Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

Book - 1994
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression

A Penguin Classic

Over seventy-five years since its first publication, Steinbeck's tale of commitment, loneliness, hope, and loss remains one of America's most widely read and taught novels. An unlikely pair, George and Lennie, two migrant workers in California during the Great Depression, grasp for their American Dream. They hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

Of Mice and Men represents an experiment in form, which Steinbeck described as "a kind of playable novel, written in a novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands." A rarity in American letters, it achieved remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films. This edition features an introduction by Susan Shillinglaw, one of today's leading Steinbeck scholars.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 1994, c1965.
ISBN: 9780140186420
Branch Call Number: STEIN
Characteristics: xxviii, 105 p.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 17, 2021

The story, Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck follows the journey of two very different men, George and Lennie, who are moving from one place to another to find jobs during the Great Depression. George is a smart and dependable person although small in size while Lennie is big in size but childlike and depends on George as his father. They find jobs on a ranch and wish for the American Dream that was oh so famous to come true for them, but Lennie’s behavior may just be their downfall. Read more of this story to find out what happens to their American dream and what happens to Lennie and George in terms of their relationship and money status. The story is a realistic reflection of life during the Depression, and it is both a fun and poignant read about their journey. I recommend this story to teens and adults who want a glimpse of life during the 1920s and the hardships at that time.

Mar 31, 2021

Somehow I managed to unintentionally avoid reading Of Mice & Men for years.

I know this is a bit sacrilegious, but I have to admit that I wasn't necessarily impressed. Nothing really stood out to me as being especially remarkable. It was just... a book. I understand why it's a cultural touchstone when considering both the time and place it was written/published, but it certainly doesn't feel particularly profound when read through a more modern lense.

Regardless, I'm glad I read it (if for no reason other than checking it off a list of classic novels it seems I should read).

Feb 05, 2021

Of mice and men is a novel that takes place during the Great Depression involving two migrant workers, George and Lennie. They struggle to keep a stable job because of Lennies’ mental disability, he is unable to think as most do which causes him to get into unintentional trouble. When he gets into trouble they are forced to flee and find jobs elsewhere. This novel has a lot of deeper meaning represented by their new workplace at a ranch. In the ranch, we see representations of racism, sexism, ageism, and discrimination against those with disabilities. We also learn about how the American Dream is unachievable by many for various reasons and the uniqueness in society. This book is average, the beginning is pretty boring but as the plot thickens we get more interested. I think this book wouldn’t be as interesting to me if my English teacher didn’t assist us in understanding the deeper meaning of this novel. Overall this is an okay book and I wouldn’t strongly recommend this book.

Jan 25, 2021

Of Mice and Men is a thought-provoking novel by John Steinbeck that explores sacrifice, ignorance, loneliness, and the reality of the American Dream. The book follows the small but smart George Milton and the big but small-brained Lenny Smalls. They work as migrant farm workers hoping to scrape up enough money to buy themselves a plot of land so they can run their own farm. But of course, life doesn’t always go as you planned. They arrive at a new farm after some trouble Lenny caused that ended up costing them their previous job.

The book is amazing with its use of interesting and deep character scenes and not to mention the metaphors present within the story. The book does a great job investing its readers in the place and time it takes place in (Salinas, California, During the Great Depression). The book handles its story and pacing very well and constantly leads the plot in an unexpected direction. It makes you care about the character’s dreams, happiness, and ambitions in only 107 pages and it leaves you with a thought-provoking conclusion. This book was a good read all the way through and if you read this in school as I did, I recommend a second read so you can fully take in the experience that is Of Mice and Men.

