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Great depression

In 1929 millions of dollars was wiped out in an event known as the wall street crash, This led to the economic depression AKA the great depression that included poverty and unemployment. This relates to the of mice and men characters as everyone working on the ranch is in poverty and is working to survive and overcome the great depression in order to acquire their dream.
This is seen here George ' We got ten bucks between us ' And spits on the floor. ' I aint spending two and a half on that '

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Migrant workers

The troubles of the drought led to dead harvests and dry land, this led to workers moving in order to find jobs, and California was known as ' the land of plenty' - This relates to characters as ' why they just quit like any man would ' 
'We're not like the others we have a future' Workers were constantly moving around in order to get away from a dead end job that was leading to no where. It could also refer to the defeat of the characters American Dreams

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American dream

Prosperity and success through hard-work, This relates to the characters as all of them believe in an American dream - GEORGE, LENNIE and CANDY want a world of independence ' No one can tell us to get out '. CURLEYS WIFE ' I wanted to be in the pictures '

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Franklin D. Roosevelt

Roosevelt was elected president in 1932 and had aims of Reform/Recovery/Relief. He was hope for the americans. This relates to the characters of Lennie/Crooks/Candy as it shows even disabled people had hope. (FDR WAS DISABLED)

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in 1896 segregation laws were passed which meant that white and black people had separate utilities, black people normally had the lesser quality goods. - Crooks' Segregation. 
Common use of Racist language ' Take that N*****s shotgun ' 
There were also groups such as KKK That suppressed violence towards the blacks by attacking them and lynching them, KKK would also attack anyone who associate's with black people this is why no one associate's with crooks as they are afraid. 'Candy stops at the door and takes a step back' (when going to crooks' room)

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Women had limited roles and were seen to be a Husbands possession. Curleys wife was Curleys possession as her name suggests therefore she is seen as '*********' and a liability as you had to respect a mans possession. She is also owned by curly ' I am sick and tired of being told what to do '. Curleys wife does not fit the role of how a married women should be so is labeled a 'TART'

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1. Dreams are exactly that

2. A true friend never lies

3. Loyalty and friendship are the same hing

4. Death is a part of life

5. Its possible to be loney in the company of friends

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Chapter one - Foreshadowing


  • Lennie has killed creatures in the past.
  • They lost their old jobs.
  • Lennie gets into lots of trouble with a quote 'get in trouble like you (Lennie) always done before'.
  • Lennie forgets things.
  • Expectation of trouble: meet at stream if something bad happens.
  • Need escape route if something goes wrong.
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Chapter two - Foreshadowing


  • Curley takes a dislike to Lennie and George.
  • George takes a dislike to Curley.
  • Curley's wife is a 'jail-bait' because she's a flirt.
  • Lennie is attracted to Curley's wife.
  • Lennie wants a puppy but from previous experiences might kill it.
  • Lennie's disability to talk and not be as clever is making him a target.
  • Lennie doesn't like it and wants to leave.
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Chapter three

  • George opens up to Slim about Lenny - friendship and loneliness - P65-69 - Slim and George
  • Killing the dog, Candy letting the dog get shot - violence and selfishness - P70-74 - Slim, Candy, Carlson and George.
  • The silence before the shot - Awkwardness - P75-76 - Everyone, Candy especially.
  • Curley suspects wife is with Slim - violence and conflict - P81-83 - Curley and Slim.
  • Candy, George and Lennie dream about future life becoming possible - dreams, friendship, loneliness and unity - P83-89 - Candy, George and Lennie.
  • Slim confronts Curley - conflict - P89-90 - Slim and Curley.
  • [Climax] Curley fights with Lennie, Lennie squashes Curley's hand - violence and conflict - P90-94 - Lennie, Curley, Slim and George.                  The beginning to Lennie's troubles.
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Chapter four - overview

All the men go into town on Saturday night except Lennie, Candy and Crooks.

Crooks reluctantly allows Lennie into his room where they talk.

Crooks taunts Lennie that George may not return, leaving Lennie on his own. Lennie begins to panic at this though and Crooks is forced to apologise in an attempt to calm Lennie down.

Candy joins they and he and Lennie let slip to Crooks their intention to buy a farm. They are interrupted by Curley's wife, who is looking for company.

Candy and Crooks resent her presence and when Crooks orders her out of his room, she attacks him verbally, using her superior social status as a white women.

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Chapter four - Crooks

  • Intellectual (has a big collection of books).
  • Lonely - makes him aggressive but friendly.
  • Desperate for friendship.
  • Wants a new life e.g. farm.
  • Has a (american) dream too.
  • One of the 'weak ones' or 'bindle stiffs' (used by Curley's wife, almost saying they are the misfits).
  • Proud and feels superior.
  • Has a streak of cruelness.




