of_mice_and_men.jpgSummary of the Book:
Of Mice and Men is a very moving novel about two men and their unbreakable relationship. George Milton is smart and hard-working ranch hand who looks after his best friend and companion, Lennie. Lennie Small is a huge, strong man but is not very smart. Sometimes he cannot control his strength, which is where George steps in to help and take care of him. The two friends travel from ranch to ranch to earn money. They have a dream that some day they will buy their own ranch and will get to work whenever they feel like it. Lennie loves when George tells about their dream, especially the part where he will get to tend the rabbits. George also tells Lennie that they are different from other ranch hands because they have got each other. After escaping from a tough situation in the town of Weed, George and Lennie go to another ranch, where they meet a variety of different people. During their stay they learn a lot about each other, and George makes a decision that changes both of their lives forever.


Description of Major Characters:
George: George is one of the two main characters in Of Mice and Men. He looks after Lennie who has been his close friend and companion for many years. George often thinks about how different his life would be if he did not have to take care of Lennie. But, he would never leave Lennie because he knows Lennie would not survive without him. George also appreciates Lennie because most ranch hands have no companions or close friends. Lennie and George are different because they have each other.
Lennie:
Lennie is a very huge and strong man, but is mind is like a young child’s. He has a great amount of innocence that could never be detected with a glance at his appearance. Lennie really admires George and tries to make him happy. He loves to touch soft things and dreams of owning a ranch where he can have his own rabbits. One unfortunate characteristic of Lennie is that he has uncontrollable and unpredictable strength that often gets him in trouble.
Candy: Candy befriends George and Lennie the day they arrive at the ranch. He is a very old man with only one hand so is pretty much useless, except for cleaning up around the ranch. Candy has a dog that he has had for a long time that is very old and not very useful as well. This character also has a very kind and gentle side and he avoids trouble as much as possible.
Slim: This character is a very respected and admired man. All of the ranch hands look up to him and treat him like their boss. Slim is very understanding and is a good listener, which is why, at the beginning of the book, George opens up to him and tells him everything that happened to him and Lennie.
Curley: Curley is the son of the owner of the ranch. He is a very aggressive person who likes to start fights with people. He is a bit too proud of himself and the power he has as the ranch owner’s son. He keeps his one hand in a glove full of Vaseline so he can keep it soft for his wife. This symbolizes that Curley can work harder than he does, but he chooses not to.
Crooks: Being a disabled worker is bad enough, but poor Crooks has to live with racist discrimination as well. Crooks is a lonely black man who has his own space out in the barn. He wishes he would have someone to talk to, instead of reading books all day. Not many of the ranch hands notice him, so he feels very different and left out.
Curley’s Wife: This character, like Crooks, feels lonely and out of place. She is the only woman on the ranch and Curley does not like her talking with the other ranch hands. Curley’s wife needs attention and she will put herself in danger just to get it. She dreamed of becoming a famous movie star, but once she married Curley those dreams quickly faded. The author of Of Mice and Men did not give her a name, thus not giving her an identity.


Likes/Dislikes:

Of Mice and Men was a pretty good book, but if I were a critic I would give it three stars out of five. The overall message of this book was very unclear to me. It made me extremely mad that George killed Lennie in the end, and I do not understand why the author wrote it that way. I think there are plenty of other ways he could have written it so that Lennie does not die in the end. I also thought that the ending felt unfinished, and that it left many loose ends. Besides the ending, I thought the rest of the book was very interesting and it got me thinking about friendship and life.

What can we learn from reading this book?

This book teaches us how valuable a friendship can be, but also how quickly it can be destroyed. Friendship is about caring for the other person, even when you would rather be doing something else. In Of Mice and Men, George is always looking out for Lennie and helping him out of sticky situations. Even though George says how nice his life would be without Lennie, he never leaves him. Another huge part of friendship is trust. Trusting that the other person will be there for you creates a strong bond between friends. When Crooks talks to Lennie about how George could leave and never come back, Lennie refuses to believe it, because he trusts that George will protect and watch out for him. At the very end of the book, George and Lennie’s relationship falls apart when George makes a devastating decision. After reading this book I realized that even the tightest bonds and the strongest relationships can break apart because of one small decision.

Answers to Essential Questions:

What is meant by the American Dream? For most people living in the 1930s, the American Dream meant a nice big house surrounded by a white picket fence. It meant having a nice, loving family and a job that paid a fairly decent amount. I think of the American Dream as freedom and success. I also think that part of the dream is having opportunities and feeling content.
Is the American Dream still a viable element today?
The American Dream is definitely a viable element today. One major difference between the American Dream today and the American Dream in the 1930s is that, today, the dream varies a lot more than it did before. Different people have different dreams, for some it means being successful and famous. For others it simply means having a warm, caring family and being happy. I think everyone has their own little American Dream and that, somehow, they can achieve it.
Is the American Dream a destructive or empowering force, or a combination of both? I think that the American dream is a combination of a destructive and empowering force. Sometimes our dreams can get in the way of our morals which can lead to very bad situations. Our dreams, or the path to our dreams, can also be against what we stand for or what we believe in. The American Dream is good because it gives us something to strife for, a goal that we can try to reach.
What constitutes a genuine friendship? The most important component in a genuine friendship is trust. Without trust a friendship is nothing. I think that another part of a good friendship is openness and tolerance towards each other. Caring, kind, loving and understanding are all good qualities of a good friend and a good relationship.