Of Mice and Men Themes and Symbols

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Of Mice and Men


Of Mice and Men - Theme

Example



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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs are valuable aspects of any literary work, and they add richness to stories. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to analyze without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our supplementary article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

In the classroom, students can track the rich symbolism Steinbeck uses throughout the novel.


Themes, Motifs, and Imagery to Look for and Discuss

Loneliness

Loneliness is a common theme in literature. Throughout this novel, each character experiences a type of loneliness or isolation. It is interesting to track this theme, and its implications, as the story progresses. Some characters suffer physical isolation or loneliness, such as Crooks, while others, like Curley’s wife, feel psychological isolation.


Friendship

As migrant workers, bouncing from ranch to ranch, most men didn't keep long-lasting friendships. This is why the story idealizes George and Lennie’s friendship. Despite its unconventional nature, the theme that having someone is better than no one prevails.


Dreams

Throughout the novel, Lennie reciting their dream makes it seem attainable. It never becomes a reality because of all that stands in their way, but the hope of it keeps the men alive. It gives them a reason to keep going, working, and saving.


Rabbits

In the novel, Lennie is obsessed with anything soft and fuzzy. He particularly fixates on rabbits because they "aren’t as little as mice", so cannot be killed as easily. The reader becomes more aware as the novel closes that tending rabbits is Lennie's ultimate dream. He knows that he will never obtain his dream, because he kills everything he touches.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Of Mice and Men. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Of Mice and Men you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.

Template: Theme

Template


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Rubric

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