Of Mice and Men


I don't particulary understand the fact why the book is called 'of mice and men'. Would anyone be able to explain to me what it means? As this may help, not just me, but a lot of people the meaning of this fabulous book.

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This is a good question. Steinbeck took the title of the book from a poem entitled 'Ode to a Mouse' by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. The title of the novel is taken from two specific lines -

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men

Gang aft agley.

This translates as 'the best laid plans of mice and men often go wrong.

The title fits with the text in that despite all of the long-held dreams that the characters have - Lennie and George's farm, Curley's wife's move career to name but a few - their plans are open to (and maybe doomed to) failure.


John Steinbeck - 'Of Mice and Men' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Mice_and_Men

In addition to Tracey: the next line in Robert Burns's poem is very telling too -

And leaves us nought but grief and pain,

For promised joy

George promises Lenny the beautiful rabbit-farm paradise but there is only grief and pain in the end. The poem as a whole is a good read next to the book because it will help you understand the symbolic layers so much the better.