4 out of 5 stars, For ages +13

Jan 21, 2021

A beautifully written exposé on the inevitable failure of the American dream, Steinbeck uses his detailed imagery and heart-wrenching metaphors to slowly build the story of "Of Mice and Men." The story explores the lives of two unlikely partners, Lennie Smalls and George Milton. Lennie's huge body and proportionally small mind paired with George's impatient yet sympathetic personality prove to be the perfect combination to chase the American dream of 1922: having their own farm, animals, and giant house. The pair decide to work at a ranch to save up as much money as possible and find some friends who share their dream along the way. However, the Great Depression does not take it easy on this optimistic couple. Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" is a realistic, shocking account of how the American dream is just a great ruse.

Jan 05, 2021

Why does "add a comment" trigger people into reciting a book report filled with spoiler alerts?
I have no idea and wish they'd stop it.
Did you like the book? Absolutely. It's probably my favorite of Steinbeck's at the moment.
Would you recommend it to other readers? Very much so.
Would you say it was worth your time? Yes.

Dec 28, 2020

Of Mice and Men is a book, written by John Steinbeck, on the life of the men
in laboring class. This book takes place on a ranch and shows how the lives of
working men were like. In this book, Steinbeck shows a loss of dreams and hopes,
because people will have hopes and dreams but the majority of the people are not
able to achieve them, because they lack or have something that prevents them from
achieving their dream or even having hope. I liked how realistic this novel was, but
it was sad and a little depressing. I would only recommend this book to anyone who
wants to read a book that is very realistic and practical.

Oct 17, 2020

Steinbeck describes the time two men George and Lennie share together as they search for a job as migrant workers during the Great Depression. Lennie has an intellectual disability, which causes him to behave like a man-child, despite his gigantic size. They find work on a ranch and as they work, Lennie becomes entranced by the looks of the owner’s daughter-in-law and becomes involved in an incident that threatens to destroy George and Lennie’s hopes and dreams. This novel would be a compelling read to those who seek a deeper understanding of the reality of the Great Depression or anyone who wants an emotional yet peaceful read.

Aug 20, 2020

In Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, the two main characters, George and Lennie, undergo a series of struggles but continue to persevere in order to fulfill their dreams of owning land. Lennie, a lazy and unintelligent character who always manages to cause problems, keeps George searching for jobs all over the state of California. Although Lennie proves only to be a hindrance to George, George decides to partner with him because he feels pity towards Lennie. George and Lennie flee from Weed, where Lennie was accused of rape, and head to Soledad with hopes of new luck.

The story is set in the Great Depression. There are many perspectives to analyze in this story. Some may argue that the story was written for hope, whereas others may argue that the story was written to prove the impossibility of the American Dream. In either case, I think that Steinbeck demonstrated his points quite well. Most English teachers say that Steinbeck could not have written the book just to have made one pessimistic statement, so most people do believe that Steinbeck was trying to spark up some hope. I’d say I recommend it to anyone who knows a little bit about America’s history, maybe about ages 12+. I give it a five stars out of five.

Aug 18, 2020

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck tells the story of two friends and migrant farm workers, George and Lennie. After leaving their old job behind because of some trouble that arose, George and Lennie find themselves working on a farm in Salinas Valley, California. Lennie is a little dim witted and not the brightest bulb in the box but is extremely strong, burly, and is a good farm worker. However, alongside this lack of intelligence, Lennie is immature, ignorant, and does not understand the consequences of his actions. Nevertheless, he has his best friend Geroge to take care of him and hopefully keep him out of trouble. They dream of one day buying their own farm where they can be their own bosses and, in Lennie's case, have bunnies. One day they actually scrounged up enough money to buy that farm and fulfill their American Dream, that is, until their lives crumble around them.
Of Mice and Men is a very powerful book about friendship, ignorance, and sacrifice. We are able to see all the problems George and Lennie face through the lens of both maturity and immaturity, circling back to the age old question of whether ignorance is bliss. In addition, George and Lennie’s friendship is a central part of the story and we often see George making sacrifices and tough, controversial decisions that he thinks will better their lives. Of Mice and Men is an incredibly heart-wrenching yet a story of hope and perseverance. With that said, the story would get boring at times and the overall theme and even plot is relatively common. Even so, Of Mice and Men is one of those literary classics that all should read.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Oct 17, 2020

kyang_91 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Aug 20, 2020

smhgeo422 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Aug 18, 2020

karyn8787 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Aug 12, 2020

bshihab thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jul 22, 2020

IshaanGupta30 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 18, 2020

Anirudh_Kannan thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 15, 2020

alexqise thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 29, 2020

Potato_Yummy thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Mar 13, 2019

white_human_110 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Feb 26, 2019

madmax011 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

View All Ages


Add a Quote
Jun 17, 2017

"A guy needs somebody...to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you.

