Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

4.2 1276
by John Steinbeck

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A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression

Over seventy-five years since its first publication, Steinbeck’s tale of commitment, loneliness, hope, and loss remains one of America’s most widely read and taught novels. An unlikely pair, George and Lennie, two migrant workers in California during the Great…  See more details below


A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression

Over seventy-five years since its first publication, Steinbeck’s tale of commitment, loneliness, hope, and loss remains one of America’s most widely read and taught novels. An unlikely pair, George and Lennie, two migrant workers in California during the Great Depression, grasp for their American Dream. They hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

Of Mice and Men represents an experiment in form, which Steinbeck described as “a kind of playable novel, written in a novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands.” A rarity in American letters, it achieved remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films. This edition features an introduction by Susan Shillinglaw, one of today’s leading Steinbeck scholars.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Of Mice and Men is a thriller, a gripping tale running to novelette length that you will not set down until it is finished. It is more than that; but it is that. . . . In sure, raucous, vulgar Americanism, Steinbeck has touched the quick in his little story.”—The New York Times

“Brutality and tenderness mingle in these strangely moving pages. . . . The reader is fascinated by a certainty of approaching doom.”—Chicago Tribune

”A short tale of much power and beauty. Mr. Steinbeck has contributed a small masterpiece to the modern tough-tender school of American fiction.”—Times Literary Supplement [London]

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Penguin Publishing Group
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Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century Series
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18 Years

