What are the themes in Of Mice and Men?

John Steinbeck's timeless novel, Of Mice and Men, is a piece of literature that many teens encounter in high school. It explores the story of two migrant workers during the Great Depression. What are the central themes of the novel?

Of Mice and Men is about the American Dream

Lennie and George are lower-class field workers. They seek to become their own bosses, yet are prevented from doing so.

George and Lennie's dream of owning a farm

George and Lennie see beyond their present circumstances. They dream of having their own farm, complete with puppies and other animals.

Of Mice and Men is about friendship

George and Lennie are extremely loyal to each other. In addition, George, Lennie, and their fellow workers build a sense of comradery over the course of the book.

George and Lennie's friendship

George and Lennie travel together and have a unique dynamic. They are reliable friends to each other.

Of Mice and Men is about the loss of innocence

One of the protagonists of the story, Lennie, views the world in a childlike way, due to a mental disability. His inability to understand his strength often leads to him accidentally hurting others.

Lennie's interactions with animals

Lennie has a fixation on small, soft animals and is known for accidentally killing them.

Lennie's interactions with women

Lennie often finds himself in situations in which he injures or frightens a woman.

Of Mice and Men is about prejudice

George remarks that he used to play mean-spirited pranks on Lennie. Also, Crooks (an African-American man on the ranch with them) is often the target of racism and isolation.

Crooks' life on the farm

Crooks is the only African-American man living on the ranch. He is often subject to racist attitudes and actions of other men living on the ranch.

Mistreatment of Lennie

Throughout the novel, George often makes passive-aggressive (and sometimes, just plain rude) comments to Lennie.

Of Mice and Men is about death

Death is a key part of the story from the beginning of the book. Death and violence affects every character.

The death of Curley's wife

The death of Curley's wife comes as a tragic result of Lennie's ignorance of his strength. The reactions to her death start a manhunt against Lennie.

Lennie's death

The novel comes to a close with George killing Lennie to try to make things right.
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This page was last edited on Thursday, 7 May 2020 at 14:26 UTC