An Analytical Look at the Themes in Of Mice and Men
Upon reading the novel entitled “Of Mice and Men” written by John Steinbeck, a reader will most often notice three themes. These themes are enduring hardship to achieve the American dream, hope and happiness, and the contrast of loneliness and friendship. Included in this essay will be an analysis of these three themes along with direct quotation and some short paraphrasing.
The Great Depression was a difficult time for all Americans. The economy was in a terrible state and many were forced to work just to meet the basic needs- food and shelter. Because of this, people moved around a lot looking for work. This is exactly what George Milton and Lennie Small faced in Of Mice and Men. The two men couldn’t be more different but they traveled from ranch to ranch earning enough to make it through the week. Their dream, however, was to one day have their own farm but George knew all too well that this was the dream of many and only came true a handful of times. As Crooks explains on page 32, “I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads . . . every damn one of ’em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.” This type of tragedy is present throughout the novel and shows how hardship was inescapable during this time.
Hope is all they have. In the novel, George and Lennie one day hope to own their own farm with crops, animals, and a house. In the beginning, George knows it’s a farfetched dream but it develops into a possibility as Candy’s money and help is added into the mix. This hope drives George and Lennie to work and focused. It’s used as a bribe to keep Lennie out of trouble. Without this hope, they would fall apart.
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