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Of Mice and Men 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 1276 reviews.
Bran More than 1 year ago
This book is an instant classic in my eyes and will never die down because this is a book that can keep anybody of any age and of any IQ reading it over and over, i know it did that to me. this is one book i would always want to have around because its a short read ( 100 or so pages ) that will captivate you in many ways.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Set in the 1930s, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men depicts the nomadic lives of George Milton and Lennie Small. The two men travel together, but are as different as can be. George is a small, intelligent man, while Lennie is an incredibly large man with the intellect of a child. Though the two are complete opposites, they are each other's family. This tale encompasses the thematic ideas of everlasting friendship as well as the unreachable American Dream. Steinbeck is able to integrate these topics brilliantly into a single novel, one that the reader will not put down until it is completed. The timeless themes within this book and the way they are presented are what truly sets it apart from any other cliché Western novel. Not only do George and Lennie, the protagonists of the novel, seek an undying friendship, but the other men working on the ranch, long for that same companionship. They all crave the brotherhood that results in fidelity to one another and an unspoken bond that can never be broken. Steinbeck flawlessly portrays his characters as they search for this ideal friendship. The author also successfully illustrates the unfeasibility of the American Dream. The reader is made aware throughout the book that almost every character has once envisioned themselves living an alternate life; one filled with absolute contentment and complete serenity. The fact that not a single character has attained their dream shows that the idealized American Dream is impossible to truly achieve. John Steinbeck does a phenomenal job in displaying the ambition and certainty that the characters possessed towards reaching their variation of the Dream, as well as the hopelessness and gloom they experience upon realizing the impossibility of it. The desires that John Steinbeck so eloquently incorporates into Of Mice and Men are timeless and easily relatable. Any reader can feel instantly connected to the characters and their struggles. This remarkable novel leaves the reader utterly captivated and with a sense that hopes and dreams may not be all that you can count on to get you through in life.
WalruzFlatz More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for my tenth grade English class. Generally I do not like stories that take place back in the day. However, I LOVED this novel. Maybe it was because it is so well known around the world. John Steinbeck created such amazing characters, and the events that occurred always kept me at the edge of my seat. I hated when the bell rang because I knew I would have to wait until the next day in class to see what would happen. Everyone should read this at some point. The movie was just as great, also!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love this book, it was highly recommended for me by my brother and all my teachers. It is a classic and i was happy to add it to my book shelf. it now holds a place in my heart. Currently, i am making all my friends read it and of the few who I've made read it so far, they absolutely loved it. It is a fantastic book i reccomened it to everyone.
AaronA More than 1 year ago
John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” is about two men; George Milton and Lennie Small who have gotten themselves ran out of town and have an idea in what they can do with their lives. This whole book is an adventure. Steinbeck uses “interesting” words but I was able to follow along with the book. Anyone who is a teen or older will enjoy the book. The only thing I didn’t understand sometimes is what the characters were saying at moments because they speak with a “country” vocabulary. Otherwise it was a short, fun, easy read. Good things about the book were that the whole book was enjoyable, adventurous, and kept you going. The book worked well for me because it was fast and easy, enjoyable, I didn’t have to read it for a month, (I like to read a book in a short period of time), and it is a great classic. The ending of the book did make me question it but the rest was fantastic. Even though ten dollars is a lot for only one-hundred-seven pages, it was worth it. If you are thinking of getting John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” you should do it.
PenguinLUV13 More than 1 year ago
More Men Not Mice This book is a tale of two unlikely partners on a journey to achieve that near dream. This book starts with these two men traveling to a shady brush to sleep. You then discover that they are going to work on a ranch. As they are trying to save money for their own little patch of heaven. “We’ll live off of the fatta the land” describes George in one chapter. As they plan to make money off of this ranch job, they meet a cast of misfit characters. There is the Bosses son and wife, who do not exactly roll out the welcome wagon. The cattle Slicker, who be-friends the pair, knows the ropes of the ranch. And the two older men, one of color and the other without a hand, are among the characters. Both are not as open. However, the older gentleman with one hand wants in on Lennie and George’s land. Steinbeck does a phenomenal job of revealing key details one at a time. This tactic helps builds suspense through the entire book. Jon Steinbeck ends with a riveting and jaw dropping twist that will leave readers wanting more, and may leave some in tears. There is George who is shorter, and he is the man with the plan. George has the brains of the pair. What he lacks in height he makes for in tolerance. For Lennie his partner and best friend is not the brightest apple on the tree. Lennie is very large and in charge as well. Although Lennie may not be all there his intensions are innocent. One of the many things I enjoyed in this book is Steinbeck’s ability to jerk my heart strings. Any time Lennie discusses holding, and feeding the rabbits it makes you feel the childish giddiness he is displaying. On top of that Jon Steinbeck has great use of imagery. How he describes how the characters look and walk and talk paints a self-portrait of each. The one downfall this book was entitled to was the style in which it was written. It can be difficult to understand what they are trying to say. This book, among many other classics written by Jon Steinbeck, is very worth your while. This book helped me view what it might be like to be the little guy back then. Instead of the riches I saw rags and felt bad for what they were put through, and what they had to put up with. Some of Steinbeck’s other great works I would recommend are the Grapes of Wrath, and The Red Pony. Both are very well written, and are very enjoyable as a leisurely read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written by Steinbeck. Does it need any more explanation to why it is great?