Of mice and men. Steinbeck uses the characters of the story to explore the theme of hopes and dreams

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The novel Of mice & men by John Steinbeck was written in 1937 during the hard times of depression in America. Steinbeck uses the characters of the story to explore the theme of hopes and dreams as referred to in the line of Robert Burns poem ‘To a mouse’ that the “best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft agley”.

The book Of mice & men is about two men called George & Lennie who travel together. They go from town to town looking for work as Lennie always gets them into trouble. They have never lasted two days without Lennie getting into trouble. George has to keep saving him and getting him away from the town. George & Lennie aren’t related in any way; however they have a father & son like relationship. Lennie isn’t the brightest of people. He was born with brain damage and he stayed with his Aunt Clara until she passed away, and he then travelled with George. Lennie can forget things easily so George often finds himself repeating himself and he always has to tell Lennie to not touch things or do things he shouldn’t, like a parent would.

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In the Burns poem the poet says that plans “gang aft agley”, he means they don’t turn out the way you would hope. This is the case in Steinbeck’s novel. George & Lennie always have the dream about their own farm, and the dream expands later in the book when Candy joins and Crooks joins temporarily. We also get a lot more detail of the dream in the last few chapters.  George has his own personal dream of having his own place to bring in crops instead of doing all the work and not getting what comes up out ...

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