Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
George Milton and Lennie Small, two friends on their way to work on a farm, are very different men. Lennie is tall and strong but is simple-minded, whereas George is small but intelligent. They both share a dream that one day they will have their own farm. They find work on a farm but things start to go wrong from the start. The boss’s son, Curley, is an aggressive little man who takes an instant dislike to Lennie. He hits Lennie in the face whereupon Lennie crushes his hand in a vice-like grip. Curley’s wife is a pretty but lonely and flirtatious woman. One day she mistakenly encourages Lennie to touch her hair. Lennie panics when she starts to scream and accidentally kills her.
He then hides in the woods to wait for his friend George, who always helps him in times of trouble. George arrives, and as the two men discuss their farm dream one more time, George shoots Lennie in the head.
Strength and weakness: Lennie is a physically strong man but he is emotionally and intellectually weak. He does not even realize how strong he is and always forgets the most important things and remembers the least important things. George is the opposite. Curley, because he is a small man, always challenges big men to fights, in an attempt to appear a stronger man.
Loneliness: Many of the characters in this story suffer from loneliness for different reasons. Crooks because he is black and has to live away from the other men,
Candy because he is old and not a useful worker anymore, Curley’s wife because the men ignore her as she represents danger and Curley because none of the men like him.
Friendship: Lennie trusts George and George is a good friend to him. George looks after Lennie and gets him away from the trouble he causes through being a simple-minded giant. At the end, George wants to take Lennie’s life instead of leaving him to the mercy of the rest of the men, and possibly because Lennie has become too much
of a liability and might kill again.Shattered dreams: Lennie’s and George’s dream of
becoming independent is another strong theme in this story. The poor ranch hands, like so many poor Americans, dream of one day having a better life, a better
future. These men want to share their dreams with each other. A dream needs to be shared. And so just before George kills his friend, they share their dream together
– one last time. Curley’s wife also had dreams of being in the movies but her dream was shattered when she married Curley. Curley probably dreams of being bigger man, but knowing this to be impossible, attacks bigger men to prove
About the author
American novelist, story-writer, playwright, and essayist, John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. His first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929. He
first received real popular acclaim for his novel Tortilla Flat in 1935. Of Mice and Men (1937) and his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Grapes of Wrath (1939) concerned
the plight of America’s dispossessed rural population, during the Great Depression. The Red Pony (1937) is another of his finest works. His last major novel The Winter of Our Discontent was published in 1961. Of Mice and Men was made into a movie in 1939 and 1992. Other Steinbeck novels that have been made into movies include Tortilla Flat, The Grapes of Wrath, The Red Pony, The Moon is Down, Cannery Row and East of Eden. Steinbeck was married three times, had two sons by his second wife, and
died in New York City in 1968.
" I remember my grandfather reading this book, THere's one in his house. I'm surprised I read it. It´s not the kind of book I´d choose to read . But i loved it! (Julia)
" I don't like reading. What interested me was when the teacher talked about this book with so passion that I was curious. You know? Very good book. And the film is amazing! "
Would you invent a different end for the story? Why ? Why not?
Julia: No! I feel sorry for the sad end but life is not happy all the time, is it?
Lucas: Yes! The book is so sad that it should have a happy end. I don't know how , but they could find a place like what they dreamed...and peace...