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Of Mice and also Men is one of the many widely assigned modern novels in high schools due to the fact that of both its form and the problems that that raises. John Steinbeck’s dependence on dialogue, together opposed come contextual description, makes the work obtainable to young readers, as does his use of foreshadowing and also recurrent images. Equally essential is the method in which that intertwines the themes of loneliness and also friendship and also gives dignity come those characters, specifically Lennie and Crooks, who are plainly different from their peers. By focusing on a team of lonely drifters, Steinbeck highlights the perceived isolation and also sense that “otherness” that can seem so overwhelming when one is farming up.

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Of Mice and also Men is likewise important because it explores the means in which occasions can conspire against the realization of one’s dreams. It pits a group of fault individuals against a collection of scenarios that they are unable to understand or, in the instance of Lennie, also to comprehend. This is a design template that Steinbeck likewise explores in his standard novel The Grapes the Wrath (1939).

When Steinbeck began Of Mice and Men, he was planning to compose a children’s book called Something the Happened. His will was to demonstrate that occasions often have actually a momentum of your own and need not reflect the existence of a greater power the is exacting punishment. Probably it was for this reason that he determined to retitle the book, illustration from Robert Burns’s oft-quoted poem “To a Mouse,” which consists of the line “The best-laid schemes o’ mouse an’ males gang aft a-gley.”

Throughout john Steinbeck’s career, his affinity and compassion for the typical person’s battle for autonomy surfaces as a recurrent link amongst his works. Of Mice and also Men, collection in California’s Salinas Valley, depicts the civilization of the migrant worker, a human being in i beg your pardon Steinbeck himself had lived, and the workers’ find for independence. Steinbeck was critical of what he viewed as the joined States’ materialism, and his work-related echoes his convictions about the land and also its people. Prefer the personalities in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Of Mice and also Men’s George and Lennie dream the a item of floor to contact their own.

Published in 1937, Of Mice and also Men to be Steinbeck’s an initial major success. Unlike later novels, Of Mice and Men is not a politically urged protest novel. It does, however, reflect Steinbeck’s belief in the interdependence the society, a theme he continues to check out in the human body of his work. For Steinbeck’s characters, the dream the land represents independence and also dignity: the American Dream. George and Lennie embody the ordinary person’s battle to master the dream, which consists of “a little bit the land, no much. Jus’ som’thin that was his.” This is among the main themes that propels the novel’s characters and their actions.

As the location suggests, the finest laid plan of mice and men can, and also do, walk awry. They room doomed native the start because of Lennie’s deadly flaw—he is developmentally disabled and therefore i can not qualify of happen the dream come fruition—but his naïveté also permits both him and also George to go after the dream. Lennie’s innocence permits George to believe that the dream might be attainable: “George said softly, ’I think i knowed we’d never do her. The usta like to hear around it so lot I got to thinking probably we would.’” Lennie is the keeper of the dream; the does not concern its unpreventable fulfillment, he merely believes. Without this innocence, George would certainly be favor all the various other ranch hands, wasting his money on whiskey and women, drifting aimlessly native one job to the next.

George and Lennie space juxtaposed against a group of isolated misfits, to display not only that they require each other but also that people cannot live in isolation there is no consequences. Steinbeck uses personalities such as Candy, Crooks, and Curley’s mam to highlight the isolation of the person condition. Each of these characters is attracted to George and also Lennie and their vision; they, too, want to re-superstructure in the dream. Their dreams have been systematically damaged by the insensitivity that the world; together a result, lock must ideal George and also Lennie’s dream. George, Crooks, Candy, and also Curley’s mam all have the mental capacity to attain the dream, however lack the innocent id that is necessary to make it come true. The is their experience that keeps them from attaining the dream. In the world, innocence is certain shattered—one should wake indigenous the dream.

Because Lennie can never happen from his state the innocence to that of experience, he need to be destroyed. Lennie represents that component in George, probably in everyone, that stays childlike. It is vital that George, himself, must ruin Lennie and also that Lennie literally dies with the dream. Before his death, Lennie repeats the dream favor a catechism and urges George, “Le’s execute it now,” after which George traction the trigger. Lennie dies with the dream.

Lennie becomes a metaphor for the death of innocence within a selfish culture that cannot understand him or his partnership with George. To illustrate this point, Steinbeck permits the personality Carlson the last word, “Now what the hell ya mean is eatin’ them 2 guys?” Carlson displayed an apathetic society that cannot understand a connection based top top trust and love rather than avarice. Carlson insists upon death Candy’s dog since “He don’t have actually no fun.” like the society he epitomizes, every one of Carlson’s judgments transaction in the superficial. Because that Steinbeck, the is a people that can not sustain innocence.

