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Why is that the title?


sarah s #2532
Aug 12, 2005 8:37 PM

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Why is that the title?

I was just curious, but does anyone know the reason for the title "Of Mice and Men" ?  I was thinking it had to do with Lennie, how it liked to pet the mice and everything, but I also heard it had something to do with a poem.  Any ideas would help.  Thanks!

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derek h #2898
Aug 18, 2005 10:17 PM

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I believe the poem is scottish poet Robbie Burns'.

The full stanza is as follows:
"The best-laid plans of mice and men
Gang aft agley (=often go wrong).
And leave us naught but grief and pain
For promised joy."

Think of the plans that George and Lennie had... Consider the fragility of dreams.  George and Lennie had everything all planned out, nice and simply, yet everything still fell apart.

Hope this helped!

john k #4786
Sep 15, 2005 9:03 PM

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That explanation was terrible. I'm even more confused than that other guy.

derek h #6111
Oct 06, 2005 10:23 AM

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Thats a completly unnecessary comment, but the reason mostly has to do with the fact that Lennie always tried to keep the mice, and just the fact that George could have had so much control over lennie. This entire book focuses on the 'American Dream'. Remember that it was written during the great depression.

bu-s3oood a #7376
Oct 23, 2005 3:45 PM

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the explination was perfect........

Thanks 4 whoever wrote it.......

andrea t #8620
Nov 08, 2005 5:16 PM

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I think it's called that because Lennie killed mice, and then he killed people. very simple. don't think to deeply into things ^.^

beth l #8748
Nov 15, 2005 5:35 PM

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the title is From a poem by Robet Burns
As well Lennie Killed a mouse and then to a "Man" (Curley's Wife)

connie m #43729
Aug 05, 2007 10:00 PM

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Another explanation of the title is the saying, "the best laid plans of mice and men often come to naught." which means it doesn't matter how well you plan things out, stuff happens to mess it all up.

coco s #17435
Aug 10, 2007 7:58 PM

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Yes, the title comes from Burns's poem.  And the great value of Geroge and Lennie's dream is not so much in its fruition but in the way it gives them hope, something to look forward to, and a reason to save their money.  It also helps George to handle Lennie--he can always get Lennie to behave by threatening not to let him tend the rabbits.

Curley's wife has a dream to be an actress, but that goes awry too.  So does Curley's dream of being a boxer.

heysay u #44412
Aug 30, 2007 6:50 PM

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i think it was because lennie was lost in the world of mice and didnt understand the world of men because while we see other characters' personal and mental analysisis, (which are very complex and confusing, something Lennie could never understand) Lennie is always stuck in the simple world of mice and bunnies..if that makes any sence at all...

or maybe the author is just a retard.
or maybe i am..
oh well. = P

bumblebee t #53174
Feb 03, 2008 9:54 AM

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help got to do compare slims treatment to George and lennie and  ho curly treats George and lennie different

coco s #17435
Feb 03, 2008 4:24 PM

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Curly does not understand the friendship of George and Lennie.  He says, "Oh, so it's that way?" implying that they are intimate.  Slim, in contrast, makes no such assumption.  He just says, "Funny how you and him string along together," and lets George explain.  And Slim understands the value of a friendship.  Curly does not.  To him, a man has no friends.  A man is alone.  Even his wife is not his friend--she is a piece of property which he spends most of his time watching over so that the other men will not steal her.

annie s #56245
May 11, 2008 10:17 PM

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Wow, that's interesting.
I never thought that Curley was implying that George and Lennie were lovers until you pointed that out.

"We travel together," said George coldly. "Oh, so it's that way." George was tense, and motionless. "Yeah, it's that way."

Hm. Guess it makes sense.

farah g #69945
Nov 22, 2008 9:20 AM

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Wait. I'm confused.. so at the begging Curly thought George and Lennie were gay?

coco s #17435
Nov 23, 2008 3:01 PM

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The dialogue seems to suggest it. 

