“Of Mice and Men” is a novel by one of America’s most famous and influential authors, John Steinbeck. Steinbeck often wrote about lower to middle class people in his works such as one of his most popular works,”Grapes of Wrath”. In “Of Mice and Men” this is no different. This story centers around two men, George and Lenny, who are migrant workers looking for their next job, their end goal (which is brought up a lot) is for the two men to have their own farm where Lenny tends to the rabbits, because of his love for soft things. George is like a brother to Lenny, keeping him out of trouble and making sure he doesn’t cause any. Lenny, is a large, strong man who is unintelligent and child like. Lenny, doesn’t know his own strength and has accidentally smothered animals while petting them. The two arrive at their new job as ranch hands. While working there, they meet the fellow workers which include Slim, Crooks, Carlson, Candy, and the boss’s son Curley. The two men seem to get along with these characters except for one, Curley. Curley, is a small man who becomes very jealous whenever someone even looks at his wife, which Lenny does. Despite the size difference, Curley attempts to pick a fight with Lenny, this altercation results in Lenny breaking Curley’s hand and causing Curley to hate the two strangers. *SPOILERS* The story goes on and not many major events occur until the incident with Lenny and Curley’s wife. Curley’s wife is a very beautiful woman who beings to talk to Lenny in the barn about her life and regrets. Since the incident with Curley earlier, George tells Lenny not to talk to Curley’s wife. Lenny attempts to do so but she pushes him to speak to her. Before she had arrived, Lenny was petting a puppy which he smothers from hugging and petting too much and too roughly. Lenny shows the concealed puppy to the wife in which she makes him feel better by telling him the insignificance of the breed. Lenny explains that he loves petting soft things, which is something the wife has in common with him. She tells Lenny to feel her hair, which is very soft. As he does this, he pets to hard, causing her to start yelling at him to let go, the yelling frightens Lenny causing him to hold onto her tighter and cover her mouth to stop the yelling. In doing this Lenny kills the wife. Once one of the stagehands find the body in the barn, Lenny and George are forced to flee the ranch. The two end up at a small river bank where Lenny is sitting on the grass and George is standing directly behind him. Lenny asks George to tell him about their dream land. While George does this, he pulls out a pistol he had taken from another ranch hand and shoots Lenny in the back of the head. The others hear the shot and arrive shortly after where George denies the murder and goes of with Slim to grab a drink. *END SPOILERS*
I remember reading this story as a kid in probably fifth grade and not really seeing it as a deep or emotional story. The main thing that caused me to return to this work was when I watched the 1992 film adaptation with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise as Lenny and George. I included the trailer so you could get a basic feel of the story. The story hit me on a completely different level especially the final scene ( LINK CONTAINS SPOILERS). The story is about friendship, brotherhood, and decision. Lenny and George are trying to make it out of the menial labor they are forced to perform and live out comfortable lives. All Lenny wants in his life is to have a farm with George and tend to the rabbits.
“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s
This quote sums up the relationship of the two men in this works which makes the ending even more hard hitting. I’m very glad I revisited this work because my childish mind couldn’t comprehend and understand what this story was truly about. I recommend this book to whoever enjoys Steinbeck’s works, sad books, and very loving stories.
“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck 186 pages.