Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


John Steinbeck was born in California in 1902. His books focus mainly on people who struggle to fit in. His most famous book,The Grapes of Wrath, earned him a Pulitzer Prize in Literature. He was also awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in literature. Of Mice and Men is a story of friendship, hardship, and the American Dream.


Lennie Small: One of the main characters, he is a big, strong migrant worker who is basically retarded. He needs someone to take care of him. All he cares about is getting a farm where he can take care of some rabbits.

George Milton: George is like the opposite of Lenny. He is small and smart. George is a migrant worker too, and he looks after Lenny. He has big dreams of owning a farm one day, and "living off the fat of the land."

Slim: A tall thin guy who is really quiet. He is a Ranch hand on Curley’s farm, and everyone likes him because he’s a nice guy. Everyone listens to Slim and thinks of him as a wise man.

Carlson: A ranch hand who is the opposite of Slim. Carlson is a big fat guy who is a jerk. He’s really insensitive.

Candy: An old ranch hand who is missing a hand. Candy isn’t very useful on the farm anymore because he is so damn old. His best friend is his dog.

Crooks: A black guy who works in the stables. Crooks is an outcast and knows that people discriminate against him because he’s black.

Curley: The son of the boss, this guy is a big jerk. He’s mean to everyone and doesn’t pay attention to his wife at all.

Curley’s Wife: This woman is weak. She married Curley and stays with him even though he treats her like shit. She dresses up in sexy clothing and wears slutty makeup around the ranch workers.

The Boss: No, not Bruce Springsteen. This guy owns the ranch. He appears for a short while to talk with George and Lennie. He doesn’t look like the ranch hands since he dresses much nicer.


These two migrant workers named George and Lennie, are on their way to a manual labor job at some ranch, and they stop to spend the night before their job starts. They have been traveling together for a long time, and Lennie is the mentally challenged one who always gets them into trouble. One thing that gets him into trouble is that he likes to touch soft things like animals, or a woman’s dress. He once touched a woman’s dress and they got fired from their job. So that night they eat dinner and George tells Lennie about the new job and how he shouldn’t do anything bad. Then Lennie talks about his dream of owning a ranch and tending rabbits. Throughout this whole book all Lennie talks about are tending to his damn rabbits.

The next day they go to the Ranch and meet Candy and his dog. Candy tells them about the ranch and what their jobs are. Then George and Lennie meet the boss. The Boss is mad that they missed the morning shift. George then lies to the Boss and tells him that they got wrong directions. The Boss talks to them and is very suspicious of Lennie because he appears to be a big idiot. George yells at Lennie later because he came across as a big idiot.

Then Curley (the son of the boss) walks in and meets the two guys. Curley tries to start a fight with Lennie. Then George tells Lennie to stay away from Curley. Then Curley’s wife walks in looking like a big whore. Nobody likes her except for Lennie. George tells Lennie to stay away from her, too. Lennie wants to leave because he hates the ranch but George wants to stay until they make enough money to buy their dream farm.

Then Slim walks in. He talks to Lennie and George about them traveling together then he tells everyone his dog just had puppies. Slim and Carlson talk about killing Candy’s old dog and giving Candy a puppy. Then George asks if Lennie can have one of the puppies.

Later that day Slim and George talk, and George tells him that Lennie is retarded and that he takes care of Lennie. Then when everyone is together, Carlson begs Candy to let him kill the dog because Carlson wants to. Carlson shoots the dog in the back of the head. Then Candy listens to George and Lennie talk about their plans for their dream ranch. Candy wants to be a part of it and offers them money for the project. Curley walks in and can’t find his wife. Curley sees big Lennie smiling (because he’s thinking about his damn rabbits) but Curley thinks that Lennie is making fun of him. So Curley starts to fight him and Lennie fights back and crushes Curley’s hand.

Later that night George and the others are at a local whorehouse. Back at the ranch, Lennie is talking to Crooks, the black guy, in Crook’s house. The Candy walks in and tells Crooks about Lennie’s "ranch dream." Then Crooks wants to be a part of it. Then Curley’s wife walks into Crooks’ place and talks to everyone. Then George comes home and is mad because Lennie told the others about their dream.

The next day, Lennie is handling the puppy, but because Lennie is big and doesn’t know any better, he accidentally breaks the puppy’s neck. Then Curley’s wife comes into the barn and finds Lennie trying to hide the dog. They talk and Lennie tells her he likes soft things. So she invites him to touch her hair. Once again, big, stupid Lennie touches her too hard, she screams and then in a panic he snaps her neck. Then Lennie runs. Candy finds the body and he and George talk about their dreams for a ranch. George steals a gun and goes looking for Lennie. Curley wants to lynch him but George wants to just have him killed painlessly.

Lennie returns to the river where they spent the night in the beginning of the book. George doesn’t yell at him too hard. They talk about the ranch and the rabbits one last time, then George tells Lennie to look across the river. Then George shoots him in the back of the head. When the others arrive they create a story of a struggle between Lennie and George. Then everyone goes back to the ranch.