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm entering 9th grade and this is an amazing yet depressing piece of literature. It starts out so hopeful, but at the end you realizes that everything is all crashing down. The ending was especially sad. Prepare to cry if you like the characters. On completely un related note, does anyone else find typin in a Nook is really hard? I wonder hiw reviewd with good grammar and spelling sre typed lol.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are two farmers, George and Lennie, whom are following their dreams.George and Lennie travel across the country by foot to follow their dreams. They need to find work, so they land on a farm to work. George looks after Lennie because he has a mental illness and acts like a 5 year old. He is a very nice man. There are many reasons they left town, read it to find out. They are very strong men to have traveled so far. They are almost like brothers. George definitely has to be strong to be able to take care of Lennie and the hardships they encounter throughout the novel.The hardships Lennie and George encounter are realizations of life. No matter what happens to any of us, time keeps turning. It is a sad novel, but describes thoughtfulness from George to Lennie throughout the book. I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Steinbeck has really outdone himself with this masterpiece. He portrays how misunderstanding people can be at times. He shows the true meaning of companionship within these two characters. They remain friends through the thick and thin as if they were brothers. I strongly urge you to buy this masterpiece.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I especially like the ending, which is sad but a cruelly realistic decision
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for home work but i enjoyed this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book @ my school in 7th grade. This book is very touching. I love love love the foreshadowing in this book. The language the characters use, is a bit much but, when I read it I just skipped the profanity. This book is very imsightful. A must read for ages 11 and up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of Mice and Men My name is Michael. I am a junior at Holt High School and had to read this book for my English class. Of Mice and Men is a book about two guys, who were best friends. Their names were George and Lennie. George was the normal one (his head worked fine) and Lennie was the slow one (his head wasn't all there). George looked after Lennie as Lennie looked after George. This book is about George and Lennie's relationship together and their life. In the book, George and Lennie go to work on a farm because they can make money and stay there. Lennie always keeps to himself but one day that doesn't work and something happens. Lennie runs away from the farm, but he's only followed. George is now stuck between his best friend and his own life. What will he choose to do? Some things I liked about this book are that it shows a strong friendship between two indivuduals and displays a strong sense of love they have for each other. Another thing I liked was George and Lennie never gave up and they never stoped believeing in owning their own farm someday. Another thing I liked was how George always put up with Lennie, no matter what Lennie did George never left him. Things I didn't like about the book was how Curley would always mess with Lennie and Lennie wouldn't do anything about it because he didn't know what to do. I also didn't like the fact that the black guy that worked on the farm had to sleep in the barn with the pigs where it stunk. That's not right. I recommend this book to kids because kids make fun of retarded kids in school all the time and its wrong. They are people, too, and deserve to be treated with respect and not be made fun of. This book starts off very boring but once you get into it, you will like it. This book is a sad story, but there's a feel good theme to it. I give this book five stars and recommend anyone to read it.
chase-95_riverside More than 1 year ago
This was a thrilling book about two men, Lennie and George, who are complete opposites and don't get along very well but do care about each other. It is George and Lennie's dream to buy a house and farm of their own but never manage to keep a job because Lennie always messes it up because he is mentally slow. They then find a job at a farm in California to work until Lennie starts to fall for a flirtatious woman. Will George and Lennie make their dream come true and buy their own house or will Lennie fall for this flirtatious woman and mess his and George's life completely up?
lauren01 More than 1 year ago
Of Mice and Men was assigned to me on my summer reading list and i absoltutely loved it i loved the symbolism with Curley's wife. and the foreshadowing with Candy's dog....you have to read it to know what im talking about...but this book has lots of detail and makes it very easy to see the plot and setting. I also thought the characters had great unique qualities and i also believe this book had great life lessons for all ages. It is a great read and you'll love it!
JayJay19 More than 1 year ago
I read this book in the 5th grade. Still can remember how good it was. The climax is riviting and exciting. Would recommend to anyone.
davidc0469 More than 1 year ago
As I have recently become a HUGE John Steinbeck fan finishing Grapes of Wrath and (one of the greatest books I've ever read) in East of Eden, Of Mice and Men did not let me down. Short by Steinbeck standards, the story takes place in depression era California with its 2 main characters George and Lennie trying to eek out a living working as farm hands until they save enough money to buy their own farm one day. George is the leader and calls all the shots and also looks after Lennie who while a huge man of great physical strength has the mind of a child and needs and relies on George as a father figure. The 2 men end up working on a farm and while they come very close to reaching their goals, Lennie while innocent in mind and heart ends up getting them back in trouble,one in which could lead to their downfall. The evil character in this story much like East of Eden is a female. The ending of the story is fantastic and again I had trouble putting this Steinbeck story dowm.I plan on reading his entire collection. With ALL the garbage that is on tv and the computer these days, thank goodness we can reach back to classics such as the writings of a John Steinbeck.
bookworm1522 More than 1 year ago
