Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men Book Cover Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck
Historical Fiction
Penguin Group
1993
Print
103
2014 Arthur Z


REVIEW: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

THE STORY:

George Milton and Lennie Small, two alienated men, journey through the lonely country of Soledad, California during the Great Depression in hopes of earning enough wages to fulfill their dream of obtaining their own property. Thousands of lonely men wander America, and few people genuinely care for each other. Life is difficult for Lennie and George, as they are forced to move around constantly because of Lennie’s mental disability, his desire to pet soft objects. George, a stocky and thoughtful man, takes it upon himself to care for Lennie and guide him through the unforgiving world that they live in. However, despite his best efforts, it transpires that it is not enough to keep Lennie from causing strife among others. In one particular incident, Lennie reflexively feels a girl’s dress and frightens her. She screams that Lennie is attempting to rape her, and Lennie and George are forced to flee and hide from their searchers in an irrigation ditch. Despite all of the troubles Lennie has caused, George perseveres in helping him because he understands that Lennie never harms anybody on purpose. He acts like an innocent boy that has been encased in the body of a brawny man. Throughout the story, George motivates Lennie to refrain from doing wrong by promising him that they will one day own a plot of land filled with soft animals that Lennie can pet and take care of. However, hundreds of men dream of settling down and owning their own land as well, but the temptations posed by the world halt all of them. Unfortunately, Lennie and George will face the same dilemma, and it may prove too much for them to handle.

 

MY OPINION:

This story’s plot is interesting throughout the novella. The setting is in a ranch, so many references are terms used by farmers and cowboys. The novella spent most of the time introducing and describing the personalities of characters. Generally, the vocabulary is simple and contains forthright statements. Because of this, the character’s personalities are clearly represented by what they say, but large parts of their character must be analyzed through their actions. Steinbeck shows the life of average men during the Great Depression well. Because of the struggles, dreams, and status of different types of people, the story seemed more realistic and intriguing. Although the story remained peaceful, certain decisions and actions done by characters kept the story riveting. Despite containing uncomplicated language, I would recommend this book to people who are thirteen and above because it requires the ability analyze the actions of characters coherently. Since there were many positive attributes there are in this book, I would recommend reading it and rate it nine out of ten stars.

STUDY QUESTIONS AND VOCABULARY:

FIRST SECTION

1. Why does Lennie always kill mice? (pg.9)

1a. He enjoys petting furry creatures, but he squeezes the mice when they bite his finger. By doing this, he accidentally kills them.

2. Why does George want to avoid leaving Lennie? (pg.13)

2a. George does not want to be like the other ranchers and have no one care about him. They take care of each other, and it makes them feel as if they belong in the world.

3. Why does Curley treat Lennie coldly? (pg. 26)

3a. He is a little guy that dislikes tough guys because he is jealous of their size. Unfortunately, that is why he seems scrappy when he talks to Lennie

4. Why does George tell Lennie to avoid Curley’s wife? (pg. 32)

4a. Curley’s wife is “jailbait”. In other words, she offers nothing but trouble to any man who talks to her.

5. What does Curley keep in his glove and why? (pg. 30)

5a. Curley keeps vaseline in the glove in order to keep his hand soft for his wife.

despair (pg. 4)

brusquely (pg. 8)

morosely (pg. 11)

cesspool (pg. 21)

ominously (pg. 25)

 

MIDDLE SECTION

6. Why did George stop playing jokes on Lennie? (pg. 38)

6a. One day, George told Lennie to jump into the Sacramento River. Obeying George like usual, Lennie jumps in. Because of his inability to swim, he nearly drowned.

7. What do the workers on the ranch symbolize? (pg. 39)

7a. Answers will vary. The ranch can be thought of as the world. The workers represent the different kinds of people. Lennie is an “innocent” person that though is strong, is easily manipulated by those he trusts. George is a person will just morales. This is shown because George cares for Lennie and his well-being despite not receiving any compensation for his actions except with companionship.

8. What are Lennie and George planning to do? (pg. 50)

8a. They are planning to buy their own plot of land to live in.

9. Why does Candy want to join George and Lennie if they purchase their own land? (pg. 57)

9a. Candy feels that he man soon be relieved from the ranch because of his disability. More importantly, he is seeking companionship since his dog died.

10. Why is Crooks surprised when Lennie decides to befriend him? (pg. 66)

10a. Usually the other white workers never want to talk to Crook because he is African American.

rheumatism (pg. 42)

hoosegow (pg. 53)

subsided (pg. 55)

reverently (57)

fawning (65)

LAST SECTION

11. Why has Crooks become aloof? (pg. 69)

11a. Since Crooks is African American, none of the other white workers, besides Slim, talk to or work with him. This has made him lonely and resentful of others.

12. Why does Crooks doubt that Lennie and George will save up enough money to buy their own land?

12a. He has witnessed a myriad men who lose their dreams of owning a plot of land because of the temptations in the world. Crooks suspects the same thing will happen to George and Lennie as well.

13. Why do all of the men on the ranch, besides Curley, refuse to talk to Curley’s wife? (pg. 70-76)

13a. There are not any women in the town, the ones in the whorehouse, and Curley’s wife. The whores in the town offer and are treated as sex objects. Curley’s wife may also be looked upon as a sexual object, but all she offers is trouble.

14. What differs George and Lennie from the other men in the world? (pg. 99-100)

14a. George and Lennie will always have each other, unlike the other men on the ranch and in the world. They will continue to love each other no matter what the other does.

15. How is Carlson different from George (Answers located throughout the book)

15a. Answers will vary. When Carlson pulls the trigger to kill Candy’s dog, it is not because he loves his dog, but because the stench is unbearable and Candy is too reluctant to do it. In the end, George pulls the trigger on Lennie because of the danger that he poses to everyone else. He does not want anyone to harm Lennie for reasons that Lennie will not understand. So he shoots Lennie out of love and worry for him.

halter (pg. 77)

crestfallen (pg. 78)

lynched (pg. 89)

monotonous (pg. 99)

jarred (pg. 102)

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