Theme of Prejudice
Of Mice and Men deals with many of America’s age-old hot-button issues, including but not limited to sexism, racism, ageism, and discrimination against those with disabilities. Most importantly, this prejudice isn’t ever explicitly noted or fought against – those who are discriminated against accept the prejudice against them as a way of life. Of course there’s some grumbling about it, but there’s no sense that Curley’s wife, Crooks, Candy, or Lennie feel a grave and inexcusable injustice is being perpetrated against them. It seems simply that their lot in life is to endure prejudice, and they operate with all the meanness (if not the rebellion) that such a life necessitates. Still, the other men of the ranch still accept Crooks, Candy, and Lennie for their differences; and Curley’s wife, though she’s maligned, is never completely ignored. While prejudice is a force that defines some of the social interaction the ranch, the need to escape isolation and the fact of close proximity means the characters all socialize with each other to some degree, in spite of the prejudices they undoubtedly hold.
Theme of Friendship
In this novella, friendship isn’t discussed heavily. George and Lennie don’t talk about how they feel about each other or why they should stay loyal – they just stand by each other, and that’s that. It’s a very gruff, rough and tumble atmosphere, and though feelings aren’t talked about, you get the sense that the men take nothing more seriously than their friendship. For George and Lennie, as they make their way through the Depression, all they have is each other.
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