of mice and men

Topics: John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, Great Depression / Pages: 2 (334 words) / Published: Apr 12th, 2014
The title of the book comes from a poem by the 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns. It is about a mouse which carefully builds a winter nest in a wheat field, only for it to be destroyed by a ploughman. It is written in Scots dialect.
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy!
(The best laid schemes of mice and men
Often go wrong
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
Instead of promised joy!)
The mouse had dreamed of a safe, warm winter and is now faced with the harsh reality of cold, loneliness and possible death. There is a parallel here with George and Lennie's joyful fantasy of a farm of their own, and its all-too-predictable destruction at the end of the story. Perhaps it is also meant to suggest to us how unpredictable our lives are, and how vulnerable to tragedy.The two main themes in 'Of Mice and Men' - foreshadowed by the reference to Burns' mouse - are loneliness and dreams. They interlock: people who are lonely have most need of dreams to help them through.
Study the table below, showing both the loneliness and the dreams of each of the main characters. You could use a table like this as the basis for an exam answer about themes in Of Mice and Men.ohn Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. Although his family was wealthy, he was interested in the lives of the farm labourers and spent time working with them. He used his experiences as material for his writing.
He wrote a number of novels about poor people who worked on the land and dreamed of a better life, including The Grapes of Wrath, which is the heart-rending story of a family's struggle to escape the dust bowl of the West to reach California. Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, six years before his death in

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