Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
In Of Mice and Men, one of the main themes is the essence of humanity or the nature of human existence. Throughout the book, almost every character comes out and says how they are all lonely on the inside. They all want someone the way George and Lennie have each other. So they all seek one another to try to fill that loneliness.
An example of this is that Crooks tells Lennie that life is no good without a companion to turn to in times of confusion and need. He also says that loneliness is enough to drive a man crazy. Yet with telling each other such personal things in times of loneliness they still seem to criticize what the other says and put them down as to make them feel better about themselves. This would be like when Crooks was talking to Lennie and Lennie tells him the dream of the farm and land that he, George, and Candy have planned out and Crooks exclaims to him how unrealistic it is.
When Lennie dies it shows a true form of loneliness to them all. When Lennie dies so does his and George’s dream. George and Lennie’s dream is of a place where “nobody gonna hurt nobody nor steal from ’em.” With this dream gone, it will leave an even stronger imprint of loneliness on Candy and especially George. This dream was what kept them sane and made them feel like they would soon have a purpose and a sense of belonging. It showed them that they had someone to always be there for them when the bigger plans were to come. With this dream gone, it shows that freedom and connectedness would never be realistic in this world.
Of Mice and Men brings to attention the working class and how they are all stuck in a situation they don’t want to be in because they have no other option. Both George and Lennie feel that the ranch “ain’t a no good place,” but they have to stay because they “can’t help it”; they are victims of a society that idealizes the American Dream, but doesn’t give people many options for achieving it.
Another theme in this story is discrimination. There is a high variation of discrimination amongst the characters. They almost all have something they could be discriminated against. There are Crooks, who is the black stable-hand. He is discriminated against for his color, and he never will be treated with great respect.
Then there is Curley’s wife. In Of Mice and Men Curley’s wife does not even have a name, as well as also the only girl in the book. All of the men in the book think she is a “tart” because she is flirtatious. The men on the ranch feel threatened by her and stereotype her, but in reality, she is just a lonely woman looking for friends trapped in a marriage she was practically forced into.
Next is Lennie. He is basically mentally ill and is never treated well enough. Everyone treats him as if he is a nutcase, but the things he does he never means to do on purpose. Lennie probably needs help but he stays with George and they continue to go along life together. But Lennie always seems to make mistakes and mess up their situation. For this, he will never be treated with respect.