Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men

The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream--a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed...

Title:Of Mice and Men
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0142000671
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:112 pages

Of Mice and Men Reviews

  • Kemper
    Sep 22, 2007

    I needed a quick read because I stupidly forgot that the library would be closed yesterday for Veteran's Day. I'd exhausted my current supply, and I needed a short term fix to hold me until I could get some new product today. So I grabbed Of Mice and Men off the bookshelf last night.

    And I'm glad I did because I'd somehow remembered that this was a depressing book. How wrong I was! Oh, sure there were some tense moments like when you think Lennie will accidently hurt Curley's wife in the barn. Wh

    I needed a quick read because I stupidly forgot that the library would be closed yesterday for Veteran's Day. I'd exhausted my current supply, and I needed a short term fix to hold me until I could get some new product today. So I grabbed Of Mice and Men off the bookshelf last night.

    And I'm glad I did because I'd somehow remembered that this was a depressing book. How wrong I was! Oh, sure there were some tense moments like when you think Lennie will accidently hurt Curley's wife in the barn. What a relief when George and Candy come in at the last minute and stop anything bad from happening! And isn't it nice that the scare changes both Curley and his wife so that they have a much better marriage and new appreciation for each other.

    Plus, it leads to the great moment when Curley is so grateful that he fronts George, Lennie and Candy the money to finally buy the ranch of their dreams. Oh, and that last scene with George and Candy on the porch of their new home while Lennie tends the rabbits brought a tear to my eye.

    What's that you say? I got the ending wrong? No, I'm quite certain this is what happened. No! Be quiet! I can't hear you! LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA

  • Paul Bryant
    Sep 25, 2007

    The title of this novel is only 50% accurate, a very poor effort. Yes, it’s about men, but there’s little or nothing about mice in these pages. Mice enthusiasts will come away disappointed. This got me thinking about other novel titles. You would have to say that such books as

    and

    have very good titles because they are all about a slap, some help, a Gatsby who was really great, a no good granny, a woman who was married to

    The title of this novel is only 50% accurate, a very poor effort. Yes, it’s about men, but there’s little or nothing about mice in these pages. Mice enthusiasts will come away disappointed. This got me thinking about other novel titles. You would have to say that such books as

    and

    have very good titles because they are all about a slap, some help, a Gatsby who was really great, a no good granny, a woman who was married to a guy called Dalloway and a Hamlet. I have no problem with those titles. But you may be poring over the pages of

    for a long fruitless evening to find any mockingbirds coming to any harm at all. Indeed, to coin a phrase, no mockingbirds were harmed during the making of that book. So I rate that title only 5% accurate. And some titles seem to have a word missing, such as Conan Doyle’s

    . Four what? It doesn’t say. Perhaps he completed the book and left the title to the very last minute and died as he was writing it down. Same thing with

    White what? Wallpaper? Hat? Cat? Mouse? Mockingbird? Could be

    for all we know. A poor title. And what about

    ? I think

    or

    is clearly missing from that title. Another grossly misleading title is

    . I can’t be the only reader who was expecting some strong girl on girl action from DH Lawrence but I would have been better off fast-forwarding to the middle part of

    Now that’s what I call

    DH, take note. Another badly chosen title is

    - yes, it is 100% accurate, but at first glance it can look like

    , and surely that is going to put off a lot of potential readers (except for the readers you really don’t want).

    And what about

    ? – call what sleep?

    – sometimes obscure titles can be solved if you understand that the author is referring to Death, so, the Catcher is Death, the Postman is Death, the lawn is Death and the Parrot is Death. Of course, I may have got that wrong. It’s something I read somewhere and it just stuck in my mind.

    Some other titles I would give low ratings to :

    completely baffled me – I know that “screw” is what inmates call prison officers, so I was expecting a story about a concert put on by the staff of a large correctional institution. It was nothing like that.

    according to my system does rate 100% but I still think

    would have been better.

    – actually, I rate this as 90% accurate – there are two guys who are named Kavalier and Clay, and they do have adventures, but they aren’t amazing.

