Of Mice and Men

Novel vs. Movie: Which is better?

1937: Author John Steinbeck writes the novel Of Mice and Men

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Of Mice and Men is a story about two men, George Milton and Lennie Small, who are living during the Great Depression. They have a bit of an odd relationship where the smaller and wittier George must look after the large and mentally slower Lennie as if he is a giant child. Together they try to attain their dream of working and owning a farm together one day and find a job at a ranch. There are ups and downs at the ranch as the pair come close to making a deal with Candy and owning part of the ranch, but Lennie's involvement with Curley's wife threatens the plan. Lennie can be a burden on George sometimes, but overall, George cares for his close friend and only wants to look out for him.

1992: Director Gary Sinise produces a film adaptation of the novel, and is also titled "Of Mice and Men."

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This film adaptation sticks closely to the original novel. We follow George and Lennie as they search through California for work during the Great Depression. They eventually find jobs on a ranch. Lennie finds himself in trouble when he gets involved with one of their coworkers wife. This jeopardizes George and Lennies dream of one day owning a farm together. Director and actor Gary Sinise stars as George and John Malkovich stars as Lennie. Other leading actors and actresses include Sherilyn Fenn as Curley's wife, Casey Siemaszko as Curley, and Ray Walston as Candy.

Novel Chapter 1: George throws away Lennie's mouse

This scene shows how George has to take care and of and reprimand Lennie like he is a young child.


"The hell with what I says. You remember about us goin' in to Murray and Ready's, and they give us work cards and bus tickets?" "Oh, sure, George. I remember that now." His hands went quickly into his side coat pockets. He said gently, "George... I ain't got mine. I musta lost it." He looked down at the ground in despair. "You never had none, you crazy bastard. I got both of 'em here. Think I'd let you carry your own work card?" Lennie grinned with relief. "I... I thought I put it in my side pocket." His hand went into the pocket again. George looked sharply at him. "What'd you take outa that pocket?" "Ain't a thing in my pocket," Lennie said cleverly. "I know there ain't. You got it in your hand. What you got in your hand- hidin' it?" "I ain't got nothin', George. Honest." "Come on, give it here." Lennie held his closed hand away from George's direction. "It's on'y a mouse, George." "A mouse? A live mouse?" "Uh-uh. Jus' a dead mouse, George. I didn't kill it. Honest! I found it. I found it dead." "Give it here!" said George. "Aw, leave me have it, George." "Give it here!" Lennie's closed hand slowly obeyed. George took the mouse and threw it across the pool to the other side, among the brush. "What you want of a dead mouse, anyways?" "I could pet it with my thumb while we walked along," said Lennie. "Well, you ain't petting no mice while you walk with me."


"You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?" "Give you what, George?" "You know God damn well what. I want that mouse." Lennie reluctantly reached into his pocket. His voice broke a little. "I don't know why I can't keep it. It ain't nobody's mouse. I didn't steal it. I found it lyin' right beside the road." George's hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand. "I wasn't doin' nothing bad with it, George. Jus' strokin' it." George stood up and threw the mouse as far as he could into the darkening brush, and then he stepped to the pool and washed his hands. "You crazy fool. Don't you think I could see your feet was wet where you went acrost the river to get it?" He heard Lennie's whimpering cry and wheeled about. "Blubberin' like a baby! Jesus Christ! A big guy like you." Lennie's lip quivered and tears started in his eyes. "Aw, Lennie!" George put his hand on Lennie's shoulder. "I ain't takin' it away jus' for meanness. That mouse ain't fresh, Lennie; and besides, you've broke it pettin' it. You get another mouse that's fresh and I'll let you keep it a little while." Lennie sat down on the ground and hung his head dejectedly. "I don't know where there is no other mouse. I remember a lady used to give 'em to me- ever' one she got. But that lady ain't here." George scoffed. "Lady, huh? Don't even remember who that lady was. That was your own Aunt Clara. An' she stopped givin' 'em to ya. You always killed 'em." Lennie looked sadly up at him. "They was so little," he said, apologetically. "I'd pet 'em, and pretty soon they bit my fingers and I pinched their heads a little and then they was dead- because they was so little. "I wisht we'd get the rabbits pretty soon, George. They ain't so little."

Watch the Same Scene from the Film

Of Mice and Men (1/10) Movie CLIP - Lennie's Dead Mouse (1992) HD

Evaluation of Which is Better: Film or Novel?

After analyzing and comparing the film and the novel, I have decided that I like the film better. In the film "Of Mice and Men," director Gary Sinise did a great job of portraying the same scene depicted in the novel. He stays true to the novel's intent. Much of the dialogue is word for word, and so in that way, it helps keep the true personality of all the characters. I think that the film is better because it allows you to visually see the story as well as hear the same dialogue that is in the novel. In this particular scene, you are really able to see the difference between Lennie and George. You are also able to see how Lennie can be a handful at times, and how George still cares about him. Although the tale "Of Mice and Men" are portrayed in two different medias, both the film and novel convey the theme of love for a friend and supporting each other through difficult times.