Presentation on theme: "THREADS. Argument: The central guiding principle of the novel is the theme of Cain and Abel. “The mythical discourse theme that is present throughout."— Presentation transcript:
Argument: The central guiding principle of the novel is the theme of Cain and Abel. “The mythical discourse theme that is present throughout the novel is the question of man’s destiny and fate, which Cain is noted to have asked God.”
Comes from chapter 4 of Genesis in the Old Testament. Immediately following the Creation and Expulsion (from the Garden of Eden).
Cain and Abel were sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a farmer, but his offerings of agricultural produce to the Lord failed to find favor; Abel, the second son, offered livestock, which was well received.
Angry, jealous, and rejected, Cain killed Abel when they were working in the field. When the Lord inquired of Cain, “Where is your brother?” Cain replied: “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Cain was marked by the Lord so as to preserve him from the wrath of others. He left home and went to the land of Nod, which the story says lies east of Eden.
For his crime, the Lord banished Cain and set upon him a curse that Cain was to become homeless, a wanderer, and an agricultural laborer who would never possess or enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Where does the story find application in Of Mice and Men? The relationship of George and Lennie, and the reactions of the other characters to that relationship.
George and Lennie have a brotherly, mutual concern for each other and faithful companionship. “If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.” “…because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you.”
Secondly, this sort of camaraderie is rare, almost unique in the world George and Lennie inhabit. Other men are solitary souls without friends or companions (such as Candy). So the alternative to George and Lennie is aloneness: The migratory ranch worker seems to be the fulfillment of the Lord’s curse on Cain.
Takes place along the Salinas River, a few miles south of Soledad, California. Steinbeck often used California as symbolic of a fallen world or lost Eden. “The Promised Land” is a painful and illusory dream.
Let’s consider Candy. It’s easy to see the parallel between the shooting of Candy’s dog by Carlson, and the shooting of Lennie by George. But Lennie and Candy are very similar. Candy needs someone to look after his affairs: He needs George and the dream farm.
However, George declines to still get the farm with Candy, even though Candy is still more than willing to put up the money. This proves that being in one safe place with Lennie was more important to George than simply being in one safe place.
He elects to continue living the hard life of a ranch hand rather than settle down to life on a small farm with Candy. This may be the true tragedy in the book. It’s not just that George loved Lennie too much, but this unnatural attachment was the only reason why George could put up with and do so much for Lennie in the first place.
Without Lennie, George sentences himself to the same fate as the other migrant workers: a life of loneliness. So when Lennie dies, the dream of the farm dies with him. While his weakness doomed the dream, it was only his innocence that kept it alive.