of Mice and Men Summary

"Of Mice and Men" is a novella written by John Steinbeck and published in 1937. Set during the Great Depression in the United States, the story revolves around two main characters, George Milton and Lennie Small, who are migrant ranch workers searching for employment in California.

George is a small, intelligent man who acts as Lennie's caregiver and protector. Lennie, on the other hand, is a large, mentally disabled man with a childlike demeanor. Despite his immense strength, Lennie lacks understanding and control over his own actions, which often leads to unintentional harm.

George and Lennie have a dream of owning their own piece of land, where they can live independently and tend to their own crops and animals. This dream serves as a source of hope and motivation for both characters throughout the story.

The duo arrives at a ranch near Soledad, California, where they meet various other characters, including Candy, an old ranch-hand with a disabled hand, and Curley, the boss's aggressive and confrontational son. George and Lennie's arrival causes a stir among the ranch workers, who are intrigued by their companionship and friendship.

Lennie's fascination with soft things, particularly mice and rabbits, becomes a recurring theme in the story. Despite George's warnings, Lennie inadvertently kills several animals due to his uncontrollable strength. This foreshadows a tragic event that unfolds later in the narrative.

Lennie's innocence and mental disability attract the attention of Curley's wife, who constantly seeks companionship and flirts with the ranch workers. One day, while George and the other men are away, Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife when she allows him to stroke her hair. Fearing the consequences of Lennie's actions, George realizes that they can no longer evade the law and decides to take matters into his own hands.

In the final scenes, George makes a difficult decision to spare Lennie from a potentially worse fate. He tells Lennie their dream once more, reassuring him of their friendship, and then shoots him in the back of the head, offering him a peaceful and painless death.

The novella concludes with the other ranch workers discovering the tragedy and George's emotional turmoil. The story highlights the themes of friendship, dreams, loneliness, and the harsh realities faced by the marginalized individuals during the Great Depression.

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