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The major theme of the book, Of Mice and Men, is that a dream, no matter how impossible to obtain, can forge friendship and give meaning to life. George and Lennie dream of owning a little farm of ten acres, with a windmill, a little shack, an orchard, and animals. The dream keeps them going and lightens the load of their work. It also solidifies their friendship.
One of the minor Themes is the tragedy of mental retardation. Lennie never intends to harm anything, neither the puppy nor Curley’s wife. He is simply too slow to realize his own strength. His retardation is the cause of his downfall and death, in spite of George’s trying to help him stay out of trouble.
The pain of loneliness is another theme of the book. All the main characters, including George, Lennie, Candy, Crooks, Curley’s wife, and Slim, express the sadness caused by their feelings of loneliness. The craving for company and the longing for sharing real emotions make these characters very human.
The dominant mood of the story is that of expectation. This mood is developed through the dreams of the major characters. The other mood that prevails is premonitory, of impending doom. There are also other moods evoked through the actions of the characters reflecting sorrow, pity, and brutality. The novel ends on a tragic note. The mood at the end is definitely one of depression and frustration.