Of Mice and Men

By: John Steinbeck

Novel Summary

Lennie and George are best friends with the same dream of owning their own ranch and working on it. Lennie is a big childlike man who is a little slow in the head and loves to pet things. George on the other hand is a sophisticated man who wants everything done right and keeps losing jobs because of his friend lennie. Lennie is obssessed with petting things and he usually kills them because of his uncontrolable strength, the men meet Candy, the old, crippled swamper; the boss’s arrogant son, Curley, who is always ready to fight; and Curley’s new wife, who is pretty and flirtatious. One night when Lennie goes to check on the dog Lennie went to pet his puppy and Curley's wife comes in and lets Lennie carress her hair and when she tried to getbhim to stop he panics and breaks her neck. Then George claims he has to kill Lennie and does.

Theme Analysis

The theme in this story is a lesson of human existence which says that all of the characters in the story have felt loneliness and isolation. They all just wanted a friend and Lennie couldn't have one because he would hurt them or kill them. All of the characters in the story have agreed that they have felt this way before.

Character Development

Significant Quote from Novel


"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. . . . With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us"

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. He dropped out of college to work as a manual laborer. After dropping out of Stanford, Steinbeck tried to make it as a freelance writer. He had good success as a writer and he was an award winning writer. Steinbeck passed away on December 20, 1968.