I guess isolation and social exclusion of different groups is something of relevance. e.g.

  • Crooks: racism
  • Curley's wife: misogyny
  • Candy: ageism
  • Lennie: ableism

But I still can't think of any other points that is of relevance to contemporary society.

Not looking for anything over the top. Just looking for a few words or sentences to help me along. I can do all the quote finding and analysis myself.

  • 1
    It's a long time since I read the book so I shan't post a formal answer, but I'd have thought that eg education, lack of social safety net if people can't work or find work, the whole living on the edge of unsurvivable poverty and seeking to escape it, the lure of celebrity as a solution to an unhappy life, the importance of friendship/comradeship, the willingness of those with minor authority to abuse it... all very modern themes.
    – Spagirl
    Jul 11, 2019 at 10:03

3 Answers 3


The heart of the book, to me, is the American Dream. It is even in chapter 1 where George and Lennie talk about their version of the American Dream, living off "the fat of the land" and not having to worry about money to live.

We’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we’ll just say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof – nuts!

It is said that Steinbeck argues that throughout American history, especially during the Great Depression, the American Dream has at best been an illusion and, at worst, a trap. There are times when the true American Dream is impossible. However, while that may be the case, unattainable dreams are still necessary, in a way, to make life in America bearable.

This is relatable even now, and not just in America. The idea that you can work yourself into being independent from the need of employment for an extremely comfortable life is the dream of everyone.


At bottom, all novels, indeed all literature, deal with the human condition. As such, if a work moves today’s reader to laugh, to cry, to reflect, it is relevant today. And surely, if the reader enjoys it simply as something beautiful, as a work of art, whether or not it is otherwise relevant doesn’t matter in the least.


For me, the relevance lies, at the core, in the pathos in Robert Burn's poem "To A Mouse":

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Hence the title of Steinbeck's work: Of Mice and Men.

  • 3
    But how exactly is this relevant? Could you explicate that in your answer? Oct 19, 2019 at 22:10
  • Throughout the tale all the characters have or had dreams and plans for the future and most have failed or not turned into what they had hoped - seems that that is very relevant, still, in today's world, not only for the past and present, but for the future as well. Think on Thoreau's "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." for yet another angle. Oct 19, 2019 at 23:03

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