Of Mice and Men Themes

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In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck illustrates themes of friendship, loneliness, seclusion through the use of his characters. In the novel Lennie and George are both secluded by choice while Curley's wife is secluded by her husband.

First, Lennie Small is a character in the story that depends on his friend George to give him advice and protect him in situations he does not understand. His enormous strength and his pleasure in petting soft animals are a dangerous combination. He and George share the dream of owning a farm, but he does not understand the meaning of that dream. He is secluded in that idea, and taking care of rabbits, that he doesn't realize that it would only be a dream in the end. Second, George Milton is a migrant worker who protects and cares for Lennie. George dreams of some day owning his own land, but he realizes the difficulty of making this dream come true. George gives Lennie advice and tries to watch out for him, ultimately taking responsibility for not only his life but also his death. Although George has Lennie, he is still secluded. Because Lennie is mentally handicapped, he won't understand anything George tries to tell him unless he wants to understand or remember it. For example, Lennie won't remember something simple George will tell him, but he will remember every word George says about the farm or the animals, because he wants to remember it.

Finally, Curley's wife is the only character in the novel who is given no name, she is Curley's possession. She taunts and irritates the people on the ranch into talking with her, something that causes Curley to beat them up. George sees her as a "tart," but Lennie is fascinated by her soft hair and looks. She is coldly portrayed as a female tease until the final scene, in which you hear about her earlier dreams. Lonely and impatient, she married too quickly to a husband who neglects her. In conclusion, each character in this novel is somehow secluded, whether it be by choice or not, and...
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