Of Mice and MenRevise and memorise the points for each topic and you are halfway there!Loneliness • All of the characters are lonely! • Links to the historical context of the Great Depression where people were forced to move and unemployment was a massive problem – men often had to travel alone to find work. • The characters have hopes and dreams as a way to ‘escape’ from their loneliness. Their hopes and dreams also bring them closer together (e.g. George, Lennie and Candy) • Some characters have animals as companions (Candy and George) • At the end of the novel, is there a resolution or are the characters still lonely?Animals • Lennie is described like a bear to show the reader what he is like. • The killing of Candy’s dog foreshadows and helps to explain the killing of Lennie. Think especially about Candy’s regret that he doesn’t do it himself. • Lennie’s relationship with animals foreshadows what happens with Curley’s wife. • Lennie’s relationships with animals could also show his inability to form bonds with people. • Some people on the ranch treat animals as entirely functional (e.g. Slim, Carlson). • Racoons mentioned at the beginning of the novel are scavengers and could symbolise the men in the Great Depression.Hopes and Dreams • George and Lennie’s dream is especially important and is something that they share. Does George know that it will never come true? • Their dream gives Lennie comfort, which is why he always wants to hear it.
• G and L’s dream gives Candy a purpose in life, somewhere where he can feel useful and wanted. • Crooks also feels that he can be a part of it, showing he also wants to belong. • Everyman at that time had a dream of owning land due to the historical context of the novel. • Curley’s wife dreamt of becoming a movie star and being adored, but the opposite happened – now she’s in a place where she’s feared and disliked. • The title of the novel relates to a poem which says that plans often go wrong. This is definitely the case in Of Mice and Men!CharactersLennie • Described like a bear • When we first meet him and George, Lennie is following, showing who’s in charge. • Lennie doesn’t know his own strength. • Lennie is not completely stupid, he knows how to manipulate George (e.g. when he says he’s going to live in the caves). • Lennie is forgetful. • The dream keeps him going – his main aim in life is to get to tend the rabbits. • People keep calling him a “poor bastard” and they show their sympathy towards George for having to look after him. • Curley picks on him because he hates big guys and also because he knows that Lennie is mentally weak.George • Can be mean • Plays solitare – reflecting his loneliness. • Feels burdened by Lennie but at the same time, Lennie keeps him company. • Is a survivor – knows what to do to get on. • Strikes up a ‘friendship’ with Slim. • Is ‘one of the guys’ at the ranch.
• Kills Lennie to free himself of the burden and also to free Lennie from the life he would have had if he had continued to live.Curley’s Wife • Lonely • Childish • Provocative (uses looks to gain attention) • Had a dream which was crushed • Exerts her authority when she feels threatened (with Crooks and Lennie)