What does the Title of Steinbeck”s Novel Of Mice and Men Mean? Symbolism of Mice in the Novel. GCSE IGCSE English Revision
The title of Steinbeck”s novel comes from the poem ‘To a Mouse’, by the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759–96). It is addressed to a mouse that builds its winter nest in a wheat field, only to see it destroyed by a ploughman. Burns wrote his poem in Scots dialect.
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This is relevant to Steinbeck’s novel in two ways:Steinbeck’s characters seem to be at the mercy of fate, almost as powerless as mice.A major theme of the novel is ‘shattered dreams’. Lennie and George are migrant farm workers who dream of having their own home and land, but this dream is wrecked, like the mouse’s nest in the poem.
In addition, it calls up the proverbial phrase: “Are you a man or are you a mouse?” At the core of the novel is a test of manhood. George has to man up to a tough choice: shoot Lennie and put him out of his misery, admit defeat – or do nothing and leave him to the hands of Curley, the rage of the mob or the madhouse.This theme is brought out where Candy says near the end of Chapter Three:”I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn”t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.”+Get free A* model essays on Of Mice and Men.
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Further, the killing begins with mice. George says “the trouble with mice is you always kill “em”. Later, Lennie kills the pup, which Curley”s wife says is “only a mutt”. Then he kills her. Lennie”s killing moves inevitably from mice to men, from small to large.
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