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Major Themes in Of Mice and Men  

 
The theme of loneliness is manifested many times in the work, Of Mice and Men and is often the dominant theme. This theme occurs during many circumstances but is not present from start to finish. In my mind for a theme to be pervasive is must be present during every element of the story. There are many themes that are present most of the way through such as sacrifice, friendship and comradship. But in my opinion there is only one theme that is present from beginning to end, this theme is pursuit of dreams.

There are many characters where lonliness is evident throughout parts or all of their life. But all of these characters who appear to be lonely only tend to play a minor role in the story. This is not to say that they are insignificant but they help to convey the feelings and emotions that surround the major characters rather than their own. Characters like Curley's wife and Crooks are unmistakably lonely, but they show how their lonliness is the opposite of the two main characters, George and Lennie. Crooks actually states that George and Lennie have got each other but he hasn't got anyone. Curley's wife portrays the same message but under different circumstances. There are really no other main characters besides George and Lennie. From reading the novel and watching the film it is clearly evident in most cases that all of the support characters appear to be lonely. Therefore lonliness is quite a strong and influential theme in the story but it only features as a bakground theme and is not always present at critical stages.

Themes such as sacrifice, comradship and freindship feature under very similar circumstances as lonliness but are also evident within the main characters. Candy made a sacrifice when he decided to have his ageing debilitated dog killed. But afterwards he regreted not having killed the dog himself, possibly having killed it at all. Just as when George killed Lennie, he knew it had to be done but he just kept making up excuses to avoid the inevitable. George made that sacrifice but unlike Candy he knew that if Lennie was to be killed he had to do it himself. The issue is morals, if there is such a thing as a moraly correct way to kill somebody thats how George did it, because during that time period in America there was not the resources nor facilities to deal with characters such as Lennie so drastic measures had to be taken. People were very narrow minded during that time period and often only thought of their own safety. George knew that Lennie would be killed anyway by Curly under very violent and tragic circumstances. So George made a decision to kill Lennie himself under the most peaceful circumstances as possible. This is where comradship is evident, George and Lennie were loyal to each other and stood by each other through thick and thin. Frienship can also be linked to the comradship, as, often at times when sacrifice or comradship occurs the theme of friendship arises. The reason for this is that all of these three themes are strongly linked together throughout Of Mice and Men. These three themes combined with hate can even be described as pervasive. Whenever one occurs it can usually be assumed the it will lead to another or possibly two of them in tandem.

In my opinion there is only one theme that can be described as pervasive to the story:  the pursuit of a dream. Or more correctly the pursuit of an unrealistic dream.

This theme appears time and time again and helps to display how demoralising an unrealistic dream can be. Nearly every influencing character in the story has a dream which they cannot realistically fulfil. During the period of the Great Depression many of these characters were struggling for survival and having a dream was something that kept them going through tough times. But in the long run this eventually lead to their demise. George, Lennie, Candy and Curley's wife all had dreams that they could not possibly attain.

Curley's wife dreamt of being a movie star, but when she was young her mother forbade her to pursue this career and as an alternative she married Curley. She loved attention and as she was lacking it, she constantly wandered about the farm asking for trouble. Then one day she got it, both hers and Lennie's dreams were shattered as soon as Lennie had killed her. But it went further than that, Candy's dreams of living on the farm with George and Lennie were crushed even though he was not involved in the incident. Because of one person's fault many people's dreams were destroyed. The characters in Of Mice and Men have helped to show that unrealistic dreams more often than not will cause tradgedies.

I think that the theme of pursuing dreams is present during every element in Of Mice and Men and we can go as far to say that 'pursuit of dreams' is the predominant theme of this story. Lonliness may very well be a pervading theme but only as an aspect of a much broader theme. Every one these individuals who had unrealistic dreams had very lonely portion

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