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Idealism vs. Reality

Of Mice and Men speak the story that two an easy men who shot to to escape homelessness, economic poverty, and emotional and psychological corruption. Otherwise, the fate that those who do not abandon the stays they lead as itinerant employees is bleak and dehumanizing. As George tells Slim, the mule driver "I watched the guys that go approximately on the ranches alone. The ain"t no good. Lock don"t have actually no fun. After a lengthy time they get mean." George and Lennie dream of owning a farm, yet by the end of the novel the dream has failed. Their plan is doomed because human fellowship cannot make it through in their civilization and also because their photo of the farm yard is too many idealized. The is likely that even if they had obtained the farm, their stays would not have actually been as comfortable together they had actually imagined; they would not have enjoyed the fraternal harmony the is part of their dream. In fact, their dream that contentment in the contemporary world is unpractical and also does not accurately reflect the human being condition. Crooks, the black stablehand, expresses his doubts around the dream. "Nobody never gets come heaven, and also nobody it s okay no land. It"s just in your head. They"re all the time talkie" about it, but it"s jus" in your head." Crooks is referring not just to literal meaning ownership but to the dream the contentment about which these basic men fantasize. Implicitly in the theme is the ironic idea that maturity requires the devastation of one"s dreams. George "matures" by death Lennie, thus ruining the dream that can not endure in modern-day civilization. George survives because he pipeline behind his unrealistic dreams. Dreaming, however, is humanity"s only defense versus an indifferent world. The title of the novel itself means that civilization are in ~ the mercy of external forces past their control. Steinbeck writes through sincere compassion for the victim of these chaotic forces.

Alienation and also Loneliness

Loneliness is a recurrent theme in the novel. "Guys favor us," George says, "that job-related on the ranches, are the loneliest men in the world. They acquired no family. Castle don"t belonging noplace." Lennie replies: "But not us. And why. Because . . . Because I gained you to look after ~ me, and you got me to look" after ~ you, and also that"s why." The alternate to the companionship the George and also Lennie re-superstructure is loneliness. George frequently affirms the fraternity between them. "He"s my . . . Cousin," George tells the ranch boss. "I told his old lady I"d take care of the " The boss is suspiciously of the bond in between George and Lennie, and also the other personalities in turn additionally question this friendship: they have actually simply never seen anything prefer it. In your world, isolation is the norm. Also Slim, that is usually sympathetic and understanding, expresses surprise. "Ain"t countless guys travel around together. I don"t know why. Perhaps ever"body in the entirety damned human being is fear of every other." distrust is the top quality of the modern-day world in which human being live in alienation indigenous one another. Later, the template of loneliness is more explored in the solitude borne through Crooks and Curley"s wife, that dies as a result of seeking human companionship. Both these characters crave firm and, as Curley"s mam says, "someone to talk to."

Despite everyone"s suspicion, the friendship in between George and also Lennie continues to be solid. In fact, candy becomes part of their dream come buy the tiny farm, and later Crooks additionally expresses his desire come become part of the widening fellowship. This is the high suggest of positive outlook in regard come the theme of overcoming loneliness in the modern-day world, when it seems most likely that alienation and also loneliness will be overcome. ~ this point, however, the dream the fellowship top top the farm begins to shed its promise, and at the moment that George and also Candy discover the human body of Curley"s wife, castle both realize that the dream is lost; your partnership dissolves. Actually, the dream was doomed indigenous the start, because fraternal living cannot survive in a people ruled by loneliness, homelessness, and poverty.

This outcome also suggests the loneliness is an essential part of humanity"s nature. This template of loneliness has actually been implied from the start of the novel, once the author establishes the setup as "a couple of miles southern of Soledad." Soledad is the name of a town in central California, yet it is likewise the Spanish word because that solitude. However Steinbeck"s focus is ~ above the greatness the his characters" attempt to live together brothers. Back the dream is doomed, the personalities devote themselves to pursuing human being fellowship.

Race and also Racism

Somewhat regarded the template of loneliness is racism, which also results in personal isolation. Crooks, the old black man on the ranch, stays alone, ostracized by the ranch hands because of his race. The obstacle of gyeongju prejudice is summary broken, however, once Crooks becomes an allied in the dream come buy a farm. Crooks has actually a bitterness dignity and honesty that show Steinbeck"s own criticism that American society"s failure in the Depression era the the 1930s.