i had to read this book for my junior engligh class and write a paper about the feelings and emotions i experienced while reading this novel. as any student would do, i sighed and though oh great another one of those put you to sleep books that im just going to skim through. of mice and men was the complete opposite of what i took it for. i loved reading this book. just the story its self was incredable. i would defientaly go buy and read this book again. it is now one of my all time favorite books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book going into the ninth grade (We also had to read Three Cups of Tea, which I really thought was boring and Myths and Legends, which was childish). But this one was by far my favorite of the three. It was short and quick, but it teaches a lot about people, and the longing that people have for human interaction. The ending is very sad, but I really liked the characters. Even though the story plot is rather uneventful, I found myself never getting bored. So, good book! Not my absolute favorite, but a good one. No wonder it's a classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book back in highschool, at first it was a chore. The dialogue between characters was almost too irritating to read. Then I got past the first two chapters and I couldn't put the book down. Also, definately a tear jerker in the end. This book is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In order to be considered a classic, a novel must contain a message that transcends the constraints of time to be relevant in any period. It is no wonder, then, that Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is considered a classic. Set during the Great Depression, the novel's themes of friendship and the cruel nature of life are still applicable today. George and Lennie, the protagonists, travel together to find any work they can. Their friendship is remarkable due to the fact that George is a quick-witted person whereas Lennie is a kind-hearted man with the mind of a child and the strength of an ox. This unlikely pairing only strengthens the bond between the two, as George acts as a parent to Lennie. The two are faced with the daily struggles of the depression, along with the difficulties brought on by Lennie's simple-mindedness, which may not be problematic were it not for the unforgiving nature of mankind. It seems as if the world is set against George and Lennie, as they are kicked out of towns and forced to drift throughout the countryside. Even worse, the two men are plagued by the futility of their own existence. Like any drifters, George and Lennie dream of settling down on a piece of land they can call their own. However, the American Dream is an elusive thing to chase after, and it seems as if George and Lennie will never attain it. Although the sad undertones to this novel do not make for light reading, it is nevertheless a worthwhile read. Even teenagers stuck in English classrooms can relate to the struggles of George and Lennie to survive in an unforgiving world. More importantly, Of Mice and Men reminds us all of the true meaning of friendship; and that is a lesson not easily forgotten.
katy12 More than 1 year ago
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is a compelling narrative that provides numerous invaluable insights for its readers. The characters deal with the meaning of friendship, the obligations of loyalty, and the presence of cruelty while facing the everyday challenges of the Great Depression. George, a migrant worker, and Lennie, his simple-minded companion, travel around together looking for work. Lennie emphasizes the importance and uniqueness of their relationship by frequently asking George to retell the story of how they are different from other men because they have one another. Although Lennie has caused problems for George in the past, he has remained with Lennie, and they continue to dream of owning their own house and land, with rabbits because Lennie likes to pet soft objects. George and Lennie find work, and George tries to protect Lennie from the cruelty of the boss's son. With the aid of another worker, their dream seems achievable. However, a tragedy soon occurs, and George must make a difficult decision regarding friendship and loyalty. His poignant decision leaves the reader pondering their own definitions of friendship and loyalty. The themes presented in this novel are truly timeless. The choice that George makes would be as applicable to a modern relationship as a relationship set during the Great Depression, as their relationship is. Furthermore, people from all cultures, age groups, and time periods can relate to the need to decide what extremes one must go to in order to be a loyal friend. The importance and value of companionship also are relevant ideas to readers from any era. Cruelty, friendship, and loyalty will continue to exist as long as people continue to interact with one another. This captivating novel is essential for all people hoping to gain a better understanding of the complexities of human relationships. John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is an indispensable novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of Mice and Men By John Steinbeck The first time I read this book was when I was around 11. years-old. It was recommended by one of my older sister who thought I would enjoy reading a higher level of literature. For the most part she was right; I would have to read it again to understand something that had gone during the reading. But she had to return it back to the school library. The second time I read this book was obviously during this trimester, where I am 16. years-old and have read some moderately difficult books. But for the most part Of Mice and Men is a relatively easy book to read. If you can read the whole book in its written slang, that is, and understand how the characters feel. This book takes place somewhere between 1928 and 1938 in California. The book follows two guys that are bouncing from ranch to ranch to earn a decent wage. The brain of the two is a man called George who is stuck with a guy that is two feet taller than him. His name is Lennie, and he is, supposed by others, dumber than a rock. Lennie is always getting into trouble because of his curiosity of thing as well as always liking to touch things. So George has the burden to look out for his fellow friend on every job that they can get their hands on. The main scene of the story takes place on a ranch that is owned by a short, plumbed man whose son is a former hotshot boxer named Curley. He has a gorgeous wife that is always looking for a little fun; her prey is Lennie, who is easily seduced by her looks. From there the problem begins. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to read in a dialect. This book also has a movie that follows along almost exactly with the book if you do not feel like reading. I would give this book 5/5 for is addictive story that will keep you wanting to read. Plus it is a short book-107 pages, so for those that are looking for a short yet interesting story, Of Mice and Men would be the best option.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A classic in its own right. A story of two men trying to make their own way in life. Lennie who has a mind of a young child is cared for by George who is labeled as a small man. George and Lennie seem to always be on the road because Lennie does " bad things". Really it is people do not understand his thought process and Lennie does not know his own strength. For me it was a surprise ending as well. In all a good read.