“Of Mice and Men”: Significance of the Title
The title of every great novel has some significance. Sometimes that significance can clearly be seen and sometimes you really have to analyze the book to figure out the title’s significance. The significance of “Of Mice and Men” can be found by analyzing the mice and men of the book. Mice are soft, smooth, and small fragile animals. They need attention, protection and affection. The “mice” of the book are Lennie, Curley’s wife, Candy’s old dog, Lennie’s puppy, and the dead mouse Lennie had in his pocket at the beginning of the novel.
Although Lennie is not small of soft or smooth, he is very fragile. We see Lennie as being fragile when he is in Brooks room and Crooks was saying all the what ifs about George. At that point we realize that such things cannot be said to Lennie because he panics. The “mice” in the novel are the ones being used. Curley’s wife is one of the “mice” and she is used by Curley. Although she married Curley even though she didn’t love him, Curley also married his wife simply to parade her around.
Mice are very small and therefore they need protection and that is exactly what George gives Lennie. Through the “mice” Steinbeck shows how society takes advantage of the less fortunate but also how the week are treated is left to the strong. There are two different groups of men in the novel, the good men and the bad men. The bad men are Curley, Curley’s dad, and Carlson. These men are grumpy, ignorant or other people’s feelings, issues and needs, predators, egotistical, and power hungry. These are men in society that take advantage of the weak.
Curley picks on Lennie because he knows Lennie is not going to do anything and that makes Curley feel good about himself. Curley’s dad economically exploits his workers. He does not pay them what they deserve and he does only what is best for him. Carlson wants to shoot Candy’s old dog simply because it is old and it stinks. He does not take into considerations the feelings Candy has towards the dog. The other group is the good men. In the novel the good men are George, Slim, Candy, and Crooks. These men are intelligent of other men’s needs and feelings.
They treat others with respect and think before they act. They are protectors, helpers, listeners, and caretakers for the weak. George takes care of Lennie and makes sure nobody messes with him in any way. Slim also tries to help George when it comes to Lennie by being there for George. These good men are the ones that choose to help the “mice” of society. The title suggests that in the world we have people that get taken advantage of and people that take advantage of others and it is solely up to people to protect or deprive those who cannot defend themselves.
The people that take advantage of others are alienating those people. George and Slim are two of the characters that are alienated in the novel and their choices at the end of the novel simply minimize its effects on our lives. They try to make every one feel welcomed but in the end they are still alienated, one way or another. “Of Mice And Men” is one of the novels whose title is not blunt. By analyzing the two subjects of the title we find its true significance. Steinbeck was trying to show that how we treat the disadvantage is totally up to us and we can either help or break them.