Find evidences for these themes: The American Dream, Utopia, friendship, loneliness, discrimination and social protest. Some suggested themes in the novel are: The American Dream, utopia,...

Find evidences for these themes: The American Dream, Utopia, friendship, loneliness, discrimination and social protest.

Some suggested themes in the novel are: The American Dream, utopia, friendship, loneliness, discrimination and social protest. Maybe you have found other themes?

Find evidences for these themes. Refer to specific episodes, scenes and quotations in the novel.

Asked on by kjeb

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You have asked a massive question here, and I am not going to respond to every single theme you have referred to. I will tackle the theme of friendship that you have mentioned and how it is dealt with in the novel. Hopefully that will give you some ideas of how to approach other themes in the novel and write an essay about them.

To think about friendship and how it is presented is to think about the tragedy of the novel. The memory of the tragic friendship between George and Lennie lingers on long after the close of the novel because the friends have lost a hope or a dream that is bigger than their friendship. Consider how the dream of the farm operates in this novel, and how it compels and sustains not only George and Lennie through difficult times, but how it also attracts like a magnet other lonely characters. Consider how Crooks is drawn to the idea and likewise Candy. Although Crooks is cynical and has seen many other men with the same dream, he still is seduced by it and wants "in" on this dream with Lennie and George. Friendship, therefore, centred on this "dream", shows how the men in this novel crave companionship and fellowship that would defeat the loneliness that rules their lives. To have someone that they can share life with means that they have someone who will protect them and look out for them in a very harsh and brutal world.

However, and very depressingly, the world that Steinbeck paints is too brutal and too harsh to form and continue such an idealised friendship. This is of course symbolised tragically in how the friendship between Lennie and George ends. This tragedy is made all the more poignant by the repeated reference to their dream of living in harmony which is given enough credibility to make it achievable. However, with Lennie´s death, a true example of friendship and brotherhood ends, but what makes it more tragic is the lack of understanding that some of the characters have when they come upon George and Lennie - they do not recognise the world-ending significance of what has happened to George. Not only is such a friendship impossible in our brutal world, Steinbeck seems to be saying, but others are unable to recognise it even when it does occur.

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