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Literary Themes in "Of Mice and Men"

Updated on December 2, 2012

Reoccurring Themes

In John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, the theme of loneliness and companionship appeared throughout the story. To achieve happiness George Milton dreams of owning a house in the country with Lennie Smalls and living off the land. Unfortunately, that dream never makes its way to reality, for Lennie accidently murders Curley’s wife, and in the end George has to shoot his best friend. After that debacle, George knows he cannot achieve his dream without his companion, Lennie. Crooks needs a friend who he can talk to and who respects him, to achieve happiness for himself. This happiness never becomes achieved because of his African American heritage working for white people. They view him as a lesser person because of his skin color, thus not respecting him at all and not talking to him much. The crave of being the center of attention and being spoken, to remains to be Curly’s wife’s wants. She never attained either of those because of her harassing husband and her abnormal environment. Curley never wants his wife to talk to any of the men at the ranch, and other women virtually nonexistent, so Curley’s wife never has anyone to talk to. None of the men care too much to pay attention to her, so no one ever listens to her. At the ranch she fails to achieve happiness. Happiness should come easy for Candy, yet he never achieves it. He just wants to be wanted and thought of as useful, but he cannot achieve this dream of his because of his handicap of only having one hand. He then wants to join George in his dream to achieve happiness because he thinks he is going to be wanted and thought of as useful until Lennie gets shot. In this novel, no one achieves happiness, yet everyone yearns for a similar idea, the theme of wanting a companion to talk to, care for, and live among.


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