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Of Mice & Men - Discuss the theme's in the play.

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Adnan Ali By themes, I mean the ideas, which the author is trying to give us. Most authors do not write just for fun, but to show us that there is a message that they would like us to learn behind the plot. Usually the ideas are ones that the author believes in deeply. The themes are under the following headings: * Loneliness Loneliness affects many of the characters, and Steinbeck seems to show that it is a natural result of the kind of life they are forced to lead. The workers are caught in a trap of loneliness - they never stay in one place long enough to form long lasting relationships. Even if the relationships existed, they would probably be destroyed by the demands of their life. Candy is lonely because he is old, and is different from the other hands. His only comfort is his old dog, which keeps him company and reminds him of days when he was young and whole. He has no relatives, and once his dog is killed he is totally alone. He eagerly grasps at the idea of buying a farm with George and Lennie, but of course this all comes to nothing. Candy's disappointment is shown in the bitter words he utters to the body of Curley's wife, who he blames for spoiling his dream. ...read more.


Carlson is another character associated with violence. He is unconcerned about killing Candy's dog (and in fact cleans the gun in Candy's presence). He goes to watch the fun when Curley thinks Slim may be with his wife, and later threatens Curley more, saying '... kick your head off. Later he is very keen to get his gun to join in the hunt for Lennie. The last words in the book belong to Carlson, and it is little surprise that they reveal his complete inability to understand George's feelings about the death of Lennie. Compared to the other characters, Lennie reveals an unintentional violence. He does not even think to fight back when Curley attacks him, but when he does, it is with immense and uncontrollable power. He has so little control over his own strength that he accidentally kills his puppy, and then minutes later snuffs out the life of Curley's wife. His actions on these occasions are compared to those of an animal, powerful but thoughtless. Curley's wife is attracted to him because of the violence he had shown in crushing her husband's hand. It is the threat of violence to be used against Lennie that causes George to take the final step of killing his friend. * Dreams Dreams are one of the ways in which the characters fight the loneliness and hopelessness of their day to day lives. ...read more.


One result of this is that almost every sentence is important in one way or another, either in developing a character, moving the plot forward or hinting at action still to come. Steinbeck has skilfully created a number of parallel events into the story. Candy and his dog provide a parallel to George and Lennie. And also, when Lennie kills Curley's wife, it echoes his earlier killing of the puppy. There are many such echoes and parallels in the book. Steinbeck has also shown us the way in which capturing the spoken language of the characters gives a better feel to the story. Most of them are uneducated, and this shows through in their use of broken and slang language. Even their uneducated pronunciation has been shown Steinbeck also uses colours and sounds to great effect. For example, Curley's wife is associated with red, symbolic of danger or passion perhaps. A further strong association is that of Lennie with animals. At various times he is described as a bull, a bear and a dog. Even when not directly compared with an animal, he is described in animal terms. For example, his hand is a paw. This is particularly appropriate for Lennie, as he usually acts in the simple, natural way of an animal. Soledad is a real place in California and its name can mean loneliness or a lonely place. A cue to one of the major themes of the novel right at the beginning. ...read more.

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