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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Writers often use patterns of imagery (repeated descriptions of places, objects, or activities) to add subtle emphasis to their themes. How does Steinbeck use patterns of imagery (e.g., animal imagery) in this novel?

2. In chapter 3, Carlson takes Candy's dog away and shoots it. What is the significance of this incident in the novel?

3. In chapter 4, Crooks tells Lennie: "Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody— to be near him." What do you think Crooks means? What is Steinbeck trying to suggest by this comment?

4. Why does George travel with Lennie, tying himself down in this way? How do his actions illustrate one of Steinbeck's major concerns in the novel?

5. Read Robert Burns's poem "To a Mouse," which treats the same theme as this novel: the inevitability of fate upsetting man's careful planning. In what ways are Steinbeck's and Burns's treatments of the theme similar? In what ways do they differ?