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Of Mice and Men is the story of George and Lennie who are struggling to find work during the Great Depression. Lennie is mentally handicapped, and he is fascinated by soft objects. Because of this fascination, at his last job, he was accused of raping a woman for touching her soft dress.
George and Lennie have a hard time finding jobs, but they finally get a job at a ranch in California. Things go well for a while, but then Lennie accidentaly kills the wife of the boss' son while trying to comfort her. George and Lennie have to flee, being pursued by a mob. George knows that Lennie will be killed if the mob catches them, so he decides to kill Lennie himself, which he does.
The major conflicts in the story are between George and the boss' son, between George and Lennie, and between all the characters and the struggle of surviving during the Great Depression.
John Steinbeck puts two characters together that society has rejected and they form a solid friendship. Lennie, the simple giant, who depends on George for everything from his food to finding him a job and keeping him out of trouble, and George who pretends that Lennie is a burden, but who needs him just the same. The story picks up when the two get jobs at a ranch and immediately raise suspicion when George does all the talking for Lennie.
"It is in this setting that we first meet Steinbeck's two protagonists, George Milton and Lennie Small. George is "small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features." Lennie is "his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders."
The central aspect of the story revolves around Lennie and George's relationship, their special bond, Lennie's mental handicap and George's sense of brotherhood toward him.
When Lennie, who does not realize his own strength, accidentally kills Curley's wife, because Lennie likes to pet soft things like his mouse, the puppy he accidentally kills and finally Curley's wife's hair, George acts to protect him.
As a way of saving him from a savage lynch mob, George kills his friend out of mercy.
After Lennie's death, George is lost and lonely, heartbroken at the loss of his friend.
the teachers are right with the plot, but i think they missed the big picture with the major conflicts. try and think about the book as a whole and look at man vs. himself and man vs. society
when curley was hitting lennie was a conflict in the story the conflict was man vs. man
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