Of Mice and Men Quotes by John Steinbeck
'Of Mice and Men' Theme revision (GCSE AQA) - Part 1
Of Mice and Men
If one theme can be thought of as defining the plot and symbolism of Of Mice and Men , that theme is loneliness. In many ways, from the outspoken to the subtle such as Steinbeck's decision to set the novel near Soledad, California, a town name that means "solitude" in Spanish , the presence of loneliness defines the actions of the diverse characters in the book. The itinerant farm worker of the Great Depression found it nearly impossible to establish a fixed home. These men were forced to wander from ranch to ranch seeking temporary employment, to live in bunk houses with strangers, and to suffer the abuses of arbitrary bosses. George sums up the misery of this situation at several points during his monologues to Lennie - "Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family.
Of Mice and Men teaches a grim lesson about the nature of human existence. Each desires the comfort of a friend, but will settle for the attentive ear of a stranger. The characters are rendered helpless by their isolation, and yet, even at their weakest, they seek to destroy those who are even weaker than they. In scenes such as this one, Steinbeck records a profound human truth: oppression does not come only from the hands of the strong or the powerful. The novella suggests that the most visible kind of strength—that used to oppress others—is itself born of weakness. The farm on which George and Lennie plan to live—a place that no one ever reaches—has a magnetic quality, as Crooks points out.