Of Mice and Men
Title of Book: Of Mice and Men
Author: John Steinbeck
Setting: Shortly after the start of the Industrial Revolution (1930s), South of Soledad California
George Milton: One of the book’s main protagonists, guardian and best friend of Leinnie Small. Through his friendship with Leinnie, George is able to imagine a better future.
Leinnie Small: A mentally handicapped man (who makes up for lack of knowledge with sheer physical strength), who is George’s best friend and constant companion. He loves soft things and wishes to tend rabbits. Linne doesn’t realize his own strength, and end up breaking the neck of Curley’s wife. He is shot by George at the end of the novel, to save him a painful death by lynching.
Curley: Is the son of the ranch boss and could be considered the antagonist of the story. He used to be a semi-professional boxer, and likes to wear a glove filled with Vaseline (for reasons that I don’t really want to dive into). He is very protective of his wife, and ends up being very jealous of Leinnie. After lashing out at Leinne he has his hand crushed by him.
Candy: An older ranch hand, who happens to have one hand. Fearing that his age is making him useless, he seizes on George’s description of the farm he and Lennie will have, offering his life’s savings if he can join George and Lennie in owning the land. He has a very old dog, which is shot.
Slim: A "jerkline skinner," the main driver of a mule team and the "prince of the ranch". Slim is greatly respected by many of the characters and is the only character whom Curley treats with respect. His insight, intuition, kindness and natural authority draw the other ranch hands automatically towards him, and he is significantly the only character to fully understand the bond between George and Lennie.
Near the Salinas River in California, George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant farm workers, walk toward a ranch. George is quick and smart, while Lennie is huge, strong, and mentally disabled. As they make their way to the ranch, George often whines that his life would be so much easier without Lennie. But when Lennie offers to leave him, George refuses. They bed down for the night, and George describes the farm that he and Lennie one day dream of owning together. George also reminds Lennie of the trouble Lennie got into at their last ranch and tells Lennie that if he gets into trouble again, he should hide at this spot where they’re sleeping.
George and Lennie arrive at the ranch the next morning. There they meet Candy, an old handyman with only one hand, and the boss, who questions George and Lennie about their skills. The boss is skeptical when George answers for Lennie, but gives them work despite his suspicions. The men also meet Curley, the boss’s ill-tempered and violent son, and, later, Curley’s sexy wife, who likes to flirt with the ranch hands. Finally, George and Lennie meet Slim and Carlson. Slim’s dog has just given birth, and Carlson wants to replace Candy’s old, useless dog with one of the puppies.
After their first day of work, Slim gives a puppy to an overjoyed Lennie, and George tells Slim about what happened to him and Lennie at the ranch in Weed: Lennie touched a woman’s dress and the woman accused him of rape. Slim voices his appreciation of the deep and selfless friendship between George and Lennie. Carlson, meanwhile, convinces Candy to let him shoot his dog. Carlson takes the dog outside and shoots it in the back of the head to make sure it doesn’t suffer, but Candy still seems upset. When Lennie once again asks George to describe the farm they’ll someday own, Candy overhears and asks if he can help them buy it. A few minutes later, Curley enters and the other men tease him about his wife. Curley mistakenly thinks Lennie is also laughing at him, so he punches Lennie. Lennie doesn’t fight back until George says...
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