Themes in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The themes of man's inhumanity to man, the nature of friendship, and labor vs management all come shining through in this touching classic. A few reviewers worried that the book may be a little tough for children under fourteen to handle; ironically, this is a true testament to this book's enduring impact on American culture. It is too late to worry about really young children "reading" this story, because if they grew up in America watching the Saturday morning cartoons, they have already watched the movie version of OF MICE AND MEN several hundred times. That's right. Warner Brothers cartoons frequently paired a big, strong, dumb character with a little pipsqueek who comically controls him, slaps him around, or takes care of him. The little guy is "the Boss." They got that routine straight from Steinbeck's novel. If you want examples, the most recent one is probably Pinkie and the Brain, but they have done it for years with cats, dogs, wolves, and zoot-suited gangsters. The big ox-like one is almost always stumbling into and accidentally smacking the [heck] out of the little boss in his eagerness to pursue the prey.