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Chapter four - Curley's wife


  • Flirty
  • Dangerous and almost cruel.
  • Wants attention and someone to talk to.
  • Lonely and therefore is part of the 'weak ones' or 'bindle stiffs'.
  • Harbours her own secret (american) dream - being in Hollywood as an actress.
  • Manipulative.
  • Controlled by Curley.
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chapter four - Themes

  • 'A guy needs somebody' -----------> 'I tell ya a guy gets too lonely' 
  • 'We're gonna have rabbits an' a berry patch' P106
  • 'Get a little piece of land in his head' P106
  • 'An' never a God damn one of 'em ever get it' P106
  • 'I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny' P113
  • 'Listen, ******' P113
  • 'Nobody listen's to you' P114
  • 'Nobody listens to us' P114
  • 'They left all the weak ones here' P110
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Chapter five - Curley's wife

'And the meanness and the planning and the discontent and the ache of attention were all gone from her face' P129 Translation - The prejudice, conflict, dreams and loneliness had all gone from her face. Death is the only release for her, she's only truly happy when she's dead.

  • She doesn't like Curly 'I don't like Curly'.
  • Tolerant and understanding for Lenny.
  • Empathy for Lennie.
  • Desperately lonely.
  • She had dreams that were then shattered when she married Curly.
  • Always called 'Curley's wife' like a possession and to make her linked to Curley.

As well as there being a lot about Curley's wife, there is just as much in chapter 5 to do with the dream.

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Chapter five - The dream


  • George controls the dream and decides it can't and was never going to happen.
  • Candy, George and Lennie's dream is shattered.
  • Curley's wife had a dream of being in Hollywood as an actress: her dream is shattered.
  • Candy's impression of Curley's wife stays the same even when she dies.
  • Slim and George are sorry for Lennie doing it because only them to know what Lennie is like.
  • Curley's view is not of sadness but at anger for Lennie killing his wife.
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Chapter six - overview

George meets up with Lennie at the clearing where he had instructed Lennie to go in the event of any trouble. Lennie is panicking and George attempts to calm him down by telling him once again about their ranch (their dream). George distracts Lennie's attention and shoots him in the back of the head with Carlson's Luger pistol which he had stolen from the bunk house.

cyclical nature of the plot

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  Dream 'I could live so easily' P24 Dreams 'I could stay in a cat house all night'  'get whatever I want' P29 Dreams 'we got a future' P32 Loneliness/friendship 'we got somebody to talk to' Prejudice 'Don't even take a look at that *****' Conflict/violence 'Get um Lennie, don't let him do it' P96

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Conflict/warning (George) 'Hide in the brush' P34 Violence 'make 'um stop George' P91 Prejudice 'smiled helplessly in an attempt to make friends' P99 Dreams 'gonna let me tend the rabbits' Conflict/violence 'Don't you go yellin' he said, and he shook her. (towards the end) Friendship 'Me an' you' (at the end) Dreams 'Le's do it now. Le's get that place now'

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Loneliness/friendship 'I can see Lennie ain't a bit mean' P67  Loneliness/friendship 'Slim asked calmly' P67 Conflict/violence 'You lay off me (to Curley)' P90 Loneliness/friendship 'You hadda, George. I swear you hadda' P148 Loneliness/friendship 'a guy got to sometimes' P148 Loneliness/friendship 'that ain't no good George' P148

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Dream 'Tell ya what Lennie I been figuring out about those rabbits' Loneliness/friendship 'I ought to of shot that dog myself' Conflict/violence 'let no stranger shoot my dog' Prejudice got called a 'bindle bum' by Curley's wife

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Loneliness/conflict 'you go on get outta my room' 

Loneliness/conflict 'Don't come in a place where you're not wanted'

Prejudice 'Cause I'm black. They play cards in there, but I can't play cards because I'm black.'

Loneliness 'ther're talkin', or they're sittin' still not talkin'' P103

Violence (Lennie) 'who hurt George?' he demandeP104

Loneliness 'I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick' P105

Violence 'An' never a God dam one of em gets it' P106

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Curley's wife

Prejudice 'They left all the weak ones here' P110 Loneliness 'Think I don't like to talk to somebody' Prejudice 'bindle bums' Conflict '*********' Dreams 'I coulda made somethin' of myself' P124 Loneliness 'I don't like Curley' P125 Friendship/dreams 'this guy says I was a natural' Friendship 'Your kinda a nice fella' P126

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Conflict/violence 'well, next time you answer when you're spoken to' P47 Conflict/violence 'come on, ya big *******' P96 Prejudice 'no big son-of-a-***** is gonna laugh at me' Loneliness (Curley's wife) 'I don't like Curley' P125 Conflict/violence 'I'm gonna shoot the guts outta that big ******* myself' P135


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'Let's get it over with' P72-75 Does't understand friendship 'why'nt you shoot him?' 'Did he have my gun?' P148 Loneliness/friendship 'now what the hell ya suppose is eating them two guys?' P149 'How'd you do it?' 'He wouldn't even quiver'

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Candy's dog

  • 1930's society - luxuries weren't normal, only had what was needed.

Helps to foresahdow the books ending

The dog is a represention of Candy 

----> if somone can't work they are useless in a society like theirs

---> deteriorating 


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Arthurian legends

Comradship of the knights - Lennie and George

Less fortunate to defend the poor and powerless is also a motif apparent in om&m

Nothing endures forever - the american dream, the land

Nature is used to reflect the mood of scenes

Nature - a reflection of foreboding

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The Bible

Adam and Eve

Imprefection of humans - temptation

                                       - humans ruin nature

Fall from grace - best laid plans go astray

Flawed human appetite 

Chance for Eden was futile 

Curley's wife:

  • serpent in garden
  • manipulator of men
  • tempts adam
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