Of Mice and Men - Themes

Revision notes on the themes in of mice and men!

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  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 21-05-12 23:17

Theme 1: Loneliness and Isolation

  • The bunk house guys blow their money every saturday on prostitutes and beer at "Suzy's place" - They go for some companionship but ulitimately it doesnt stop them from being lonely 
  • Ranchers travel alone: The ranchers comment on how strange it is the George and Lennie are friends ("Funny how you an' him string along together")
  • Crooks, the stable buck, is segregated from the others because he is black. Although he comes off as "proud" and "aloof" Crooks wants companionship. "a guy needs somebody -- to be near him.."
  • Curlys wife is lonely - She's in a loveless marriage with an unfaithful husband (curley goes to the brothel with the others) Curleys wife flirts with the other ranchers for attention or appreciation
  • Soledad (nearby town) - Spanish word for 'solitude' or 'loneliness'
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Solutions to loneliness

Unsloved loneliness

  • Lennie and George's dream of having their own place - they think this will solve everything 
  • Lennie and George have eachother although George still seems lonely (He tells slim "I aint got noone") 
  • Animals are a temporary solution to loneliness for Lennie, but Lennie kills all the animals he has 
  • Even marriage doesnt solve the loneliness
  • Steinbeck provides no solution to loneliness - it is human nature and it is not something the characters can change
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Theme 2: Predjudice (Crooks)


  • Either picked on or treated indifferently
  • The boss gives Crooks "hell"
  • Candy pauses to "relish" on the memory of Crooks fich even though he says he's a "nice fella"
  • Slim treats Crooks with civility - he doesnt talk down to him
  • Called "******" which is a term that is offensive
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  • Lennie and George dream of owning a farm or a bit of land. George says that the rabbits on the dran farmwould be "Red and blue and green ones" This makes the dream seem unreal
  • Candy takes inspiration from George and Lennies dream and joins them because he is old (Represented through his dog he knows he will just be effectively shot when he is no longer useful//Joining their dream gives him companionship links with loneliness theme)
  • Crooks dreams of being equal 
  • Candys wife dreams of being a hollywood movie star
  • Whit and Carlson have no dream or no abition, so they are niether happy or unhappy and you could say they just exist
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  • Lennie has no control over his destiny - he is completely reliant upon George
  • Curley's wife couldnt control her destiney when she was younger and become a movie star because "my ol' lady wouldn't let me." She cannot change her destiney now because she is married and stuck on the ranch
  • Destined to go wrong (says in title) 

     The best laid schemes o' mice and men
    often go wrong
    and leave us nought but grief and pain
    for promised joy 

                          -  Robert Burns

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