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Of Mice and Men


Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - Summary

Author: John Steinbeck
Published: 1937
Genre: Fiction, Tragedy


"Of Mice and Men" is a poignant tale that explores themes of friendship, dreams, and the harsh realities of life during the Great Depression in America. The novel is renowned for its vivid depiction of the struggles faced by itinerant workers.


  • George Milton: A small, wiry, quick-witted man who travels with, and cares for, Lennie.
  • Lennie Small: A physically strong man with a mental disability, deeply dependent on George.
  • Curley: The aggressive son of the ranch owner.
  • Curley's Wife: A lonely woman, seeking attention from the ranch workers.
  • Slim: A highly respected and competent skinner at the ranch.
  • Candy: An aging ranch hand.

Plot Summary

The Dream

George and Lennie, two displaced migrant ranch workers, dream of owning their own piece of land. Lennie's fascination with petting soft things and his lack of understanding of his own strength sets the stage for the novel's climax.

Work on the Ranch

The duo finds work on a ranch, where they meet other characters, each with their own dreams and disappointments. Lennie's interactions with Curley and his wife create tension and foreshadow tragic events.

The Tragedy

Lennie's accidental killing of Curley's wife and his subsequent death at the hands of George, who seeks to spare him from a worse fate, form the tragic conclusion, highlighting the futility of their dreams.


  • The Fragility of Dreams: The novel explores the vulnerability of the dreams of the disenfranchised during the Great Depression.
  • Friendship: The bond between George and Lennie represents the importance of companionship.
  • The Predatory Nature of Human Existence: The book illustrates how people can be predatory, either intentionally or unintentionally.


"Of Mice and Men" remains a powerful exploration of the human condition, portraying the enduring themes of friendship, dreams, and the often brutal reality of life.