In the time of the novel, men did not have friends.  A man was too tough and independent to need another man's companionship.  Most of the men on the ranch do not understand why George and Lennie stick together.  The boss thinks it's because George is taking Lennie's pay; Carlson thinks it's because Lennie is big and provides protection for George, who is a small man.  Curley thinks it's because they are intimate.  Only Candy and Slim and Crooks understand friendship: Candy becuse he has his dog, Slim because he is wise, and Crooks because he knows rejection.

ivy g #73467
Dec 16, 2008 7:45 AM

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that is a good explanation to that question but that poem that i read was not that intresting even for kids my age -_-

ivy g #73467
Dec 16, 2008 7:46 AM

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i am confused too buddy!!!!!!=^.^=

ivy g #73467
Dec 16, 2008 7:47 AM

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liam f #83927
Mar 11, 2009 7:42 PM

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Robbie Burns, and old scottish poem wrote a poem called " To a Mouse", and in this poem, in the 7th verse, it says

the best schemes o' Mice and Men
Gang aft Agley....

this means that the best plans of mice and men often go astray, like what happened to Lennie and George and their plan to have a wonderful ranch..

btw.. tips*** John Steinbeck doesn't add anything in his literature that isn't important!

liam f #83927
Mar 11, 2009 7:45 PM

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he didnt think they were lovers... it was just an unsual sight in the 1930's to see two migrant workers living with each other, because of the tough economic times ( GREAT DEPRESSION)

sam j #83925
Mar 12, 2009 12:34 PM

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I agree with Liam F, Curly didn't think they were homosexual, he was confused. It was unlikely that he had ever see 2 men traveling together before

charles s #54728
Mar 14, 2009 2:18 PM

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bj, your post makes no sense whatsoever. Stop trying to see more in the book than Steinbeck put into it. He's just saying "stuff happens to spoil our plans." Curly misunderstands George and Lennie. Whether his line "So it's that way?" implies homosexuality doesn't really matter. The point is that no one (except Slim) can fathom why two men would be pals.

cheryl m #86821
Mar 31, 2009 3:40 PM

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The poem basically means even the best, most wanted dreams don't go right even if you were a man or a mouse. And the key theme in the book is dreams. Notice aswell how each persons action stops anothers dream from happening, e.g Lennie kills Curleys Wife, shatters her dreams but in the long run shatters Candy and Georges and His....

liam f #83927
Mar 31, 2009 7:04 PM

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kim m #93377
May 13, 2009 10:23 AM

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Back to the homosexual sophomore class got into a discussion about the various themes of the interesting fact is how John Steinbeck portrayed all the women in this book..Aunt Clara is dead, whorehouse, woman in the red dress lied "rape", Curly's wife...all these women have negative characteristics...why??? what is Steinbeck trying to tell us?

coco s #17435
May 13, 2009 10:37 AM

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The book is about friendship. The men in this novel have no friendships. Even the women are not "human" to them. They are toys for pleasure (Susue and her girls), or property (Curley's wife), or liars (the woman in Weed), or dead (Aunt Clara). The men have no human connection--it's not manly. The few connections we do see are broken: Candy loses his dog (the one friendship that anyone accepts in the novel), Lennie loses his pup, Whit lost Bill Tenner, and George loses Lennie.

I think Steinbeck's point in the negative characteristics of women is that the men are "all scared of each other," as Curley's wife says. They desperately want human connection, but they don't dare admit that to one another. Sad, really.

britney j #100873
Aug 13, 2009 12:25 PM

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i can't believe i didn't pay attention to that at first i did think about it but then i thought thats dosn't have anyhting to do with the story

britney j #100873
Aug 13, 2009 12:27 PM

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that was a good explanation

craig r #103419
Sep 10, 2009 9:22 AM

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Steinbeck has confirmed the title was inspired by the Robert Burns poem, but that doesn't mean people are wrong if they see other meaning in it. Isn't literature all about bringing your own meaning to the table. That's why Bob Dylan doesn't ever discuss his lyrics, because half the fun of reading and listening to music is what it means to you, and what it makes you think and feel.

erika s #112831
Nov 12, 2009 6:29 PM

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You guys are beating a dead horse....come on. Personally, i think that Connie M's explanation was the best. It made the most sense. It was short, sweet, and to the point. But you guys keep quoting the same poem and saying the same things, yet you keep saying, "no, this is what it means..."
Seriously, if you'd actually read some of the other posts, you'd see that a lot of them are practically the same...

