Of Mice and Men

So for those of you who do not know the book, here is a summary I laid out for you.

So the story begins at a river bank where these two men stop and rest. After we start hearing their dialogue we can conclude the following: One is named George and the other Lennie; Lennie is a mildly retarded person. Both are looking for a job. They have just run away from another city because Lennie messed it up for them. They are on their way to get a job at a ranch.

These too men have no permanent residence and no secure and steady income. No, they are not homeless people. The story takes place in Western California near Soledad in the middle of the great depression. There are actually many people just like George and Lennie: ranchers with no job that go around looking for jobs. Most people usually do earn money but waste in on something stupid a short while later. George and Lennie do however have everything they need to survive and are not hungry people, just unemployed.

Lennie is unbelievable strong, heavily built, and strong working; he has been compared to a horse once because of his seemingly effortless hard work. George is very smart and can get them a job easily. So then why is that they can't get a permanent job? Well as mentioned before, Lennie is retarded and can’t control himself which usually ends up in him screwing the job up for the both o them; this gets on George's nerves.

While on the riverbank Lennie forgets where he is going making George rant on about how he forgets everything and how he always has to remind him of everything. Lennie searches his pockets for a work card but brings up a dead mouse instead.

Lennie loves to pet soft things like velvet, mice, and puppies but unfortunately kills them because he does not recognize his own strength.

George tells him to throw the dead mouse over the river banks. In the evening when Lennie tries to find it again, George gets really mad about everything and goes on this long rant about Lennie. He is sick and tired of being responsible for everything Lennie does and how better off George would be without Lennie and how he didn't have to to care of Lennie's aunt gave Lennie to George.

When George sees how sad Lennie is, he then comforts him saying that them two are the only family they have and that one day they will have their own ranch where no one will tell them what to do and Lennie can tend to his rabbits.

They arrive to the ranch the next day to get a job. Although annoyed for coming late, the boss gives them the job anyways. Later that same day George has a confrontation with the boss' son: Curley. Curley is a short man who hates big guys like Lennie. Although small he is a very good fighter. A few moments later and in come Curley's wife who, by the way she dresses and talks, gives bad vibes to George. George advices Lennie to stay away from both of them.

In the bunk with them is an old guy named Candy with a very old, dying dog. He has no hand and seems to be forgotten. He however does become friends with George and Lennie as they can relate to each other. Into the room come two other men: Slim and Carlson. Slim is a big man with a great presence. He is looked up too by everybody on the ranch, even Curley because he is a source of wisdom. The other, Carlson, is another one of the workers who suggest to kill Candy's dog and end it out of its misery (which he does).

Curley's Wife at the door way
Slim's dog had puppies and Lennie, who is desperate to pet soft things, was given one. Unfortunately he could not have it at that very second and has to wait for the pup to grow.

The next day in the afternoon, you have Lennie playing with the puppies all day while the others play horseshoe. When George and Slim are back in the bunk, George explains to Slim all about Lennie. He also explains why they had to leave from the other job. Lennie who is obsessed with soft things assaulted a little girl by accident while touching her soft dress. Not knowing his own strength, he will have the tendency to pet to hard and cause the person/animal pain. When Lennie is panicking he will automatically to latch onto whatever he is holding almost like a reaction. After the girl went to the police, the two of them had to escape just as they always do.

Carlson is later seen urging Candy to kill his old and arthritic dog. Candy is very reluctant since he had the dog ever since he was a puppy. Finally agreeing, Carlson takes Candy's old friend and kills it.

That very same night Lennie and George start discussing about that future farm they wish to have. Candy, who was overhearing the conversation has some money saved up so then George decides he can come too. After a while of talking, it actually seems as if the dream actually can come true.

