Of Mice and Men Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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What themes are common to Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby and Their Eyes were Watching God? The american Dream is one obviously--what other themes run through all three books?

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Threading through all three of these novels is a motif of the search for one's self-identity.  In the case of Jay Gatsby of The Great Gatsby, of course, his is an illusionary search as he desires the idyllic American Dream, idealizing the white-attired Daisy as the grail to be attained in his self-realization. For Janie of Their Eyes Were Watching God, her search for self is simply to attain autonomy and not be subservient to her two husbands, Logan Killicks and Joe Starks.  The realization of her search is attained when she meets Teacake.  After his death Janie returns home, having found her "peace" which is within herself.  And, in Of Mice and Men, the dream of owning a ranch is much like Gatsby's illusionary American Dream--unattainable.  But, George, with Lennie , and old Candy and even Crooks desire to own something, call something their own, in the hopes of having an identity of their own, and...

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