sarah c #153085
Oct 17, 2010 6:46 PM

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You guys are all retarded.
None of you know exactly what the title means, therefore stop getting ass hurt at peoples opinions.(:

squidward t #153445
Oct 19, 2010 9:22 PM

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Always think deeply about things. :D There is a lot missed in life if you take the minimum when you could get more. It may require more, but the wonderful result makes it worth it. :D

fionna l #157073
Nov 12, 2010 5:07 PM

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Squidward, I love your response. Life is much to short, much too precious, and much too eventful to settle for shallow reflection.

The title does come from the Robert Burns Poem, and yes it does come from the seventh stanza... but I think that many who posted here could benefit from the second stanza.

"I'm truly sorry man's dominion
has broken nature's social union
an' justifies that ill-opinion
which makes thee startle
at me, thy poor, earth-borne companion
an' fellow mortal."

Steinbeck illustrates a lack of connection between his characters. This forum supports the claim that we still fail in that connection. Ideas and opinions are still met with resistance and mistrust. Diversity is still punished with insult.

Burns wrote the poem in 1785, Of Mice and Men was published in 1937 ... here we are in 2010 and we still resist the idea that we are all earth-borne companions and fellow mortals.


paige f #157619
Nov 16, 2010 9:56 AM

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actually ofmice and men is a metaphor. mice,being lennie because he cannot think for himself, he makes mistakes not knowing the full outcome of what could happen. Men, george and some of the others, are considered men because they must take responsibility for their actions. They have the comprehension of any consequences that could come from their mistakes.

libby c #191821
Jul 03, 2011 10:29 AM

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I believe it came from the scottish poem by poet Robbie Burns'.

"The best-laid plans of mice and men
often go astray"

I think this represents the plans that George and Lennie had. Consider the fragility of their dreams. George and Lennie had everything all planned out, nice and simply, yet everything still fell apart.

eliza a #203905
Oct 04, 2011 10:45 AM

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It's basically to do with a Scottish poem written by Robbie Burns, it includes the Scottish phrase gang oft agley which means no matter how hard we plan, our plans can often go wrong. This relates to the book because Lennie and George had their life all planned out but their plans go wrong, like in the phrase.

shed m #231997
Feb 22, 2012 3:46 PM

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all those that said about it being a robert burns connection are right
lennie and georges simple and well plned out dreams are ruined
pps the homosexual part= curley did think that george and lennie where gay this is what my english teacher told me and she is the best that u can find n i had this clarified by every teacher in the scwl ;-)

wendy d #253083
May 27, 2012 12:00 AM

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on the subject of george's homosexuality... (i know this has nothing to do with the origional question, but this is a topic that has interested me as well) im a bit of a yaoi fanatic, (don't judge me! xD) so i tend to pick up on those tiny things, even when they're not there. in other words, im not saying that im nessecarily correct in saying this. but i do think that when curley said, 'so its that way?' he was implying that he thought that george and lennie had an intimate relationship. its just a teeny tiny little hint, but steinbeck managed to word it just right to suggest it, without cementing it. so, i guess what im saying is, it could really be either way, because steinbeck, like he's done in many places in the novel, didn't go into further detail about it. i personally think that this WAS meant: because of the wording, the atmosphere... and bcause i WANT it to be xD that is all

jiyoon y #253439
May 28, 2012 11:57 PM

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The title of the novel comes from a poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns "To a House"

"The best laid schemes o'mice and men
Gang aft agley (often go wrong)
And leave us nought but grief and pain
For promised joy!"

The poet got an idea by how a farmer was plowing and he accidently killed the mice. In the literature Lennie didn't really mean anything he had done wrong. Also Lennie and George didn't know their future. They thought they were going to have a piece of land and live happily ever after. However their future gets crushed. The farmer didn't meant to crush and kill the mice. Also the mice didn't know he was going to die.

jiyoon y #253439
May 28, 2012 11:59 PM

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The first comment is totally correct!ts

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