Of Mice and Men – most information off of LitCharts

What are the themes? Broken PlansThe American dreamFriendshipWeak and StrongInequality
Broken plans Burns’s poem “To a Mouse” contains the lines, “The best laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry.” Nearly all of the main characters Of Mice and Men harbor dreams and plans that never come true.
Spesific dreams George, Lennie, and Candy share a doomed dream of buying their own farm and living off the landLennie has his own private dream of living in a cave with his own rabbitsCurley’s wife often regrets her missed chance to become a Hollywood actress.
The American Dream Lennie and George’s dream of owning a farm and living off the “fatta the lan” symbolizes this dream. Of Mice and Man shows that for poor migrant workers during the Depression, the American Dream became an illusion and a trap. All the ranch hands in Of Mice and Man dream of life, liberty, and happiness, but none ever gets it.
How dreams are used in OMaM At the same time, while the dream may never be realized, Of Mice and Men suggests that in order for life to be full and meaningful, it must contain dreams. George and Lennie never achieve their dream, but the dream holds their remarkable friendship together. Their dream is real because it’s real in their imaginations. The dream keeps Lennie happy and stops George from becoming “mean” and lonely like most ranch hands. The dream gives them life, even if life never allows them to achieve their dreams.
Friendship Usually ranchers have no family, no friends, and, therefore, no future. George and Lennie’s friendship strikes the other ranch workers as odd: their dependence on each other makes the boss and Curley suspicious; and Slim observes that ranch workers rarely travel together because they’re scared of each other. Although most of the men in the novel are entirely alone, they all crave true companionship. As Crooks, perhaps the novel’s most solitary character because of his black skin, puts it, “A guy needs somebody—to be near him.”
Specific friendships George and LennieLennie and Curley’s wifeLennie and CrooksSlim and George
Weak vs. Strong Though many characters in Of Mice and Men long for friendship and compassion, they live in fear of each other. As Carlson’s unsentimental shooting of Candy’s dog makes clear, in the Great Depression the useless, old, or weak were inevitably destroyed as the strong and useful fought for survival. Everyone on the ranch constantly tries to look strong, especially if they feel weak. The fear of the weak being overrun by the strong explains why Curley likes to fight larger men, why Crooks tells Lennie that George is going to abandon him, and why Curley’s wife threatens to have Crooks lynched. Each character tries to appear strong by asserting power over another. The fear of the strong also explains why most of the other characters in Of Mice and Men can’t comprehend Lennie and George’s friendship. A human relationship devoid of power dynamics simply makes no sense to the other characters, all of whom assume they’re in a fight for survival.

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