Of Mice and Men

Mind Map by NamesAreTooHard, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by NamesAreTooHard over 4 years ago


My revision for my GCSE exams. I hope someone else can find this useful too. Note: All quotes are notes on the points, as are the character descriptions. This is just because I ran out of space.

Resource summary

Of Mice and Men
1 Themes and Symbolism
1.1 Religion
1.1.1 The dream farm that Candy, Lennie and George dream of could relate to the Garden of Eden.
1.1.2 Slim is a God-like figure that could be seen as the voice of Steinbeck
1.1.3 Curley's Wife represents the snake in the Garden of Eden, tempting Lennie and causing him to lose his life.
1.2 Animals
1.2.1 The use of mice shows that the weak can be easily destroyed.
1.2.2 The multicoloured rabbits show that Lennie's dreams are unlikely to happen.
1.2.3 The dead mice being so easily thrown away show the cruelty of life in the 1930s, where life seemed to be easily discarded.
1.3 Red
1.3.1 Red is the colour of both danger and passion. Curley's Wife is depicted as often wearing red.


  • Quotes:  'rouged lips' 'Her fingernails were red' 'red mules'
1.4 Light and Dark
1.4.1 Symbolise hope and despair. Curley's Wife cuts off the light in the bunkhouse doorway. She also ruins the hope of a good future for Lennie.


  • Quote: 'the rectangle of sunshine was cut off' Crooks' eyes are described as both dark and glittering.


  • Quotes: 'seemed to glitter with intensity'
1.5 Lonliness
1.5.1 Of Mice and Men is set in Soledad. Soledad is the Spanish for solitude.
1.5.2 They play the card game 'Solitaire' which is played alone.
1.5.3 Whenever they try to communicate a tragedy happens. For example, a fight, or Candy's dog getting shot.
1.6 Dreams
1.6.1 Lennie destroys most of the dreams of other characters through his actions.
1.6.2 They give hope.
1.7 Death and Destiny
1.7.1 Lennie's murders weren't deliberate, showing that death is unpredictable and inevitable.
1.7.2 'The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew'. This shows us that the characters are doomed to have a tragic end.
1.8 Friendship
1.8.1 Most friendships involved Lennie. This may be because he doesn't understand the social norms of leading an isolated life.
2 Characters
2.1 George
2.2 Lennie
2.3 Curley
2.4 Curley's Wife
2.5 Candy
2.6 Crooks
2.7 Carlson
2.8 Slim
3 Context
3.1 Steinbeck
3.1.1 Born in Salinas in 1902 to a wealthy family.
3.1.2 Worked on ranches in the summers which made him aware of the lifestyles of itinerant workers.


  • Lennie was actually based on a real person. The real Lennie didn't kill a woman, but he did go to an insane asylum because he killed a ranch foreman.
3.2 The American Dream
3.2.1 James Truslow Adams defined the American Dream by saying "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardelss of social class or circumstances of their birth.
3.2.2 The American Dream stems from the United States Declaration of Independence that proclaims "all men are created equal".
3.3 The Great Depression
3.3.1 12-15 million Americans (one third of the population) were unemployed in the years of 1930-1936.
3.3.2 Many families spilt up when the fathers left to find work. Many people also couldn't pay rent and there were food shortages.
3.4 Migrant Farmers
3.4.1 There were a series of droughts in the mid-western states which meant that people had to move off their land. This meant that they couldn't repay debts. Because of these droughts people moved to California to look for land. Many men were turned away and the men had to live in camps and were forced to look for casual farm work. Many worked as ranch hands.
3.5 Society
3.5.1 People who didn't fit into social norms were treated badly.


  • If you weren't an able-bodied white American who didn't fit within the 'social norms'.  By 'treated badly' I mean they were excluded from most, if not all,  social activities, given sub-standard accommodation and meals, and considered to be less worthy.
3.5.2 Slavery was abolished long before the 1930s, but it was legal for existing slaves to be kept as slaves.
3.5.3 Women were also marginalised and, without being married, women had little purpose or opportunity.
3.6 Of Mice and Men
3.6.1 A line from a Robert Burns' poem. ''The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew'.
4 Settings
4.1 The Clearing/Pool
4.1.1 The starting and finishing place of the novel. A place of safety, peace and calmness for the characters.
4.2 The Bunkhouse
4.2.1 A place of hostility and poverty. Gives a sense of claustrophobia.
4.3 Crooks' Room
4.3.1 Shows isolation, but also reflects Crooks' intelligence.
5 Techniques Used
5.1 Language
5.1.1 Phonetic spelling and slang are used so make the characters seem more realistic.
5.1.2 Descriptive techniques and cinematic description is used to describe nature. This makes nature seem more desirable than men.
5.1.3 Racist terms reflect the time
5.2 Foreshadowing
5.2.1 George often talked about how life would be better off without Lennie.
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