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Of Mice and Men By John Steinbeck
The Novel • Published 1937 • Parable: a journey through brutal experiences, constant obstacles • Themes and Ideas • Is happiness possible? • Hopes can handicapped, literally and figuratively • Commentary the inhumanity of men toward each other
Lennie and George • Migrant workers • Seeking security in an insecure world • Have a dream for the future • Seeking dignity, independence, freedom from fear • Power of friendship • They have a dream
Lennie • Mentally handicapped • Large, very strong • Dependent on George for advice and protection • Loves small soft things • Loves “the dream” but does not understand
George • Lennie’s protector • Kind, but honest
Other Characters • Slim: Everyone respects him • Candy: Lost his hand in an accident • Crooks: Isolated because he is black • Carlson: Represents the insensitive world • Curley: Cruel and jealous • Curley’s Wife: Unimportant. She doesn’t even have a name!
The Poem by Robert Burns The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Often go awry, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy! “On the turning up of her house . . .” Burns composed this poem
What to Look For • Foreshadowing • Surprise Ending with a significant moral question • Similar themes to “Grapes of Wrath” • Dignity of the common man; the worth of his story • Strength and endurance of the common man • The changing American Dream • Loneliness and isolation