Q:

What is the focus of the novel "Of Mice and Men"?

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Quick Answer

John Steinbeck's classic novel "Of Mice and Men" revolves around three thematic meanings: the elusive nature of the American dream, the idealized friendships between men and the cruelly dispassionate nature of life. The tale of George and Lennie shows the best and worst of human nature, and both of these men exhibit the depths and heights to which humanity can extend.

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Full Answer

The ultimate cruelty of human life is an important theme in "Of Mice and Men." Just about all of the people in the book are profoundly lonely and isolated, and each of them wants a friend but will settle for talking to a stranger. Even when their isolation weakens them, many of them try to destroy those who are even weaker than themselves, as when Crooks focuses on Lennie's flaws or when Curley's wife threatens to get a lynching mob after Crooks.

One reason why the tragedy of George and Lennie's story runs so deeply is that it is clear they have lost a wonderful dream. They plan on living on a farm together, but that plan is not an easily attainable dream, especially for migrant workers. Even the sort of friendship they envision is not possible to sustain.

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  • Q:

    Where can I read "Of Mice and Men" online?

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    The full text of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" is found on many schools' websites, such as the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District. Schools that use the book in their literature curriculum may post the text online as a PDF.

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  • Q:

    What is the relationship between George and Lennie?

    A:

    In John Steinbeck's novel, "Of Mice and Men," George and Lennie are friends and companions, with George acting as protector of Lennie. Lennie is very loyal and due to his disability relies on George to guide him. George recognizes his responsibility to Lennie, but doesn't realize that Lennie can be dangerous.

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  • Q:

    What are some interesting facts about author John Steinbeck?

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    The Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck displayed as a young man many of the traits and ideas that would later become major thematic elements in works such as "The Grapes of Wrath," "Cannery Row" and "Of Mice and Men." At the age of 19, Steinbeck interrupted a sermon while visiting his mother's church when he felt that the minister's preaching placed a greater emphasis on the hunger of the soul over the hunger of the body for food. The young author's outburst made a point of comparing the satisfied congregation to the people outside the church who were hungry for "a crust of bread" and could not earn enough to feed themselves.

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  • Q:

    What are some of the similes in "Of Mice and Men?"

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    In "Of Mice and Men," there are several similes including, "On the sands of the banks the rabbits sat as quietly as little gray stones" or "...drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse." The first simile compares the sands of the banks to little gray stones and the second simile compares the long gulps that Lennie drinks to a horse drinking.

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