Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck

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Overview

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression
 
They are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, 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 of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

"A thriller, a gripping tale . . . that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick." —The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140177398
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/1993
Series: Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 281
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).

After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.

Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.

The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata! (1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.

Date of Birth:

February 27, 1902

Date of Death:

December 20, 1968

Place of Birth:

Salinas, California

Place of Death:

New York, New York

Education:

Attended Stanford University intermittently between 1919 and 1925

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

When John Steinbeck accepted his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, he described the writer's obligation as "dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement." For some critics, that purpose has obscured Steinbeck's literary value. He has been characterized variously as an advocate of socialist-style solutions to the depredations of capitalism, a champion of individualism, a dabbler in sociobiology, and a naturalist.

While evidence for different political and philosophical stances may be culled from Steinbeck's writings, a reader who stops at this point misses some of the most interesting aspects of his work, including his use of paradox. "Men is supposed to think things out," insists Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. "It ought to have some meaning" (p. 55). But in this epic novel, as well as in Of Mice and Men and The Pearl, Steinbeck seems to question whether the mysteries of human existence can ever be fully explained. In these works that span the grim decade from 1937 to 1947, Steinbeck urges the dispossessed to challenge a system that denies them both sustenance and dignity, and to seek the spiritual belonging that enables individuals to achieve their full humanity. So we have the paradox of the author apparently denouncing injustice while also exalting acceptance of the sorrows visited on humanity, whether those sorrows are wrought by nature or by humans themselves.

All three books examine the morality and necessity of actions the characters choose as they pursue their dreams. The poor fisherman Kino in The Pearl dreams of education for his son and salvation for his people. We first meet him in the dimness before dawn, listening to the sounds of his wife, Juana, at her chores, which merge in his mind with the ancestral Song of the Family. "In this gulf of uncertain light [where] there were more illusions than realities" (p. 19), the pearl that Kino finds lights the way to a more just world and the end of centuries of mistreatment by white colonizers. But the promise of wealth manifests the archetypal evil hidden in the community's unconscious, like the pearl that had lain hidden in its oyster at the bottom of the sea. As the dream turns dark, Kino descends into violence, bringing death to four men and ultimately to his own son. What other choices might he have made? This parable raises questions about our relationship to nature, the human need for spiritual connection, and the cost of resisting injustice.

Steinbeck's most controversial work, The Grapes of Wrath, raises similar questions. During the Dust Bowl Era, three generations of the Joad family set out on the road, seeking a decent life in fertile California and joining thousands of others bound by an experience that transforms them from "I" to "we" (p. 152). Cooperation springs up among them spontaneously, in sharp contrast with the ruthlessness of big business and the sad choices made by its victims, for whom "a fella got to eat" (p. 344) is a continual refrain. Casy, the preacher turned strike leader, wonders about the "one big soul ever'body's a part of" (p. 24).

On their journey to the promised land, the characters in The Grapes of Wrath confront enigmatic natural forces and dehumanizing social institutions. Casy is martyred as he takes a stand for farmers who have lost their land to drought and are brutally exploited as migrant laborers. His disciple Tom Joad, who served time for killing a man in a bar fight, ultimately kills another man he believes responsible for Casy's death. Tom's passionate convictionexpressed in his assertion that "wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there" (p. 419)stirs our sympathy; but his dilemma, like Kino's, requires us to ask whether taking a human life can ever be justified.

The Grapes of Wrath and The Pearl are also linked by their female characters and the questions they raise about gender roles and family identity. In The Pearl, Juana's "quality of woman, the reason, the caution, the sense of preservation, could cut through Kino's manness and save them all" (p. 59). Is this quality most responsible for the return of the pearl to the sea at the end of the novel? Like Juana, Ma Joad is "the citadel of the family" (p. 74). As the remnants of the Joad family seek refuge in a barn at the close of The Grapes of Wrath, Ma's daughter Rose of Sharon nurses a starving stranger with milk meant for her dead baby. This final scene of female nurturing offers a resolution while also disturbing our long-held ideas about family.

Steinbeck departs from this depiction of women in Of Mice and Men. Confined to her husband's home, and never given a name in the novel, Curley's wife functions almost as a force of nature, precipitating the events that wreck the men's "best laid schemes," as poet Robert Burns wrote. Whereas the women in The Grapes of Wrath and The Pearl suggest hope even in the bleakest of circumstances, Curley's wife leaves only shattered dreams in her wake.

