1) What is the significance of the title in relation to the novel?
It says the title of the novel comes from Scottish poet Robert Burns’ poem (1759-96)
The best laid schemes o’ mice and men (scheme=a visionary or impractical project, a plan, dream)
[often go wrong]
And leave us nought but grief and pain
For promised joy!
The best plan George and Lennie had was to own a little house and a few acres. Like the second line in the poem, their plan/dream went wrong. Ultimately due to Lennie murdering Curly’s wife and being murdered himself. Also, like the third line claims, the death of these 2characters brought nothing but grief and pain. In more ways than one actually. For example, because of the wife's death, Lennie was murdered which at that point their dream dies too because whats a dream without the dreamer? Also, since Lennie was murdered by his own close pal, George will have to live with that grief. And finally, the last line in the poem claims “for promised joy.” This joy was the dream of owning their few acres and Lennie, George, and even Ol’ Candy was promised this dream. So the message of this poem by Robert Burns is be careful what you dream for because it might end up in grief. Steinbeck use this poem to develop this message through the characters as I’ve explained.
1. How does Steinbeck portray the American Dream in the novel?
Theme: Being unable to reach the American Dream.
Ex. At one point or another, the characters in the novel tell us their dream and by the end of the story the fact is that none of them reach their American Dream.
-Curly’s wife’s dream quoted on pg 89: “Coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes - all them nice clothes, like they wear. An’ I coulda sat in them big hotels, an’ had pitchers took of me”’ (Steinbeck 89) .
*Her dream never happened, she ended up meeting Curly the same night she realized she wasn’t getting the letter that will send her to Hollywood and make her famous. She is unable to reach her...