The thesis investigates the nature of the allusive links that exist between the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and the poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns, and Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya and the poem “Work without Hope” by Samuel T. Coleridge, as both novels have their titles taken from the respective poems. This fact makes one wonder what the significance of such allusive titles is. Are the titles chosen more or less for decorative purposes, or do important links of, for instance, theme and message connect the poems and the novels? What is the nature of the existing links? Four analyses of the four works are presented, and several critics are cited.
The conclusion is that close links do exist. The link between Of Mice and Men and “To a Mouse” is a parallel one: the message of the novel that the two main characters‟ dream of owning a farm, is crushed and is thus an enactment of the a central line of the poem: “The best-laid schemes of Mice and Men Gang aft agley.” Furthermore, the works share features of deviating language and a tone of tender compassion. The link between Markandaya‟s novel and “its” poem, is more complex. Objectively considered the novel is an exemplification of the many futile attempts of the main character and this corresponds closely to the title Nectar in a Sieve. But in addition to this parallelism there is also a “reversed link”, one of opposition, since the novel depicts a narrator whose spirit is not defeated, whereas the poem, on the other hand, presents a severely depressed speaker longing for his previous, poetic fame. One difference between the works seems to be that the character of the novel has an unwavering faith in God whereas the speaker of the poem has religious doubts. In both pairs of works, the close links enrich and strengthen both the works.