for some company
Curley's wife - looks down on them ****** - lousy ole sheep - and a dum dum
Crooks tries to assert his rights - racism seen as she tells him "I could get you strung up so fast it ain't funny" "seemed to grow smaller" and "reduced himself to nothing" afraid
Curley's wife mean as she is alone - she wanted her dream to be in "pictures" - stuck with Curley
Crooks also mean to Lennie - tells him G will not come back - has someone below him: bitter due to treatment and loneliness
Back to normal - men come back - Crooks denies wanting to be part of the dream - chapter end with Crooks applying liniment - alone without a dream

9 of 11

Chapter 5: Lennie kills Curley's wife

Peaceful start in barn with sounds of men playing horseshoes outside - normal but turns more ominous - "four talloned Jackson fork" suspended above. Dead puppy foreshadows death of Curley's wife. (Mouse/puppy/wife)
Curley's wife tells Lennie of her dreams and why she married Curley: invites him to touch h soft hair: he decides not to let go - she panics and "flops like a dead fish" as Lennie tries to keep her quiet. He runs to hide in the brush aware he has done another bad thing and afraid that G will be "mad"
All dreams over - Candy blames C's wife for "messing it up": afraid that Curley will kill Lennie: knows the dream won't happen. George - "I should've known": dream over
Curley wants revenge "shot for the guts" doesn't care about wife - just revenge: Slim says they will put him in a "cage" to stop them "hurtin' Lennie" he goes to kill him
Slim checks that C's wife is dead: Curley does not bother - description of her after death as pretty etc after death as "all the ache for attention had left her face"

10 of 11

Chapter 6: George shoots Lennie

Lennie goes back to pool - circular novel - destiny was decided at the beginning: he killed the mouse here: Heron eats the snake - foreshadows his violent death
Lennie disturbed - afraid and feels guilty. Aunt Clara and Rabbit - visions are his conscience telling him off: but feels guilty not for killing - but for letting George down and worries he will not be able to "tend the rabbits"
Giant rabbit is like the voice of George - similar angry language "crazy *******"
Lennie is seeing these things because he is scared and confused
George arrives: does not want to kill - only friend no dream without Lennie - or purpose in life: but has to - Curley will hurt him - send him to prison or worse
Uses dream to distract Lennie (as Lennie used it to distract George when angry) he speaks "shakily" and it is causing his hand to "shake violently" - emphasis his distress
Different reactions: Curley impressed with head shot: George in shock can "hardly speak": Slim comforts "you hadda": Carlton - "what's eatin those two" - no understanding
Slim leads George to highway he came on - now alone, dream lost forever: symbolising all the Americans without hope at the time

11 of 11

Comments

shawnee101

i found this useful

Paul Dutton

A solid set of notes on themes in the novel.  Contains some relevant and useful quotes.

ZaraAli

Thanks for revision cards

Ethan Bradberry

was good xcept u r garamar an spel is a bad

420/10

would blaze again

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Of Mice and Men resources »