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What are some world connections or universal themes in Of Mice and Men?

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aroses1990 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 18, 2007 at 8:17 AM via web

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What are some world connections or universal themes in Of Mice and Men?

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted December 18, 2007 at 11:11 AM (Answer #1)

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I'm not exactly what you mean by this question, but I'm going to assume that you're asking about the universality of the book or its universal themes. While this novel has several themes that are seen throughout (see the link below) there are some that stand out more than others.

Loneliness is a very prevalent theme for several characters throughout the novel and the way that each copes with it is different (see the 2nd link to the DB). This is universal because everyone can identify with feelings of alienation and isolation at some point in their lives. 

Loyalty and friendship are other very prominent themes in the book. Lennie and George are loyal to each other even in the face of much adversity. They have a close friendship which is what feeds their loyalty. For George, loyalty is even tougher because he has to make several sacrifices, namely gainful employment, on Lennie's behalf. His biggest sacrifice was at the end of the novel when George kills Lennie to save him from the torture the men hunting him might have inflicted. Loyalty and friendship have a definite universality.

There are several others so visit the link below because all of them can relate to the world today. This probably lends to the fact that this is such a widely read novel. 

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zytec | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted March 2, 2008 at 7:43 AM (Answer #2)

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Dreams or wrecked dreams is a strong theme in this book.  In particular The American Dream gone sour. Steinbeck was trying to show that many people clung on to an unattainable American Dream.  The book's title is from a Robert Burns poem called "To a mouse."  The line is:

the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley

 "gang aft agley" is Scots for - often go wrong

 In the poem Burns apologises to the mouse for disturbing its nest. He thinks of all the mice killed by well-intentioned farmers.

So George and Lennie's plans (or dreams) go wrong.

They want to own a place and "live of the fatta the lan."  Steinbeck is showing that this is an impossible dream, although still a dream shared by millions.  In a sense his universal theme is that many of us are living in some kind of fantasy world rather than facing the harsh reality of our lives.

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dis1gurl | Student , Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 13, 2010 at 9:57 AM (Answer #3)

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the theme is about loneliness, friendship, and broken dreams

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cbballgal | Student , Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 17, 2011 at 11:22 PM (Answer #4)

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