    – this must be a metaphor for “I have given up thinking of a title for my novel”

    – like

    this must be where the author couldn’t think of any title so in this case he left it without one, like the Byrds’ album

    , or

    by Sigur Ros, or several paintings by De Kooning and those other abstract expressionist types; but to call a novel

    is self-defeating, because

    then becomes its name – epic fail, Mr Collins.

    - this is another example of a word missing - possibly "took" or "dragged", I expect that's the sort of thing a violent bear would do I’m surprised the publisher did not catch this error.

  • Andy
    Jan 27, 2008

    It's the way Steinbeck describes things that gets me.

    "Crooks, the negro stable buck, had his bunk in the harness room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn. On one side of the little room there was a square four-paned window, and on the other, a narrow plank door leading into the barn. Crooks' bunk was a long box filled with straw, on which his blankets were flung. On the wall by the window there were pegs on which hung broken harness in process of being mended; strips of new leath

    It's the way Steinbeck describes things that gets me.

    "Crooks, the negro stable buck, had his bunk in the harness room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn. On one side of the little room there was a square four-paned window, and on the other, a narrow plank door leading into the barn. Crooks' bunk was a long box filled with straw, on which his blankets were flung. On the wall by the window there were pegs on which hung broken harness in process of being mended; strips of new leather; and under the window itself a little bench for leather-working tools, curved knives and needles and balls of linen thread, and a small hand riveter. On pegs were also pieces of harness, a split collar with the horsehair stuffing sticking out, a broken hame, and a trace chain with its leather covering split. Crooks had his apple box over his bunk, and in it a range of medicine bottles, both for himself and for the horses. There were cans of saddle soap and a drippy can of tar with its paint brush sticking over the edge. And scattered about the floor were a number of personal possessions; for, being alone, Crooks could leave his things about, ad being a stable buck and a cripple, he was more permanent than the other men, and he had accumulated more possessions than he could carry on his back."

    None of this is relevant to the story, and yet a middle chapter opens up with this vivid scene. Steinbeck succeeds because the characters he paints in your head are exact. The first time I saw the movie that was made out of this story, it was just as I had envisioned it. Though the story great itself, the reason I will come back to this book is for the little things, the very things that have made me love Steinbeck so much.

    I first read Of Mice And Men my sophomore year of high school, when it was a required reading in Mrs. Beeler's class. I recall disliking almost all required school readings up to this point (though admittedly I had skipped out on the summer reading project of "The Grapes Of Wrath"). When this book was assigned, I knew it was different. I blew through it, reading it in a day or two, even though I wasn't supposed to. For once there was a school book that I enjoyed. And all the credit in the world to my teacher, who chose other good books the rest of the year. So it's been 6-7 years since I've read this, and now, reading it for the second time, it's just as memorable as I remember. The story sticks with you, the imagery sticks. The characters are among Steinbeck's best, painted in such a crystal clear vision of the time.

    It's a near perfect short story, and one that I will surely revisit throughout my life.

  • Shayantani Das
    Jun 24, 2011

    Breathtaking prose, touching characters and a heart breaking ending. Who said only lengthy novel can make an impact?

  • Nataliya
    Mar 31, 2012

    Well, somehow I've managed to read close to 800 books by now, and none of those had been

    . That has been remedied now, and I'm feeling

    . So yeah.

    I was relatively 'unspoiled' and still knew what happened in the end. I just did not know how or why, but figured out those pretty quickly into the book

    Well, somehow I've managed to read close to 800 books by now, and none of those had been

    . That has been remedied now, and I'm feeling

    . So yeah.

    I was relatively 'unspoiled' and still knew what happened in the end. I just did not know how or why, but figured out those pretty quickly into the book

    I think that says something about the masterful writing - where the story takes over so much that you keep reading despite the clear sense of where it is going, without having to rely on suspense or twists - instead, going forward just on the impact of the story itself

    I used to work with Special Education kids some time ago. And I have seen first-hand what Steinbeck describes in

    -

    . The children we took care of - some of which topped my 5'3'' frame by a foot or so and outweighed me by a good hundred pounds (but despite that a few times I had to physically put myself on between them and a smaller child) - had, unlike Lennie, the society that is determined to protect them. They were luckier than poor George's charge. But I could not help but picture some of them, who have forever secured spots in my heart, in place of Lennie Small, feeling nothing but dread and sadness.

