Of Mice and Men - Themes

A couple of points and quotes for themes in Of Mice and Men: friendship, loneliness, dreams, violence, racism, power and animals/nature.

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  • Created by: Fern
  • Created on: 21-05-10 13:04

Animals/nature

  • Lennie is like an animal: he acts to satisfy his immediate needs and has no concept of the consequences of his actions, he picks up on atmosphere and body language and he is strong
  • Many characters are described as animals
  • The horses in the barn react to the atmosphere in the novel
  • The water snake, which is alive in the pool at the beginning of the novel and killed in the final section, shows that nature is harsh
  • Lennie's death is very similar to the death of Candy's dog, showing that Lennie is treated as/like an animal
  • Lennie adores animals and doesn't mean to hurt them
  • There is a consistent motif throughout the book of nature being disturbed by man, such as in the first scene, when the pool is calm and then George and Lennie can be heard approaching
  • Light is often used to show the passing of time
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Animals/nature quotes

  • Lennie: 'bear', 'paws', 'snorting...like a horse', drinks like a dog, 'terrier', 'bleated', 'growled', section 6: is wary, like an animal
  • Curley: 'rat', 'fish'
  • 'They'll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog' - Crooks, section 4
  • 'Put him in a cage' - Slim, section 5
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Power

  • Curley seeks power through violence
  • Section 4: Crooks over Lennie, Curley's wife over Candy, Curley's wife over Crooks
  • Slim has power over the others because he is respected
  • George has power over Lennie
  • The boss has power over everyone
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Power quotes

  • 'They left all the weak ones here' - Curley's wife, section 4
  • 'Crooks pressed forward some kind of private victory' - section 4
  • 'You keep your place then, Nigger' - Curley's wife, section 4
  • 'Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego' - section 4
  • 'You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?' - Curley's wife, section 4
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Racism

  • The men's treatment of Crooks is contradictory: they like him but beat him up
  • The men's racism is unconscious and simply part of life at the time
  • Crooks is treated more like an animal than a person
  • Lennie, like a child, doesn't understand racism
  • Crooks could also be said to be racist, but he is attempting to defend himself
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Racism quotes

  • 'If I say something, why it's just a ****** saying it' - Crooks, section 4
  • 'Didn't tell nobody but Crooks' - Candy, section 4
  • 'Why ain't you wanted?' - Lennie, section 4
  • 'A coloured man got to have some rights even if he don't like 'em' - Crooks, section 4
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Violence

  • The book becomes progressively more violent: first a mouse is killed, then a puppy, then a woman
  • The violence is casual and enjoyed (eg. at Christmas, mentioned in section 2)
  • Candy's dog is shot without any respect for Candy's feelings
  • The men are violent because they are isolated and in competition with each other
  • There is also mental violence (section 4)
  • The water snake, alive at the beginning of the book and killed at the end, shows the violent nature of the world
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Violence quotes

  • 'I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone [...] After a long time they get mean. They get wantin' to fight all the time.' - George
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Friendship

  • George and Lennie's friendship is highly unusual
  • George draws confidence from his relationship with Lennie
  • George and Lennie's relationship is like a father-child relationship
  • Candy has a friendship with his dog
  • The boss is suspicious of George and Lennie's friendship
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Friendship quotes

  • 'I want you to stay with me, Lennie' - George, section 1
  • 'I got you to look after me and you got me to look after you' - Lennie, section 1
  • '"We travel together," said George coldly. "Oh, so it's that way,'" - George/Curley, section 2
  • 'Made me seem God damn smart alongside of him' - George, section 3
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Loneliness

  • The men are lonely as a result of their lifestyle
  • Curley's wife is lonely bhecause she is the only woman and she searches for attention because of this
  • George and Lennie's friendship stops them being lonely
  • Crooks is lonely because he is the only black man
  • Loneliness came from/caused a lack of trust
  • The men play solitaire, which is a solitary game
  • Candy seeks solace from loneliness with his dog
  • Crooks seeks solace with his books and playing horseshoes
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Loneliness quotes

  • 'I tell ya a guy gets too lonely and he gets sick' - Crooks, section 4
  • 'Maybe ever'body in the whole damn world is scared of each other' - Slim
  • 'I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy' - The Boss, section 2
  • 'A guy on a ranch don't listen nor he don't ast no questions' - Candy, section 2
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Dreams

  • All the men share the American Dream
  • Curley's wife dreams of Hollywood
  • Dreams were especially important because life was so bleak
  • Crooks is skeptical of the dream
  • The dreams never come true and nothing ever changes, just like section 4 and the book as a whole, which begin and end the same way
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Dreams quotes

  • 'Live off the fatta the lan'' - Lennie, section 1
  • 'Ever'body wants a little piece of lan'' - Crooks, section 4
  • 'Nobody never gets to heaven and nobody gets no land' - Crooks, section 4
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Comments

Leanne Watson

this is the best one i have found on here :D

i love you who ever made this and you have saved my GCSE :D

**

2pasda

rubbish

Danny Gyngell

actually really good

Lullu

good

mariam687

amazing

u.sha

found this very useful - thanks to the person that made this 

07jessica23

very useful thanks!

Sidrah Salma

It was really helpful however, a few of the spelling mistakes confused me. But other than that it was the best source of revision i found.

Metel.

This is extremely useful as you have given the themes as well as the quotes from the passages.

Thank you.

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