Of Mice and Men


Dublin Core


Of Mice and Men


Adult Fiction


The storyline follows George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the US. George is an intelligent but uneducated man, and Lennie is a man of large stature and great strength but limited mental abilities who is attracted to soft things such as rabbits fur. The two were driven out of their old town because Lennie was accused of attempted rape when he wanted to touch a woman's soft dress and would not let go. The two dream of one day owning their own land together. They find work together on a ranch, which quickly turns out to be a dangerous situation. Curly, the ranch's owner's son, is particularly aggressive to Lennie. His wife becomes flirtatious with Lennie, which also poses problems. The two also meet Slim, a kind ranch worker whose dog has just given birth to puppies, one of which Slim gives to Lennie. However, Lennie accidentally kills the puppy while stroking it, unable to control his strength. George's and Lennie's dream of owning their own ranch seem like they will almost come true when Candy, an elderly ranch-hand, offers to pitch in money if they allow him to live on the land with them. Their dreams are dashed, however, when Lennie accidentally breaks Curly's wife's neck after she lets him stroke her hair but becomes frightened by his strength. Curly intends to brutally kill Lennie because of this. George and Lennie meet off the ranch, where George retells Lennie of the happy lives they all live when they own their own ranch, knowing that it is something they won't share. George then shoots Lennie in the back of the head so that his death will be painless and happy.

The book has been challenged and banned because it allegedly promotes euthanasia, contains racial slurs, is anti-business, contains profanity, and for generally containing vulgar and offensive language.


John Steinbeck


New York: Penguin Books









John Steinbeck, “Of Mice and Men,” Special Collections, accessed July 17, 2024, https://archive.fims.uwo.ca/specialcollections/items/show/110.