Contained within the novel, Of Mice and Men there are fundamental and universal ideas illustrated by concrete events as well as symbols. The most prevalent and all encompassing theme of the book is appropriately suggested by the simple title of the book. In most situations of our human existence, there are “Mice” and there are “Men”. This analogy explained, is simply that there is usually someone who is superior—relative to the person they are interacting with, and there will always be someone who is inferior—the mouse—who is vulnerable to he who is superior. There are numerous examples of this in Of Mice and Men.
Relationships between the characters in Of Mice and Men suggest that human nature is inherently predatory. Each character possesses strengths and weaknesses; however each character finds a way to flaunt his or her superiority over another individual by belittling that person’s weaknesses.
Each of the major characters is weak in their specific circumstance of isolation and need for emotional support. Most people in our present day society are afflicted by the same basic human need. It is human nature to need someone to talk to—someone to tell us that things will be ok, or help us cope when things are not ok. Of Mice and Men presents this as a grim lesson about the human nature. Admittedly, in the context of this particular novel, this human need was the genesis of the each character’s personal catastrophe, but I would argue that this is not always the case in our own lives.
There are eight major characters in the novel whose actions and characteristics support the generally accepted themes. Lennie and George, the main characters are an unlikely pair. Whereas George is the smarter of the two; and Lennie is his big strong but cognitively slow counterpart. In that their strengths and weakness balance their relationship they seem perfectly matched. This model has been reinvented numerous times before and since the writing of the...