    And it was soul-crushing.

    I think the impact of this story was that it did not have me taking sides. I felt bad for Lennie. I felt awful for Curley's wife who does not even have a NAME in this story. I felt sad for George and what he had to do. And I felt bad for the whole bunch of men who had names and stories, and a woman who got one but not the other.

    And that's where this book lost stars for me.

    the unwilling almost-antagonist/victim of this story.

    It seemed that she was the one getting the blame, not as much the crazy volatile husband of hers. After all, she

    for trouble, didn't she? At least that's the nagging feeling I got from this story, from the way her character was handled, from the way it was repeatedly stated that a

    like her meant trouble for a man. Blame-the-victim mentality does not sit well with me, and I can't help but think that Steinbeck did that.

    .

    This book is definitely a classic with a profound impact on the reader,

    . It deserves the fame and recognition that it has enjoyed for quite a few years.

    (it would have been 4.5 stars, but for the literary treatment of Curley's wife).

  • Bookdragon Sean
    Feb 26, 2014

    I remember reading this at school at being completely uninterested in the story. I remember the teacher droning on about basic plot allegories before we read each section; she would tell us what certain things “meant” before we had even seen them. She would explain how this portrays a vital part of American culture and a vital element of human nature. All in all we were told what to see in the book before we even began reading.

    Perhaps she should have just let us read it first, and see what we t

    I remember reading this at school at being completely uninterested in the story. I remember the teacher droning on about basic plot allegories before we read each section; she would tell us what certain things “meant” before we had even seen them. She would explain how this portrays a vital part of American culture and a vital element of human nature. All in all we were told what to see in the book before we even began reading.

    Perhaps she should have just let us read it first, and see what we took from it before being told how to read it. I hated it at the time. I hated being told that passages meant certain things when clearly criticism is just speculation. This wasn’t effective teaching: it was being told how to think. She should have prized open our minds and made us engage with it more. When I approached it again years later I did so with more of an open mind, I was determined to find more in the book than I’d been taught to see.

    And I did. Lenny and George naively dream of the farm; they dream of a retreat where they can reside in friendship without having to answer to any master. They wouldn’t have to go to work; they can simply work for themselves. Running their own farm would mean that they are self-sustainable. They could grow crops for themselves and choose when they laboured: they would be free. Well George wants this. Lenny just wants a few rabbits to pet. The attractiveness of the dream draws in Candy, who is very old and very lonely. He doesn’t want to end up like his dog: put down because of his years. He wants someone to protect him and care for him in his advanced years. The three become united by this shared dream but it is nothing but fancy.

    Indeed, the American dream doesn’t exist in this book. Only harsh cold reality awaits the protagonists. Crooks, for all his cruel and understandable bitterness, was right in the end. The farm is just a dream. It is evocative of the loneliness within the human soul, and how we will always long for the impossible. It’s impossible because there is no sunset over the rainbow. Life doesn’t quite work like that. People don’t always get what they want. The world is a cruel unforgiving place here. This is embodied by Lenny; he is vulnerable and emotionally weak. He is completely unaware of the vicious strength he possesses. He never truly understands the situation. He almost walks through the world blind. The world he sees is different to that of everyone else’s.

    So this is a story about the outsiders, about the unloved and misunderstood. This a story about those that long for an alternative to the drudgery of standard human existence, but have their expectations cut short. This is a story about how we judge people based upon their appearance and how we label them unjustly. This is a story that Mary Shelley would have loved, a story where a character with an innocent heart is destroyed by the world he should have been accepted by.

  • Joe Valdez
    May 20, 2014

    What more can I possibly add to a discussion of John Steinbeck's

    without drawing a high school English teacher's salary? Considering I'm not drawing bored glances from teenagers, I doubt that a check from LAUSD will appear in my mailbox anytime soon.

    -- Published in 1937, this is the work that the Goodreads algorithms seem to have agreed is the author's most renowned. For Stephen King, it's

    , for Elmore Leonard it's

    and for John Steinbeck it's

    What more can I possibly add to a discussion of John Steinbeck's

    without drawing a high school English teacher's salary? Considering I'm not drawing bored glances from teenagers, I doubt that a check from LAUSD will appear in my mailbox anytime soon.

