What happened in the beginning of the book--please give a 30 line summary about it.Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men opens with two solitary men stepping off a bus on a solitary and worn path. They traverse this road until they come to a wooded area that Steinbeck describes in lyrical detail: the peaceful banks of the Salinas River, the graceful sycamores, the water that is

warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight.

(It is ironic that this scene is the same scene with which the novella will end.) There, on the riverside, the smaller man, George Milton, tells the other man, Lennie Small that they will camp there for the night and then go to the ranch where they will begin work on the following morrow.

While they relax, George notices that Lennie has a dead mouse that he has drawn from his pocket, a mouse that Lennie has retrieved from a brush pile into which George had thrown it.  Childishly, Lennie cries when George takes it again; so, George promises him a new mouse. This behavior of Lennie's reminds George of what a burden the childlike man is.  When complains of how much easier his life would be if he were on his own, Lennie offers to go off on his own.  George retracts his statements and tells Lennie they must stay together.  For, together they have meaning; they have a dream of owning their own farm, where they can raise their own food and animals, such as rabbits for Lennie.  Dreamily, Lennie asks George to tell him again about their dream.  As George recites the dream, the almost-prayerful recitation lulls them both to sleep before a dying fire on the banks of the river in a picturesque scene which seems timeless.