Of Mice and Men

By, Isaiah Pollitt

Summary

Of mice and men follows a pair of migrant field workers in California as they move South from Weed to work on a ranch in Soledad. The novella navigates between the everyday realities of George Milton and Lennie Small—humongous in stature, well-meaning, but with limited mental capacity—and their dream of settling down on their own ranch, a dream that seems all the more tempting for its impossibility.

“A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick.” (Steinbeck14).

Theme analysis

George and Lennie may have a little dream of owning a farm, but they don't get very far with their to-do list before it all crumbles in heartbreaking failure. As Crooks points out, all ranch hands dream of owning their own farm; its their version of having two kids and a white picket fence. unfortunately, white picket fences are in short supply during the Great Depression.

author bio

John Steinbeck was the third of four children and the only son born to John Ernst and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. His father was County Treasurer and his mother, a former schoolteacher. John graduated from Salinas High School in 1919 and attended classes at Stanford University, leaving in 1925 without a degree. He was variously employed as a sales clerk, farm laborer, ranch hand and factory worker. In 1925, he traveled by freight from Los Angeles to New York, where he was a construction worker. From 1926-1928, he was a caretaker in Lake Tahoe, CA. His first novel, "Cup of Gold," was published in 1929. During the 1930s, he produced most of his famous novels ("To a God Unknown," "Tortilla Flat," "In Dubious Battle," "Of Mice and Men," and his Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Grapes of Wrath").