Of Mice And Men Summary,Characters,Themes & Synopsis [John Steinbeck]

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TitleOf Mice and Men
AuthorJohn Steinbeck
PublisherCovici Friede
Page count107
Publication Year1937
GenresNovella, Fiction, Tragedy
Setting1930s, during the Great Depression in California, USA

Of Mice And Men Characters

The main characters of “Of Mice And Men” are:

  1. George Milton – A small, intelligent man who takes care of Lennie and dreams of owning his own piece of land.
  2. Lennie Small – A large, mentally disabled man with a childlike demeanor and a fascination for soft things.
  3. Candy – An aging ranch hand with a missing hand who becomes invested in George and Lennie’s dream.
  4. Curley – The boss’s aggressive and insecure son, who frequently picks fights.
  5. Curley’s Wife – A lonely woman trapped in a loveless marriage on the ranch.
  6. Slim – A skilled mule driver and respected figure on the ranch who becomes a confidant for George.
  7. Crooks – An isolated African-American ranch hand who faces racial discrimination.
  8. Carlson – A ranch hand who owns a Luger pistol.

Of Mice And Men Themes

The themes of “Of Mice And Men” are:

  1. Friendship – The relationship between George and Lennie highlights the power of companionship and mutual support.
  2. Dreams – The characters’ aspirations, such as owning a piece of land, serve as a driving force throughout the story.
  3. Loneliness – The characters struggle with isolation and the difficulty of forming meaningful connections.
  4. Discrimination – The novella touches on racial and gender-based discrimination, particularly through the characters of Crooks and Curley’s Wife.
  5. The American Dream – The desire for a better life and the pursuit of happiness, as embodied by George and Lennie’s dream of owning land.

Of Mice And Men Synopsis

Of Mice and Men is about two friends, George and Lennie, during the Great Depression. Lennie is big but not smart, and George takes care of him. They find work on a ranch, hoping to buy their own land someday.

They meet other workers with dreams, like Candy and Curley’s wife. But Lennie’s strength causes trouble, leading to a sad ending. The book shows how tough life was back then and how dreams can be hard to achieve.

Watch Full Novel Summary of “Of Mice And Men” on YouTube

Of Mice And Men Summary

Lennie and George, two migrant workers, were dropped off a bus miles far from the California farm where they were supposed to begin work. George is described as having “sharp, strong features.” His partner, Lennie, is his polar opposite, a behemoth with a “shapeless” face. Thirsty, the two come to a halt in a clearing near a pool & decide to camp for the night. As the two talk, it becomes evident that Lennie has an intellectual impairment and is completely committed to and reliant on George for protection and advice.

George discovers that Lennie, who enjoys cuddling soft things but frequently kills them by mistake, has been carrying & stroking a dead mouse. George screams and tosses it away, terrified that Lennie would acquire a sickness from the dead animal. Although George moans loudly that his life would be simpler if he didn’t have to care for Lennie, the reader gets the impression that their friendship and affection are mutual. He and Lennie have a desire of purchasing their plot of land, cultivate it, and raise rabbits, much to Lennie’s joy. George finishes the night by telling Lennie a narrative about what life will be like in such a beautiful area.

The men report at the adjacent property the next day. George, fearful of how the boss may respond to Lennie, insists on doing all of the talking. He lies, claiming that they travel frequently because they are cousins while denying that Lennie was kicked in the head by a horse when he was a youngster. They have been employed. They encounter Candy, an elderly “swamper,” or handyman, who has a lost hand and an elderly dog & Curley, the boss’s scheming son. Curley is a newlywed who is protective of his flirty wife and filled with envious mistrust.

Curley’s wife comes and flirts with George and Lennie when they are alone in the bunkhouse. Lennie believes she’s “purity,” but George tells Lennie to keep away from her because of the danger she may get into with this woman and her husband. Soon after, the ranch men arrive from the fields for lunch & George and Lennie encounter Slim, the talented mule driver with enormous authority on the property. Slim remarks on the rarity of friendships like George and Lennie’s. Carlson, another ranch hand, advises that because Slim’s dog has recently given birth, they should give Candy a puppy and shoot Candy’s old, useless dog.

