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Of Mice and Men
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Themes in Of Mice and Men

Themes in Of Mice and Men

The Nature of Dreams

In essence, Of Mice and Men is as much a story about the nature of human dreams and aspirations and the forces that work against them as it is the story of two men.

Humans give meaning to their livesand to their futuresby creating dreams. Without dreams and goals, life is an endless stream of days that have little connection or meaning.

George and Lennies dreamto own a little farm of their ownis so central to Of Mice and Men that it appears in some form in five of the six chapters.

Loneliness

In addition to dreams, humans crave contact with others to give life meaning. Loneliness is present throughout this novel.

Slide 46

Themes in Of Mice and Men

Themes in Of Mice and Men

Powerlessness

Steinbecks characters are often the underdogs, and he shows compassion toward them throughout the body of his writings. Powerlessness takes many formsintellectual, financial, societaland Steinbeck touches on them all.

Fate

Lifes unpredictable nature is another subject that defines the human condition. Just when it appears that George and Lennie will get their farm, fate steps in.

My Brothers Keeper

Steinbeck makes the reader wonder whether mankind should go alone in the world or be responsible and helpful to others who are less fortunate.

Nature

Steinbeck uses nature images to reinforce his themes and to set the mood.

Slide 47

Of Mice and Men  Titles Origin

Of Mice and Men Titles Origin

The title of the novel comes from a poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759 -96)

The best laid schemes o mice and men

Gang aft agley [often go wrong]

And leave us nought but grief and pain

For promised joy!

The best laid schemes of mice and men often go wrong- referring to a little mouse who had so carefully built her burrow in a field to protect herself and her little mice babies and the burrow is turned over and destroyed by the man plowing.

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