Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of mice and men is the novel written by John Steinbeck.  The book is a story of two young men namGeorge namely and Lennie (Steinbeck, pg 4). The two men are displaced ranch workers who move from one place to another in search for a job in California. The essay explores some of the essential themes evident in the story of mice and men with the aim of supporting and analyzing the novel from an in-depth perspective.



The theme of isolation is evident in almost all the characters in the novel Of Mice and Men. For example, candy, Curly’s wife and crooks undergoes a lot of loneliness (Steinbeck, pg 11). All of them are fighting hard against any isolation in whatever way.  It’s quite surprising that candy has a dog which keeps her busy and isolates her from any loneliness. Immediately after her dog dies, candy is left at a high state of isolation. Curly’s wife is quite lonely in the ranch. Her husband restricts her from interacting with any other person. As a result, she handles her loneliness by combating with the hands of the farm. More so, Crooks is isolated because of her skin color. He is denied to enter and interact with bunkhouse because he is the only black man in the ranch.


Barriers in the novel Of Mice and Men are based on gender. The author points out that the bunkhouse is a male world. Therefore, women are never entrusted. For example, curly denies her wife to interact with any other person in the ranch (Steinbeck, pg 31). In other words, women are denied the rights to interact with people of substance. Another barrier is based on race. In the novel, Crook is not allowed to associate with bunkhouse members because of his skin color. Additionally, Candy faces a lot of barriers because of her age and handicap situation.

Christian, Classical, and Natural Influences

Various critics about the story Of Mice and Men are based on the influences of the Bible. Mainly, Christianity is seen when the author compares some situations in the novel to be parallel with the biblical stories such as an aspect of paradise and Cain and Abel. For example, the theme of Christianity becomes more relevant when the author poses a question about Cain and Abel from the biblical story (Goldhurst, pg 133)). Throughout the novel, the author uses some natures to influence the mood and scene which portrays relevance to some of the themes. From a historical perspective, Steinbeck loves nature especially the countryside of California. In connection to that, he uses nature to reflect on foreboding and also as a sanctuary place.


In the novel, Powerlessness takes several forms. It manifests either intellectually, financially, and societal. Lennie appears to physically strong such that the reader can refer him as a person who has the potential of representing powers of the society. However, he has only physical power. Since he is mentally disabled and has a childish way of perceiving the world, he is Powerlessness in all forces that assail him.  Another aspect of Powerlessness is based on economic perspectives.  From the novel, the ranch hands are potential victims of the economy in society. It means they have no go ahead economically implying that they are always struggling day in day out. The isolation of Crooks is another aspect of Powerlessness evident in the novel. Being the only black person in the ranch, he is defenseless in society.

My brother’s keeper

In the novel, Steinbeck asks himself a lot of questions. For example, he seeks to know whether a rich person should take concern for the less fortunate people. Lennie is dependent on George. In other words, George is playing a lot of responsibility to cater to Lennie’s needs.  When George kills Lennie, he faces a lot of confrontation in a way that no close friend is ready to associate with him.  He is sentenced like any other migrant hand. He is denied a chance to focus on his future goals and dreams. George wanders alone from ranch to ranch. He is full of nightmares just like any other migrant worker. Without Lennie, George has no companion, roots and his future is disorganized.

Human sexuality

In the novel, the majority of the males are highly regarded u8nlike women who have no power at all. For example, curdy’s wife is undergoing a lot of torture based on her gender. She has no power, unlike her husband who dominates her life. She is segregated and isolated from interacting with her friends. As a result, she is there as a tool or a vessel that Curdy can use to penetrate his life. Women lack physical strengths. Therefore, the majority of them are highly oppressed. As seen in the text, some such as Curley’s wife lacks the physical power to evacuate herself from her life of captivity.

The importance of dream

Dreams are serving as personal ambitions for most characters to improve their lives and also meet their goals.  For example, most of them are dreaming of living a good experience. Therefore, the dream acts as a bridge which many characters are embracing to reach their lives targets.  More so, the thoughts is widening the reasoning and thinking of many people. For example, curly confesses that before she dies, her dream is to become a movie star (Meyer, pg 15). Therefore he works very hard to ensure he meets his goals. Crooks wishes that one day he will grab some part of Lennie’s farm. Also, candy latches on the George vision of acquiring some acres from Lennie’s farm. As a result, their dreams unite them all since they dream to achieve common goals.

Man against nature

George and Lennie identify a pond within the ranch where they will hide once they conduct a crime. They don’t value the innocence of nature. In other words, they misuse nature from their benefits. Also, the theme of man being against nature manifests where the author mentions a scenario where mice are killed. In a real sense, human beings should protect nature. It implies no one is mandated to kill any living thing anyhow.


Racism manifests where some characters in the novel are isolated because of their skin color. For example, Crooks is among those who are isolated because of skin color. Since he is the only black man in the ranch, he is denied accessibility to the bunkhouse. More so, he is not allowed to associate with other people. He only interacts with books and his work. Finally, he learns that such racist isolation lacks a substitute for human companionship.


At some point, women are accusing men of rape cases. Naturally, men love touching soft things. When Lennie touches the dress of one woman, the woman accuses him as being a rapist. In connection, George berates Lennie for his act. George generalizes all women by saying that they are usually the causes of trouble.  According to the novel, women are associated with sexism enticing behaviors. Their sexism behaviors tempt men to behave in a manner that is unexpected.


From the novel, women appear to be isolated in the entire society. Most of them live a loneliness life where they are denied rights to interact with others. It is so disappointing when human beings can only communicate with animals such as dogs instead of being close with fellow human beings (Meyer, pg 35).  More so, women have no power to anything that happens in society. In other words, they have no equal responsibilities with men.


In the novel, some characters are isolated because of their age.  Candy is living a life that is full of stress. He is always afraid of losing a job because of her age. Most disappointing, candy foresees that he will be thrown into a ditch of ash when he becomes too old to work. It means society is unfair to old people. In other words, it does not value the age of its members.

Mental retardation

According to the author, some people are isolated because of their mental challenge. Candy is among the victim of such isolation. He is mentally disabled, a situation that disadvantages him from living a smooth life because of various social stigmatization he faces every day.   He is convinced that one day he will be thrown into an ash heap.  It implies that society is full of unfairness where the disadvantaged have no impacts on the community.


In the novel, women are abused in various perspectives. They are denied the rights for equal participation in the community. They have no powers to rule the society at large. On the other hand, men are abused by women in various ways. At some point, one man is sentenced and accused of being a rapist, an aspect that is not true. According to the novel, women have several enticing sexual behaviors which are luring men sexually.


Men have supreme powers in society than women.  Based on the novel, men have dominated the whole community. To some point, they ignore the fact that women are human beings who deserve fair treatment. Men have dominated all social privileges and have also overlooked all properties as seen in the text (Meyer, pg 29).  Curly’s wife has no power and authority to make her decisions. Although she is married to a robust political person, she has no impact on society.



Of mice and men is a novel that should be taught in many schools.  Themes of the book are quite interesting merely because they enable the reader to understand the world from a broad perspective. More so, the message in the book educates more about the aspects a community should observe to embrace an excellent social life. The book also creates a sense of perfection and purity that the current world cannot sustain.

Work cited

Steinbeck, John. “Of mice and men. 2017.” New York: Penguin (1993).


Meyer, Michael J. The Essential Criticism of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Scarecrow Press, 2018.


Goldhurst, William. “Of Mice and Men: John Steinbeck’s Parable of the Curse of Cain.” Western American Literature 6.2 (2016): 123-136.

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