I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick."

Jul 15, 2016

"An' I got you. We got each other, that's what."

Jul 06, 2016

“Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head. They’re all the time talkin’ about it, but it’s jus’ in their head.”

Jul 06, 2016

"There is a path through the willows and among the sycamores, a path beaten hard by boys coming down from the ranches to swim in the deep pool, and beaten hard by tramps who come wearily down from the highway in the evening to jungle-up near water."

Laura_X Apr 13, 2015

I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.

black_penguin_254 Jan 24, 2014

"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. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us."

RainbowMunchkin May 24, 2013

"Never mind you. A guy got to sometimes"( Slim117 ).

Dec 18, 2010

"You hadda George, I swear you hadda."


Add a Summary
Aug 03, 2016

Quick read. Very strange story. It was easy to follow. Surprise ending. I can see the dreams of the hard working men in these times dreaming of a better life. Lennie loved soft things.

Jul 06, 2016

The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream.

black_penguin_254 Jan 24, 2014

Two migrant workers, George and Lennie, have been let off a bus miles away from the California farm where they are due to start work. George is a small, dark man with “sharp, strong features.” Lennie, his companion, is his opposite, a giant of a man with a “shapeless” face. Overcome with thirst, the two stop in a clearing by a pool and decide to camp for the night. As the two converse, it becomes clear that Lennie has a mild mental disability, and is deeply devoted to George and dependent upon him for protection and guidance. George finds that Lennie, who loves petting soft things but often accidentally kills them, has been carrying and stroking a dead mouse. George angrily throws it away, fearing that Lennie might catch a disease from the dead animal. George complains loudly that his life would be easier without having to care for Lennie, but the reader senses that their friendship and devotion is mutual. He and Lennie share a dream of buying their own piece of land, farming it, and, much to Lennie’s delight, keeping rabbits. George ends the night by treating Lennie to the story he often tells him about what life will be like in such an idyllic place.The next day, the men report to the nearby ranch. George, fearing how the boss will react to Lennie, insists that he’ll do all the talking. He lies, explaining that they travel together because they are cousins and that a horse kicked Lennie in the head when he was a child. They are hired. They meet Candy, an old “swamper,” or handyman, with a missing hand and an ancient dog, and Curley, the boss’s mean-spirited son. Curley is newly married, possessive of his flirtatious wife, and full of jealous suspicion. Once George and Lennie are alone in the bunkhouse, Curley’s wife appears and flirts with them. Lennie thinks she is “purty,” but George, sensing the trouble that could come from tangling with this woman and her husband, warns Lennie to stay away from her. Soon, the ranch-hands return from the fields for lunch, and George and Lennie meet Slim, the skilled mule driver who wields great authority on the ranch. Slim comments on the rarity of friendship like that between George and Lennie. Carlson, another ranch-hand, suggests that since Slim’s dog has just given birth, they should offer a puppy to Candy and shoot Candy’s old, good-for-nothing dog.

RainbowMunchkin May 24, 2013

George Milton and Lennie small have been friends for a long time. Lennie acts like a child.George and Lennie move from place to place looking to find new jobs... There is a conflict between a few people in the book, and in the end George has to make a decision that will be life changing and truly upseting.


Add Notices
Feb 26, 2019

Coarse Language: some bad language

Jul 23, 2011

Violence: (Mild)

Jul 23, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Jul 19, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top