The following morning, George tells Slim that both of them are not relatives, but have been pals since they were children. He describes how Lennie frequently gets them into problems. For example, they were forced to abandon their last work after Lennie attempted to touch a woman’s garment & was accused of rape. Slim agrees to give one of his babies to Lennie, while Carlson continues to urge Candy to kill his old dog. Candy gives in when Slim agrees with Carlson, adding that death would be a great respite for the ailing animal. Carlson offers to conduct the job painlessly before guiding the dog outdoors.

Curley, who is madly seeking his wife, rushes to the barn to confront Slim. Candy listens to George and Lennie talking about buying land and offers his entire life money if they would let him live there as well. The three agree not to tell anybody else about their scheme. Slim comes to the bunkhouse, chastising Curley for harbouring such fears. Curley seeks down Lennie and provokes a fight with him, looking for an easy target for his rage. During the fight, Lennie smashes Curley’s hand. Slim threatens Curley that if he attempts to dismiss George and Lennie, he would become the farm’s laughingstock.

The majority of the males go to the local brothel the next night. Crooks, the lonely Black stablehand & Candy are left with Lennie. Curley’s wife flirts with them and refuses to leave until the other guys have returned home. She observes the cuts on Lennie’s face and assumes that he, rather than a piece of machinery, is to blame for her husband’s injuries. This idea amuses her.

The following morning, Lennie kills his dog inadvertently in the barn. Curley’s wife comes in and comforts him. She acknowledges that life with Curley has been a letdown and wishes she had pursued her ambition of being a movie star. Lennie tells her that he enjoys touching soft things, and she agrees to let him stroke her hair. She screams as he holds her too tightly. In his attempt to hush her, he fractures her neck by mistake.

Lennie rushes to a pool of the Salinas River which George had specified as a rendezvous spot in case either of them got into difficulties. George joins Lennie as the guys back at the ranch learn what has transpired and form a lynch party. George, much to Lennie’s surprise, is not upset with him for doing “a bad thing.” George proceeds to inform Lennie about the property they would be sharing. The sound of the oncoming lynch party becomes stronger as he recounts the bunnies that Lennie will care for. George accidentally shoots his pal in the back of the skull.

When the other guys arrive, George tells them that Lennie had the pistol and that he wrestled it away from him before shooting him. Only Slim realizes what has truly occurred, that George has murdered his friend out of kindness. Slim comforts him as he walks away, leaving the other guys perplexed.

The ending of the novel is both tragic and merciful. It is tragic because George has to kill his best friend, but it is also merciful because George saves Lennie from a terrible fate.

The ending is also significant because it highlights the themes of the novel, such as the plight of the working class, the fragility of the human dream, and the importance of friendship.

Here is a quote from the final scene of the novel:

George raised the gun and steadied it, his hand as firm as a rock. He closed an eye and took a deep breath. Lennie smiled back at him. “Sure, George. Go on, George.” George sighed. He lowered the gun and pulled the trigger.

George’s actions at the end of the novel are both an act of love and an act of mercy. He loves Lennie too much to let him suffer, and he knows that Lennie would never be able to survive on his own.

Of Mice And Men FAQs

What is the main point Of Mice and Men?

Of Mice and Men is about two friends, George and Lennie, who dream of a better life during the Great Depression. Their struggles with hopes and challenges show the importance of companionship and the difficulties of achieving dreams.

Is Of Mice and Men Based on a true story?

No, “Of Mice and Men” is not based on a true story

What is the message at the end Of Mice and Men?

At the end of “Of Mice and Men,” the message is about dreams and friendship. George helps his friend Lennie escape from a difficult situation, showing the importance of looking out for each other.

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