Class Conflict

Although George and Lennie have their dream, they space not in a place to achieve it. In enhancement to their own personal limitations, they space also restricted by their position in society. Their idealistic dream is eventually destroyed by an unfeeling, materialistic, modern society. The tensions between the characters are natural in the nature of American capitalism and its course system. Curley, the child of the ranch owner, is arrogant and always looking because that a fight. This is not just a personality trait. His place in society has urged this behavior; his real strength lies no in his fighting ability but in his strength to fire any worker. Similarly, Carlson, the only skilled worker among the ranch hands, is arrogant and lacks compassion. Carlson would be daunting to change in his task as a mechanic; therefore, that feels secure sufficient in his standing to act the various other workers sadistically. This characteristics is seen once he orders Candy"s dog to be shot and when he choose on Lennie. The various other workers go along with Carlson due to the fact that they are old or fear of losing their jobs. Lennie"s mental retardation likewise symbolizes the helplessness of people in a capitalistic, commercial, vain society. In this way, Steinbeck illustrates the confusion and hopelessness of the Depression era. The negative were a course of civilization who suddenly had caught the creativity of American writers in the 1930s. This was an instance of the shift in attitudes that arisen during the Depression. Previously, American fiction had been involved with the difficulties of middle-class people. Steinbeck"s novel to be a sympathetic portrayal of the lives of the poorest course of functioning people, when exposing society"s injustices and economic inequalities in the expect of improving their situation.

Mental Disability

Lennie"s psychological limitations likewise serve to show another method in which human being separate themselves from one another. Because of his handicap, Lennie is rubbish by anyone at the ranch except George. The ranch hands are suspicious that Lennie and fear him once they identify his physics strength and his i can not qualify to control himself. Because that example, when Crooks maliciously teases Lennie that George might decide to give up his friend and that Lennie would certainly then finish up in "the booby hatch," Lennie becomes enraged. Eventually, Crooks backs turn off in fear of what Lennie might do come hurt him. In spite of Lennie"s potential for hurting people, however, Steinbeck renders it clear the it is the malice, fear, and anger in other human being that room to blame because that Lennie"s violent actions (Crooks torments Lennie the end of his own frustration for being rejected because he is black). When Curly starts to hit Lennie because that supposedly laughing in ~ him, Lennie at very first retreats and allows his face to become bloodied till George speak him he need to fight back; and also when Lennie accidentally kills Curly"s wife, it is a direct an outcome of her inappropriate developments toward him. Steinbeck"s portrayal that Lennie"s handicap is therefore completely sympathetic; the other personalities have only themselves come blame for provoking Lennie, who is merely a kid in a people of selfish adults. That Lennie needs to die at the novel"s conclusion is a touching commentary top top the inability of the innocent to endure in contemporary society.


George is steadfastly loyal throughout the novel, honoring his commitment come take treatment of the retarded Lennie. After Lennie accidentally kills Curley"s wife, Curley creates a posse come lynch Lennie. George climate steals a pistol and goes to the spot whereby he has actually told Lennie to hide in instance there is trouble: the exact same spot where the novel begins. George then kills Lennie himself before the mob can find him therefore he have the right to save Lennie native a lynching. Together the two guys recite the dream of their farm yard for the critical time. George mercifully death Lennie v a shot to the head if Lennie is chanting the dream, unaware that what is around to take place to him. George, with all his an individual limitations, is a guy who has actually committed self in a compassionate relationship. The grief the feels end the necessity of death Lennie is additionally evidence of George"s essential decency. Back the dream perishes, the design template of appointment achieves its strongest suggest in the novel"s conclusion. Unlike Candy, who earlier abandoned duty for his old dog and allows Carlson to shoot the animal, George remains his brother"s keeper. In his acceptance of complete responsibility for Lennie, George displayed the commitment vital to sign up with the ranking of Steinbeck"s heroes.

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The one ingredient crucial for the fulfillment of George"s and Lennie"s dream is friendship. And because the dream is so remarkable, that friendship have to be special. There are other friendships in the novel: Slim and Carlson, Candy and also Crooks, but these are simple friendships. The bond in between George and also Lennie, which goes ago many years, is different. Lennie cannot survive on his own, and he demands George come guide and also protect him. Without George, Lennie would live in a cavern in the hills, as he sometimes threatens to do, or he would be institutionalized. George, because that his part, complains regularly around having to take treatment of Lennie. His yongin of Lennie additionally gives him a sense of superiority. At the same time, George feel a actual affection because that Lennie the he will certainly not open minded admit. Most importantly, there is no this friendship, no George nor Lennie alone could sustain the dream, much much less see it come to be a reality. The friendship lends expect to the dream, however the fact of their brutal life destroys the dream and also the friendship. Back George is a survivor at the end, he is doomed to be alone.