The speaker of the poem has to be an enemy to the mouse who lives with man and this would be no one else other than the cat. Obstacles experienced by the mouse. The first obstacle that the mouse faces is harassment from the cat. From the first line in the first stanza, the mouse is referred to as a "small, sleek, cowering, timorous beast, O, what a pain is in your breast." This is an indication that the mouse must be scared by the reactions from the cat and that why it wants to run away. In the second stanza, the mouse is told that man's dominion had broken nature's social union and made "thee startle at me". This is a confirmation that the mouse was scared at the speaker of the poem who is the cat.
The mouse also has a problem with shelter. The first line of the fourth stanza says "Your small house, too in ruin." This is an indication that the kind of shelter that houses the mouse must be in a poor condition that it does not provided the kind of shelter that is desired. This is supported by the second line of the same fourth stanza which says "its feeble walls the winds are scattering!" The winds can only scatter something that is loosely held and this is a confirmation that the mouse's shelter is in poor condition which of course has to be a straggle to it.
The bad condition of the shelter also creates the problem of having to endure the hash whether conditions. Line four to six of stanza six says "without house or holding, to endure the winter's sleety dribble and hoar-frost cold." This a confirmation that the mouse is experiencing the hash conditions of the cold.
Another struggle that the mouse goes through is the lack of foresight in the sense that it can never tell of what its future will be like because it all depends on what plans man and pest have. In the seventh stanza, the speaker indicates that best laid schemes of mice and men go askew and leave them with grief and pain. This is a confirmation that the mouse together with the cat is scared of what plans man might have.
The cat indicates to the mouse that sometimes well laid plans by man and pests go out of line and end up harming them and yet they go into these houses with the hope of finding a better life. This illustrates that these two animals can never tell of what their future will be like because it all lies in the hands of human beings and pests. This also illustrates that the mouse and the cat go into the house of men with the hope of finding better things and enjoying life in general only to find that their source of joy end up being a source of misery.
The speaker has it worse because he cannot predict what the future holds for him. This instills so much fear in him. The speaker goes on to say that the futures only touches the mouse but for him but the problem is he can never see. When the speaker thinks of what he has gone through, he feels shaken by what the future holds because he can never predict what exactly will happen.
The overall message of the poem is that man the relationship between man and mice has never been that smooth as most people might think. Man has always ruled over such animals found next to him without thinking of what these animals under go. in the second stanza the speaker tells the mouse "I'm truly sorry man's dominion has broken nature's social union." This is to say that it is because of man that the speaker and the mouse hate one another because all of them have to survive. Just like the mouse has to steal food from man to survive so does the speaker have to chase after the mouse. If it were not for these, both of these animals would have coexisted in harmony. The speaker goes on to tell the mouse in stanza seven that " but mouse you are not alone in proving foresight may be vain." This line illustrates that the both the speaker and the mouse have a similar problem and this is proving that foresight was in vain. The difficulties that both of these animals are going through is as a result of the hash conditions than man has for them.
The reason as to why Steinbeck named the whole novel from the saying "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry" is because the kind of relationships that are illustrated within the novel sometimes turn sure not because the parties involved want to but because it just happens. Moreover you do not force for these relationships to exist but they exist somehow. Just like the relationship between the mice and man is unpredictable so is all the relationships within the novel.
All the characters in the novel desire for a happy relationship and interaction with a friend but what happens is that they end up in the hands of strangers. Just like Crooks says that life can never be good without a companion that you can turn to in times of need or confusion so is the relationship between the speaker, the mouse and man. The main reason as to why man keeps the cat in his house is for the cat to get rid of the mice. However, the situation does not always turn out as man might have expected. Like in this case, the mouse was scared at the speaker because he new that he might be eaten. It is ironical that it did not turn out as man might have expected. Instead, the cat was accommodating to the mouse something that no one expected.
Similarly the writer used this phrase to illustrate that you can never no what the future holds because you might find that someone you thought was an enemy turns out to be very helpful. Just like the mouse did not expect to be assisted by the speaker, it turns out that his enemy was very accommodating. On the same note, the mouse always though that the cat was in a better position than him only to find out that the cat felt that the mouse was better of.
The general message in the novel is that we all need someone to turn to in time of need and in most cases you might find that someone you through was your enemy turns out to be helpful at one point.