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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Characters, Foreshadowing, Symbols, and Themes. Lennie Small. Character List for Of Mice & Men. large. childlike. Gentle, kind. strong. Hopes & dreams Tend rabbits Liv off’ the fat a the land. Lennie loves to pet things Dependent on George

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of mice and men by john steinbeck

Of Mice and Menby John Steinbeck

Characters, Foreshadowing, Symbols, and Themes

character list for of mice men

Lennie Small

Character List for Of Mice & Men

large

childlike

Gentle,

kind

strong

Hopes & dreams

Tend rabbits

Liv off’ the fat a the land

Lennie loves to pet things

Dependent on George

Doesn’t understand his own strength

slide3

George Milton

Cares for

Lennie

Small

Quick-witted

Hopes & dreams

Liv off’ the fat a the land

Own a farm

His behavior is motivated by the desire to protect

Lennie; Dream is to deliver them both to the farm

of their dreams

slide4

Candy: an aging ranch who lost his hand

  • Worries about his future on the ranch
  • Offers his life savings to join in the dream of owning land
  • Owns a dog that others consider useless
  • Curley: The boss’s son
  • Wears high-heeled boots
  • Confrontational, aggressive
  • Picks fights with larger men
  • Possessive of his flirtatious wife
slide5

Curley’s wife: the only female character

  • Never given a name.
  • Men refer to her as “tramp,” “tart,” “looloo”
  • Has dreams of a better life
  • As a wife Steinbeck depicts her as a victim, not a villain
slide6

Slim: highly skilled mule driver

  • “prince” of the ranch: the only character who’s at peace with himself
  • Quiet, insightful man
  • He alone understands the bond between Lennie and George
slide7

Crooks: The black stable-hand

  • Gets his name from his crooked back
  • Proud, bitter and isolated
  • Becomes fond of Lennie
  • He asks Lennie if he could go with them and work the garden
slide8

Other Minor Characters:

  • The Boss:
  • Never named and appears only once
  • Carlson:
  • A ranch hand who complains bitterly about Candy’s old dog
  • Aunt Clara:
  • Lennie’s aunt who cared for him until her death
  • Whit:
  • A ranch hand
slide9

What do you think the title of the story means?

  • The title suggests that the “best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry [wrong],” a reference to Robert Burns's poem "To a Mouse."
foreshadowning hints given by the author of what is to come
Foreshadowning: Hints given by the author of what is to come.
  • The mouse
  • Candy’s dog
  • Lennie’s puppy
symbols objects characters places names or activities that represent abstract ideas
Symbols: objects, characters, places, names or activities that represent abstract ideas.
  • The game of solitaire
  • The names “George Milton” and “Lennie Small”
  • The name “Soledad”
  • Curley’s wife
  • The river
  • The rabbits
  • The dream
biblical parallels characters and events in a story that reference the bible
Biblical Parallels: Characters and events in a story that reference the Bible.
  • Lennie
  • The number 3
  • The dream of buying
  • the farm
slide13

Theme: A central idea or message in a work of literature

  • The Impossibility of the American Dream
  • Most characters confess to dreaming a different life
  • Typical American dreams include freedom to follow one’s own desires & protection from an inhospitable world.
slide14

Loneliness & Companionship

  • Developing story reveals Candy, Crooks & Curley’s wife confess to a deep loneliness.
  • Admitting to complete strangers their fear of being cast off shows their desperation.
  • Each searches for a friend.
slide15

Friendship and Loyalty

  • The dream is about friendship.
  • George accepts responsibility for Lennie.
  • Man’s instinct is to protect loved ones.
slide16

Idealism vs. Reality

  • The farm is idealized.