Book Summary: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Book Cover

Of Mice and Men is a novel written by John Steinbeck, published in 1937. The story is set during the Great Depression in the United States and follows two men, George Milton and Lennie Small, as they struggle to achieve their dream of owning land. The novel explores themes of loneliness, isolation, and the pursuit of the American Dream.

Chapter Summaries

1. Introduction

The novel begins with an introduction to the two main characters, George and Lennie. George is a small, intelligent man who is responsible for taking care of Lennie, a large, mentally disabled man. George and Lennie are ranch hands who travel from job to job, working on farms and ranches.

2. The Dream

George and Lennie have a dream of one day owning their own piece of land. They imagine a small farm where they can raise animals and crops, and live a peaceful life away from the hardships of the Great Depression.

3. The Bunkhouse

The two men arrive at a ranch where they will be working. They are given a small room to sleep in, known as the bunkhouse. The other ranch hands are introduced, including Curley, the son of the ranch owner, and his wife, Curley’s wife.

4. The Pond

Lennie and George go to a pond on the ranch to fish. They meet Curley’s wife, who is lonely and desperate for attention. Lennie, who is innocent and naive, is attracted to her and begins to pet her hair. Curley’s wife becomes frightened and screams, causing Lennie to panic and accidentally break her neck.

5. The Aftermath

After killing Curley’s wife, Lennie runs away into the hills. George knows that they will never be able to achieve their dream now, and he goes to find Lennie to end his suffering. He finds Lennie by a river, and shoots him in the back of the head.

6. Conclusion

The novel ends with George returning to the bunkhouse, where he is confronted by the other ranch hands. He tells them what happened and then leaves the ranch, alone once again.

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Of Mice and Men is a powerful and poignant novel that explores the harsh realities of the Great Depression and the pursuit of the American Dream. The novel is a commentary on the isolation and loneliness that many people experienced during this time, as well as the struggle to achieve one’s dreams in a world that seems to be against you. The characters of George and Lennie are complex and fully realized, and their relationship is at the heart of the novel. Overall, Of Mice and Men is a classic work of literature that continues to resonate with readers today.

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