Discuss the theme of loneliness in John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”.
Where and when is the novel set? Where did the inspiration for the novel come from? Who is the book about? What kind of life do these people have? There are other characters in the novel who are also lonely. What makes them lonely? (Age, race, sex.)
Discuss the central characters – George and Lennie. Who are they? What do they do? What do they look like? Describe their personalities – what are they like? What do they like to do?
Discuss the relationship between George and Lennie – what is it like? What does George think of Lennie? How does Lennie feel about George? Who is in control? Why do they travel together?
Discuss the character of Candy. Who is he? What does he do? What does he look like? What is he like? Who is his ‘friend’? What happens to it? What does the future hold for him? How does he try to stop this? Relationship with George and Lennie? (Buys into a friendship.)
Discuss the character of Crooks. Who is he? What does he do? What does he look like? Where does he live? How does he describe his past? How does he describe his present life? How is he treated? How is he forced to spend his time? Relationship with others? Why is he so bitter?
Discuss the character of Curley’s wife. Who is she? What does she look like? What do all the farm workers say about her? Why are all of the workers frightened to talk to her? Why does she marry Curley? What does she feel about him? How does she describe her life on the ranch? How does she behave – what things does she say and do in order to befriend the men? Why does she do this? Is she really ‘a tart’? At the end of the novel, what does her loneliness cause?
Look at the incident in the barn. What brings Lennie and Curley’s wife together – why are they there? What happens? How does this affect the relationships between George, Lennie and Candy.
Summarise your findings. As a guide, think about writing one or two sentences for each paragraph in the main body of your essay.