Of mice and men
“Of Mice and Men”, by John Steinbeck, is composed of four major themes. These themes are the value of dreams and goals, moral responsibility, social injustice, and the bond of friendship and loyalty.
The value of dreams and goals are that they provide hope and the desire to keep going in life, rather than lying down to die. When Lennie is feeling depressed in the woods he asks George to tell him about the “dream farm” again. This is the farm that George and Lennie hope to own someday. Even though this dream seems almost impossible at the time it still generates enough hope to keep Lennie and George going. When George starts talking bout it Lennie gets excited and happy and so does George. Another example of the power of dreams is when Candy over hears George and Lennie’s “dream farm” and becomes a part of the dream. Candy progresses from a depressed sad attitude to a cheerful excited one. He now has hope of doing something and it came from the “dream farm”. A final example of the value of dreams and goals is when Crooks hears of the farm. Crooks is a lonely black man who has no future, but when he starts to think of how he can be a part of the dream he also gets happy and excited, until his dream is crushed. Many people of good character have to honor certain moral responsibilities.
George is bond by his own conciseness to take care of Lennie. No one makes him do it, he does it because it feel like the right thing to do. Candy felt like he neglected his moral responsibility to shoot his own dog. Candy felt poor inside because it was his job to shoot his dog but instead Carlson shot him. This shows that when a person goes against what is morally right to them, they hate themselves for it. At the end of the story George is forced, out of moral, to shoot Lennie. It was the right thing to do, and even though it almost killed George inside to kill his best friend, he still did it.
Social injustice is when a person or a group of people feel they are better than people who are different by race, intelligence, age, sex, or other differences. Curley is rude and mean toward Lennie for the whole reason that Lennie is a broad fellow. Curley doesnt like men that are larger than him, so he singles out Lennie and attacks him. Another good example of social injustice is Crooks. Crooks has to be alone all the time because he is black. When Crooks tells Miss Curley to leave his room Miss Curley threatens that she can get him lynched. This reduces Crooks to a big pile of nothing and crushes Crooks dreams of going to the “dream farm”. Crooks only responds with a series of “yes maam” ‘s then becomes beyond depressed. The power that one person can end another’s life with a single lie without and evidence is a prime example of social injustice. A final example of social injustice is Candy being old. He is treated old and useless, if he stuck up for Crooks about the Miss Curley lie, no one would believe him. Miss Curley laughs at Lennie, Crooks, and Candy because to her they are all below her.
The bonds of friendship and loyalty are forces that keep people looking out for each other, rather than themselves. When Lennie was being beaten by Curley and Lennie, Lennie wasn’t fighting back because he was being loyal to George’s request for him not to make trouble. George saw Lennie being hurt and tells Lennie to fight back out of friendship. When Crooks starts telling Lennie that George might die or get hurt Lennie gets mad. He feels that someone, Crooks, might hurt his friend and almost fights Crooks to defend his friend. Candy shows loyalty when he tells Miss Curley that he would stand with Crooks behalf if she tried to lie and yell rape.
Steinbeck used these four themes to show what problems America was facing at the time. A time of racial injustice,