Of Mice and Men Summary

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck opens with a description of a beautiful clearing. Two men, Lennie and George, arrive. It becomes clear that Lennie has an intellectual disability and that George takes care of him. The men are travelling to work on a nearby ranch, but they have a dream of owning a piece of land and growing their own food in peace. 

They reach the ranch the next day, where they meet an older man, Candy. They also meet the boss’ son, Curley, who immediately dislikes Lennie and threatens him. Curley has a pretty, flirtatious wife. 

One of the other men, Slim, gives Lennie a puppy. George explains to Slim that they had to leave the last place they worked because Lennie stroked a girl’s dress and then got confused and wouldn’t let go. The girl accused him of rape and George and Lennie had to run away and hide. 

Later, Candy overhears George telling Lennie about their dream life. Candy reveals that he has some money he could put towards the scheme and asks to join them. George agrees. The other men come in and Curley starts a fight with Lennie. Lennie hits back, crushing Curley’s hand. 

While the other men are in town, Lennie and Candy visit the African-American man Crooks in his room. Candy tells Crooks about their dream of owning some land and Crooks offers to come with them. Curley’s wife comes in and starts mocking and threatening the three men. 

The next day, Lennie is in the barn. He is upset because he has accidentally killed his puppy by stroking it too much. Curley’s wife comes in and tells him about how she wanted to be an actress and how she doesn’t like her husband. She offers to let Lennie stroke her hair, but when she asks him to stop, he panics...

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