Of Mice And Men, To A Mouse: Connection Or Coincidence?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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""¦The best laid schemes of mice and men, Go oft astray"¦ ." This quote is taken from the 1785 poem "To A Mouse." The poem depicts the fleeing of a mouse in terror as a plow, driven by Robert Burns, the author, destroys its nest. Through the mouse's tribulations Burns proceeds to console the mouse, telling it not to worry because plans often go wrong. George Steinbeck, a 20th century author, took this line to heart when he wrote the novel Of Mice and Men. The story depicts two ranch hands trying to get a stake to purchase their own ranch. Although they had a well-laid scheme, like the mouse in the poem, Curley's wife's and George and Lennie's plans go astray.

Curley's wife, ambitious, beautiful, and talented, was a natural for show business. Once, a man she met at the Riverside Dance Palace remarked that he thought she might be prosperous in show business.

He also promised her he would send her a letter regarding her future in Hollywood. Although she waited for the letter, it never came. Curley's wife believed that her mother stole the letter as it came in the mail. This could very well be where her plan went astray, although never confirmed. Even though she had planned to live a prosperous life in Hollywood, her mother kept her at home and pressured her into marrying Curley. A few weeks after the two were wed, she was ready to leave him. While confessing to Lennie in the barn, Lennie, in an attempt to keep her from screaming, broke her neck. This ultimately foiled her plan to head west. This unusual circumstance, like the destruction of the mouse's nest, was the end of Curley's wife's life, and the end of her scheme.