    -- Published in 1937, this is the work that the Goodreads algorithms seem to have agreed is the author's most renowned. For Stephen King, it's

    , for Elmore Leonard it's

    and for John Steinbeck it's

    .

    -- This is a novella, approximate length 34,720 words. I read it in under forty-eight hours.

    -- The story revolves around two ranch hands traveling the highways and ranches of California, looking out for each other and trying to build enough of a stake to put down on their own piece of land.

    -- George Milton is the small man, the thinker. Lennie Small is the child in a hulk's body. Walking ten miles to a barley ranch south of Soledad after a bus driver with a grudge drops them off on the highway far short of their destination, Lennie is fascinated by petting mice or rabbits or anything with a nice texture. Lennie has never laid a hand on George, enamored by the tales his traveling partner tells of the land they'll settle someday. When the men finally arrive for work, George does the talking.

    -- One of the reasons John Steinbeck is my favorite author is that when he pens description, I don't want it to end, and when he switches to dialogue, I don't want his characters to stop talking either. Stephen King's dialogue can be tin, while Elmore Leonard's attentiveness when it comes to prose is short spanned to say the least, but Steinbeck's descriptions and dialogue achieve a purity that captivates me. It's like the difference between drinking water from a garden hose that's been drying in the sun with who knows what crawling inside it and one day, someone hands you a bottle of Perrier.

    -- While most authors have been around people, with Steinbeck, I'm always left with the undeniable impression he watched and achieved a wisdom about people. Then he works that knowledge into his books and passes it along to the reader. I find myself able to relate to Steinbeck more than I can the majority of contemporary authors, who often seem to have never been around humans who dreamed, drank, lusted, got into fights or trouble with the law, fell out with family members or worried about where their next meal might come from.

    know

    -- For those joining late, I'm no English teacher, but if I encountered someone who was adamant that they didn't read fiction (I'm thinking men here) and I wanted to try to get them to change their attitude,

    would be the novel I'd hand them. It's short, it's about men and work and figuring out a better future and loyalty and how things don't always work out the way you dream they will. Yet the writing takes me away to another place. I couldn't last a day bucking barley or bucking a sack of anything, but as Steinbeck knows well, we all yearn to be on the open road, traveling, camping out on a river and maybe eating beans just because we felt like it.

    -- Lastly,

    has been adapted to film twice: a 1939 production starring Burgess Meredith as George and Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie and a 1992 film with Gary Sinise as George and John Malkovich as Lennie. Reading the novel, I heard Sinise's voice as George. As Lennie, I heard the Abominable Snowman from the 1949 Looney Toons short directed by Chuck Jones,

    . References to Steinbeck's novel have been dropped by a ton of cartoon series, perhaps as much a tribute to Jones as to Steinbeck, but the homage that stands out for me are the characters of Pinky and the Brain on

    .

  • Mariah
    Mar 15, 2017

    This is a story about George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States. George Milton is intelligent but uneducated and Lennie Small is extremely physically strong but mentally disabled.

    After being hired at a farm, the pair are confronted by the Boss's son who dislikes Lennie. Another worker on the farm offers to help pay to buy a farm with George and Lennie.

    This is a story about George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States. George Milton is intelligent but uneducated and Lennie Small is extremely physically strong but mentally disabled.

    After being hired at a farm, the pair are confronted by the Boss's son who dislikes Lennie. Another worker on the farm offers to help pay to buy a farm with George and Lennie. However, the next day Lennie accidentally kills his puppy while stroking it. After finding out about Lennie's habit, the farmer's wife offers to let him stroke her hair. When she starts to panic and scream Lennie becomes nervous and breaks her neck… This leads to a very tragic ending...

    Of course, when reading a classic novel I have to research the author and find out "more."

    This book was based on Steinbeck's own experiences as a bindlestiff in the 1920s. He got the title from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," which read: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men." (The best laid schemes of mice and men)

    I suggest this book to anyone that enjoys short classics that don't have happy endings.


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