I have never read this book before, and I have to read it for school in a couple of weeks. Can someone give me the main overview of the book?
Did you like it? Dislike it? What's the main idea of the book?
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This book is a rather quick read and it tells the story of Lennie and George, two migrant workers in the early part of the 20th century. Lennie somewhat mentally handicapped. His inability to control his urges to pet soft things is what has driven him and George from job to job. They have found a new job and have dreams of one day earning enough money to buy their own ranch. Lennie's dream is to take care of the rabbits on their new land.
Unfortunately, Lennie underestimates his strength again and disaster strikes, driving the two men from their new job. I won't spoil the ending for you.
I enjoyed reading the book; Steinbeck takes an interesting look at the dynamics of friendship and loyalty, especially between men, during this rough period of time. If you need any more information, check out the links below.
The novel is set during the Great Depression and takes place in California. The story focuses on two men, Lennie, a large mentally handicapped man who loves to pet soft things, and George, a small man who is the mental leader of the two. At the beginning of the novel, Lennie and George have been run out of the town of Weed because Lennie frightened a girl. They travel to a ranch and get a job bucking ( loading) barley. Both Lennie and George have a dream of owning their own farm someday and during their stay at the ranch the dream seems almost possible. The rest of the novel examines the dreams of both Lennie and George, and the dreams of other people on the ranch. Most students seem to enjoy the novel. It's easy to read, short and has an interesting plot. I think you'll like it. Be prepared for an unusual ending..
One is that it is short. The brevity of the novel is one of the reasons it is so good. Steinbeck is succinct.
Another reason I love to use it is because it's great for dealing with issues of learning disabilities and mental retardation and intelligence. Students get a better understanding and sense of compassion from this novel.
The author seems to defeat his own purpose. He is showing how hard it is for a working man to own his own little plot of land and live in peace. But he makes one of the main characters mentally retarded and potentially dangerous, which is atypical. If both George and Lennie had been normal bindle stiffs with a dream of owning a little farm, they could have easily fulfilled their dream, especially with Candy being willing and able to contribute a large part of the purchase price. Maybe Steinbeck made this such a short novel and ended it so abruptly with George killing Lennie because he couldn't think of what else to do with it. The circumstances are too unusual. Lennie is a retard who likes to pet pretty things, including pretty girls! Curley's wife is pretty and completely immoral. The best parts of the novel are the realistic descriptions of the lives of working men of this type. Steinbeck could have devoted some space to describing the actual work they did outdoors. They do long, hard outdoor labor, but most of the action takes place within bunkhouses and barns. It is almost like a play, with just a few sparsely furnished interior sets.
I remember liking Of Mice and Men when I read it back in high school, which was a nice surprise, as I am not a fan of American literature in general. I think the element of the book I liked the most was how George and Lennie interacted with each other. I think previous posters did a nice job of giving you an overview, and I see this is an old question, so as far as that part of the question is concerned, I thought I would provide the eNotes link to the study guide. Anyone who might be in the same position as the person who posted this question and is looking for tips about the book can look over a few summaries, gain a little insight into the types of characters found throughout the story, and other such information that might help give a little preview of what to expect upon reading the book. http://www.enotes.com/topics/of-mice-and-men
Of mice and men was a very touching story it's one of the few American novels that take a different path on the life of an American. It has a horrible ending that was foreshadowed but unexpected at the same time. Lennie was a man with a disability that had no one to care for him after his aunt died but she leaves George to care for him. They go from town to town working on different farms trying to get by in life. Lennie gets in trouble often because he doesn't think about what he does leading to them having to run away. He causes a lot of trouble in George's life and George ends up having to shoot Lennie because they where going to kill him anyways after strangling a woman.
What makes this such a strong novella is the depth of characterization that Steinbeck achieves so quickly. By the end of the novel, you will truly feel like you've come to know and understand many of the characters in the story. This is absolutely a worth-while read for so many different reasons. I could count the number of my former student who didn't enjoy this story on one hand.
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