What happens in Of Mice and Men? I need a whole Of Mice and Men summary.

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althair eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Of Mice and Men is a wonderful book to study in order to become a better reader of literature. A few key points to consider: 

1.The Title. Always devote some thought to what a title means and where it came from as well as where it might reappear in the text. For example, Hemingway used a line from the Bible for the title of The Sun Also Rises, Robert Frost used a quotation from Macbeth for the title of his poem, "Out, out--", Achebe used a line from a Yeats poem for his novel Things Fall Apart. In each case there is a thematic link between the source of the title and the main idea behind the author's work. Steinbeck uses a poem by Robert Burns called "To a Mouse." Can you find the parallel ideas that link this poem to this novel? 

2.Foreshadowing: In the opening pages of the novel, George is upset with Lenny for having killed a mouse. Given the title, where might the story be heading? A key skill of good readers is SPECULATION - - guesses about what is coming. 

3. Symbolism: In the climactic scene, George asks Lenny to look across the river and speaks in a manner that echoes Christian hymns about Heaven and the afterlife. 

If you can learn to think about titles and what they suggest or where they come from, speculate about what will happen and thus recognize Foreshadowing (you can even do this backwards and say "I should have realized that this would happen when______happened earlier), and become sensitive to the use of symbols, you will be well on your way to becoming a talented and perceptive reader!

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Scott Locklear eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A free and complete Of Mice and Men summary

Like much of Steinbeck’s work, Of Mice and Men is set in California—not among the cities of the Golden State but in the Salinas Valley where life is lived close to the earth. The setting is farm country south of Soledad, specifically on a ranch where itinerant field hands harvest the owner’s crops. George Milton and Lennie Small, the novel’s major characters, hire on at the ranch and soon find that it promises to be a place of conflict and turmoil. George knows that Lennie’s mental retardation and lack of impulse control will further complicate their situation. With no money and no prospects, however, they stay at the ranch to work. Eventually George and Lennie become victims of circumstances beyond their control, creating a series of events which leads to a tragic conclusion.

Chapter I

The sun is setting as George and Lennie prepare to camp for the night by the Salinas River. Tired and hungry, they are making their way on foot to a nearby ranch where jobs are waiting for them. They recently left jobs in Weed, quite suddenly, and slipped out of town before being apprehended for reasons that are not yet clear, although they relate to something Lennie had done. Lennie is a gentle giant of a man with the mind and emotion maturity of a young child; George, Lennie’s companion and caretaker, guides them through the world. Without George, Lennie could not survive in society.

George understands Lennie well and anticipates his erratic, childlike behavior. At the river, Lennie tries to conceal the dead mouse he carries in his pocket because he likes to stroke its soft fur; he can’t fool George, however. George takes the mouse and throws it away. When Lennie surreptitiously retrieves the mouse, George knows what he has done...

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Wiggin42 | Student

I've linked to a summary. You can also find other information such as themes, quotes, critical essays, and a brief analysis. The book itself isn't very long and you could always just read it. 

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amysor | Student

The whole summary can be found on the eNotes.com study guide, broken down chapter by chapter. It is a great book with wonderful themes. I do suggest actually reading it if time permits, my favorite book hands down.

Of Mice and Men is about a dynamic duo. Lennie and George are migrant farm workers in California during the 1930s. In the book, it writes about their experience in a farm they worked in. For the details scott-locklear did a great job breaking down the book chapter by chapter!

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