Essay on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Essay on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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The American Dream is an impractical feat to seize. In John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, two best friends discover the hardships of the Great Depression in Salinas Valley, California. George is a short, intelligent, hard worker. The foil to George’s character is his best friend, Lennie, who is tall, unintelligent, and mentally challenged. Lennie is holding George back from achieving the American Dream. As the novella continues, different views of individual’s dreams are revealed. Steinbeck uses a variety of themes throughout the novella but they all relate to the main theme; that the American Dream is unachievable.
Of Mice and Men uses an array of literary devices to relate to the theme that the American Dream is unachievable. Symbolism is the use of intangible or imaginable objects to symbolize a greater meaning. One example of symbolism used in this novella is when Lennie asks George to tell him about the farm. Lennie pleads, “’Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove and how thick the cream is on the milk and how you can hardly cut it. Tell about that George’” (Steinbeck 63). This quote shows how symbolic rabbits are for Lennie. Lennie’s dream is to have soft things to pet and the bunnies symbolize his dream of soft animals. This quote also shows George’s dream of owning a farm and growing his own crops in the garden. Just like the farm, Candy’s dog has a significant symbolic meaning throughout the novella. “The old man squirmed uncomfortably. ‘Well-hell! I had him so long. I had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him…he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen’” (Steinbeck 56). This quote is symbolic to George and Lennie’s...


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...York: Penguin, 1993. Print.
Levant, Howard. "John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men: Criticism." Contemporary Literary
Criticism. Ed. Thomas Votteler. Vol.75. Washington D. C.: Gale Research Inc.,
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MacNicholas, John. Twentieth Century American Dramatists Part 2:K-Z, pp. 271-276. Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1981.
Scarseth, Thomas. "A Teachable Good Book: Of Mice and Men." Censored Books: Critical Viewpoints. Ed. Nicholas J. Karolides, Lee Burress, and John M. Kean. Scarecrow Press, 1993. 388-394. Rpt. in Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Literature Resource Center. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.
McArthur, Debra. “John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.” Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. New York. 2009.
Parini, Jay (1992-09-27). “FILM; Of Bindlestiffs, Bad Times, Mice and Men.” The New York Times: 7. 1937-12-05.

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