Of Mice and Men tells a tightly compressed story set during the Great Depression. George and Lennie, drifters and friends in a landscape of loners, scrape by with odd jobs while dreaming of the time they'll "live on the fatta the lan'" (p. 101). Lennie has a massive body and limited intelligence, and his unpredictable behavior casts George as his protector. The novel is peopled with outcastsa black man, a cripple, a lonely woman. The terror of the consequences of infirmity and old age in an unresponsive world is underscored when a laborer's old dog is shot. Is Lennie's similar death at the hands of his protector, with his dream before his eyes, preferable to what the future holds for him? Nearly all the characters share in some version of the dream, recited almost ritualistically, and in their narrow world it is pitifully small: "All kin's a vegetables in the garden, and if we want a little whisky we can sell a few eggs or something, or some milk. We'd jus' live there. We'd belong there" (p. 54).

The ending appears to be at odds with Steinbeck's explicit exhortations for social change in the other two novels. In Of Mice and Men, he seems to appeal to a higher form of wisdom in the character of Slim, who does not aspire to anything beyond the sphere he occupies. His "understanding beyond thought" (p. 31) echoes Rose of Sharon's mysterious smile at the end ofThe Grapes of Wrath.

From the questions his characters pose about what it means to be fully human, Steinbeck may be understood to charge literature with serving not only as a call to action, but as an expression and acceptance of paradox in our world. "There is something untranslatable about a book," he wrote. "It is itselfone of the very few authentic magics our species has created."


ABOUT JOHN STEINBECK

John Steinbeck's groundbreaking and often controversial work, with its eye on the common people, earned him both high praise and sharp criticism. In addition to his novels, Steinbeck produced newspaper and travel articles, short stories, plays, and film scripts.

Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck spent much of his life in surrounding Monterey county, the setting for some of his books. His experience as a young man working menial jobs, including as a farm laborer, ranch hand, and factory worker, was transformed into descriptions of the lives of his working-class characters. After attending Stanford University intermittently for six years, Steinbeck traveled by freighter to New York, where he worked briefly as a journalist before returning to California.

His first novel, Cup of Gold, appeared in 1929, but it was Tortilla Flat (1935), his picaresque tale of Monterey's paisanos, that first brought Steinbeck serious recognition. Of Mice and Men (1937) was also well received. The Grapes of Wrath (1939), a book many claim is his masterpiece, was both critically acclaimed and denounced for its strong language and apparent leftist politics. Always shunning publicity, Steinbeck headed for Mexico in 1940, where he made The Forgotten Village, a documentary film about conditions in rural Mexico. He spent the war years as a correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, for which he later toured the Soviet Union in 1947; he also wrote the novel The Moon Is Down (1942), about Norwegian resistance to the Nazis.

Steinbeck's other notable works of fiction include The Pearl (1947), East of Eden (1952), and The Winter of Our Discontent(1961). He also wrote a memoir of a cross-country trip with his poodle, Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962). Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. He died in New York in 1968. His work stands as testament to his commitment to "celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit."


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  1. Why does George "take so much trouble for another guy" (p. 21)?
     
  2. Why does George shoot Lennie?
     
  3. Why is the dream recited repeatedly?
     
  4. What does Slim mean when he says, "A guy got to sometimes" (p. 102)?
     
  5. Why does the book begin and end at the pond?
     
  6. Why does Candy feel he should have shot his dog himself?
     
  7. Is Curley's wife to blame for Lennie's death?
     
  8. Why doesn't Slim share in the other men's dreams?
     
  9. Why does Carlson get the last word?
     
  10. What is the meaning of the book's title?

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
  1. Did migrant workers have any options for a better life?
     
  2. Did George do the right thing by shooting Lennie?

RELATED TITLES

The Grapes of Wrath

John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (1925)
The alienating effects of capitalism, technology, and urbanization are portrayed in this montage of life in New York City.

Tomás Rivera,... y no se lo trag— la tierra/... (And the Earth Did Not Devour Him) (1971)
A seminal work of Latino literature, these thirteen vignettes embodying the anonymous voice of "the people" depict the exploitation of Mexican American migrant workers.

Émile Zola, Germinal (1885)
The striking miners in this nineteenth-century tale of class struggle are cast as the victims of both an unjust social system and their own human weaknesses.

The Pearl

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
Winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this novella tells the story of an old fisherman's endurance as he pursues, captures, and ultimately loses a great marlin.

D. H. Lawrence, "The Rocking-Horse Winner" (in The Woman Who Rode Away and Other Stories) (1928)
This fablelike short story follows a boy to his tragic end as he desperately tries to respond to his family's obsession with money.

Of Mice and Men

Frank Norris, McTeague (1899)
In this pioneering naturalistic novel set in California, a man of large physical but small intellectual powers pursues a dream beyond menial tasks, but is corrupted by "civilization."

Leo Tolstoy, "Master and Man" (in Master and Man and Other Stories) (1895)
The relationship between a greedy landowner and his gentle laborer undergoes a dramatic change in this novella when the two are trapped in a snowstorm

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Of Mice and Men 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1322 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.