All of the sudden Curley comes in and sees Lennie smiling which he interprets as him laughing at him. He then attacks Lennie who isn't fighting back. Earlier in the book when George just met Curley he told Lennie to never fight him no matter what. After much encouragement from the bunk members, Lennie, through his automatic panic reflex, completely crushes Curley's fist. Bewildered by Lennie's brute strength he goes on his knees due to the excruciating  pain. To protect Lennie's innocence, the bunk members tell Curley to never reveal that it was Lennie who did it.

That very same night everybody in the ranch has gone to the "cathouse" except a few notable exceptions, notably Crooks, the black stable buck. Crooks lives alone in the barn because he is black. He lives a very miserable life for being black, alone and alienated. A while later Lennie comes into Crooks room looking for puppies. Crooks gets mad at first but then later sees that Lennie is not all there. After he sees that Lennie will not understand whatever he will say, Crooks rants on about the injustice he has suffered.

Lennie along with Candy who had also stayed behind, started to talk about the farm they planned to have. At first Crooks is doubtful  but then later asks if there is space for him. All three of them, the alienated of the world, start dreaming of a better life up until Curley's wife shows up.

Curley's wife who obviously was not at the cathouse started to mess around with the three. Candy, who was uncomfortable with here standing there started to shoo her away. She then gets mad and starts to criticize them and their dream which makes Crooks angry. She then lashes out to Crooks who she reminds is just a negro and a worker. Crooks then goes back into himself. As Curley's wife hears the sound of the men returning she then quickly disappears. After she leaves Crooks later changes his kinds and decides not to come with them.

The next afternoon we see Lennie in the barn with a dead puppy in on the floor. Lennie is feeling sorrow and guilt because it was he who had killed the puppy. Though it was not his fault (or was it? that is pretty much the point of this entire blog), Lennie is quick to blame himself very harshly. The dog also kind of has this symbolism of Lennie dreams, hopes, and wishes. Just as Lennie does with most animals, he underestimates his strength. Because he had petted the dog to hard, it bit him and Lennie, who was trying to settle it down, threw it on the floor where it died. He didn't mean to kill it or even hurt he just reacted as any mildly retarded person (or a young child) would.

Later we see Curley's wife come into the barn and sits down next to Lennie. After seeing how childlike Lennie is, she decides to tell him about her life's story. She went talking on about that she could have been in the movies because of an offer given to her in an earlier relation. However with Curley's wife pouring her out out to Lennie he still rambles on about the rabbit farm. When listening to Lennie, she finds out that Lennie likes to pet soft things in which she offers him to touch her hair. When Lennie starts stroking too hard, Curley's wife starts to panic which makes Lennie nervous. it then gets to a point where Curley's wife starts thrashing and screaming. In an effort to silence her (much like the puppy), he accidentally snaps her neck. Lennie, remembering George's words (a miracle since he can't remember anything), hides at the banks of the river.

A short while later Curley comes in and sees Curley's wife dead on the floor. George is the next to see but is afraid that he is also going to be accounted for so he devises a plan that makes him appear as if he hadn't found out yet. The other men come in followed by George a short while later (who acts as if he has never seen it before). After obviously finding out that it was George, the men suggest to get a guns and shoot the guy. They split up to better find Lennie. George, who is alone, gets Carlson's gun from his room without anyone knowing.

meanwhile near the banks of the river, Lennie is sitting there having hallucinations. He hallucinates the rabbits saying what a bad guy Lennie is and how mad George will be. The rabbit also says poor George who has to take after him. He also gets a vision of Aunt Clara punishing Lennie for giving good old George a hard time. To Lennie's surprise however, George is not at all mad at Lennie. In fact, George starts telling him about the farm they are going to have. His intention however is to make Lennie's last thought a happy one. Suddenly George hears the men approaching. "Click." When the men finally arrive they see Lennie dead and George with gun in hand. All of the men assume that Lennie stole the gun and George had some sort of epic battle with Lennie which resulted in George heroically defeating the Goliath. Only Slim understands what really happened and the true feelings of George. The men all go out and celebrate even though the other men are confused at to what is making George and Slim so sad.

Find the more in depth book summary here.

And here is the movie trailer: