Of Mice and Men Book Summary

A Play

by John Steinbeck4


A compact tragic tale, 'Of Mice and Men' explores the dreams and companionship of two migrant workers during the Great Depression.

What is Of Mice and Men about

'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck is a poignant story set during the Great Depression, focusing on two displaced ranch workers, George Milton and Lennie Small. The novel delves into themes of dreams, loneliness, and companionship as the two men struggle to achieve their dream of owning a piece of land. Steinbeck's vivid portrayal of the harsh realities faced by itinerant workers and the enduring bond between George and Lennie offers a glimpse into the human condition amidst adversity.

Of Mice and Men 6 Key Takeaways

Introduction of George and Lennie

George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, are introduced. They dream of one day owning a piece of land and living independently.

Arrival at the Ranch

George and Lennie arrive at a new ranch to work. They meet various characters, including Curley and his flirtatious wife, as well as the kind-hearted Slim and the isolated Crooks.

Conflict with Curley

Tensions rise as Curley, the boss's aggressive son, picks on Lennie, leading to a violent altercation. Lennie’s strength is revealed to be both a blessing and a curse.

The Dream

George, Lennie, and Candy share their dream of owning a piece of land. The dream begins to seem attainable, offering a glimmer of hope amidst their hard lives.

Tragedy Strikes

Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife, leading to a manhunt. George, knowing Lennie's fate if caught, takes matters into his own hands to spare him from a worse end.


George shoots Lennie to save him from the mob. The novel ends on a somber note, highlighting the shattered dreams and relentless loneliness that pervade the lives of the characters.

Of Mice and Men Best Reviews

  • 'Of Mice and Men' remains Steinbeck's most popular work because it is so accessible and compelling, capturing both the Great Depression's essence and universal themes of friendship and struggle.

Top Of Mice and Men Quotes

  • 'Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place... With us it ain’t like that. We got a future.'
  • 'Tell me about the rabbits, George.'

Who should read Of Mice and Men?

'Of Mice and Men' is essential reading for high school students and anyone interested in American literature. The book’s exploration of dreams, friendship, and the human condition offers profound insights, making it a valuable read for those seeking a deeper understanding of the Great Depression era and its impacts.

About the Author

John Steinbeck (1902–1968) was an American author and Nobel Prize winner in Literature. His works often explored themes of fate, injustice, and the socio-economic issues of the working class. Among his most famous novels are 'The Grapes of Wrath,' 'East of Eden,' and 'Of Mice and Men,' each offering a vivid portrayal of American life during times of hardship. Steinbeck's ability to capture human resilience and dignity amidst suffering has cemented his place as a literary giant.

Of Mice and Men FAQs

What grade level is 'Of Mice and Men' for?

'Of Mice and Men' is frequently taught in the 9th and 10th grades, although its Lexile measure is 630L, which is lower than the typical reading demand for these grade levels.

What is the main focus of the book 'Of Mice and Men'?

The main focus of 'Of Mice and Men' is on dreams, loneliness, and companionship. It delves into the hopes and struggles of itinerant workers during the Great Depression.

Why is the book 'Of Mice and Men' so popular?

'Of Mice and Men' remains popular due to its poignant portrayal of a significant period in American history and its exploration of universal themes. Its translation into numerous languages and enduring relevance have contributed to its widespread acclaim.