Of mice and men by john Steinbeck is a microcosm of American society during the great depression in the 1930s. The novella focuses on loneliness, which was felt by the migrant workers Steinbeck met whilst he worked on ranches, like the one in the novella. Many migrant workers had to leave their families behind in order to earn money, they moved from place to place and became known as itinerant workers, these workers lost their identities in the process and were conquered by loneliness.
During the 1930s the American dream was more present in the lives of civilians due to the great depression. Various characters have dreams that they use to escape loneliness. George and lennie share the dream of owning a plot of land and tending rabbits. Curley’s wife dreams of being a movie star however crooks dreams of being equal to everyone. During the novella the dreams are constantly under threat from loneliness, in every case the dreams give in to loneliness and characters find themselves being attacked from it.
Of mice and men comes from Robert burn’s poem ‘ode to a mouse’. ‘The best-laid schemes Of Mice and Men often go awry’. This line from the poem relates to the novella as George and Lennie’s dream goes drastically wrong. The title is therefore foreshadowing the fact that something will happen which will be the cause for the dream not to happen. Steinbeck grew up reading Arthurian quest stories, in many ways ‘of mice and men’ resembles one of those quest. Like the knight Lennie and George set out to earn some money in order to by a plot of land however on the way many problems arise which make it harder for the dream to actually happen.
In the novella, nature coats loneliness in beauty to portray its unpredictability. In the opening passage Steinbeck writes ‘the golden foothill curve’ this creates a sense of peacefulness however all is not as it seems, ‘for a moment the place was lifeless’. The author demonstrates the speed of which loneliness can strike and...
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