Of Mice and Men

Reply Thu 25 Sep, 2008 05:50 am
Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck
ISBN: -014-01.8642 5
Publisher: Penguin Books

OVERVIEW: This book, often lauded as a classic, really surprised me. I expected a voluminous, detailed filled and comprehensively-told treatise - I was wrong. It's short (just over 100 pages in small paperback), easy to read and a delightful tale that's easy to follow. If you're looking for intricately-expounded themes, don't look here. Steinbeck's hallmark style is plain and matter-of-fact. His writing is so singular, so unique, that I almost thought it was a follow on to "Grapes of Wrath". The book only covers a couple of "scenes", concerning itself mainly with the interaction between migrant workers while following George and Lennie as they pursue their deam to, "... live off the fat of the lan'". You'll find it sad in some places and charming in many. If you'd like an good tale that's not a hard read, this book's for you.


  • Easy to read - no stress
  • Well-described characters and their thoughts
  • Charming descriptions: You'll love Lennie even if you don't want to
  • Enticing; You'll identify with the bully, the sage, the lovable dummy
  • Fairly realistic; follow your dreams, ah how they often go astray.
  • Themes of compassion and culpability throughout


  • I wouldn't mind seeing more development in the important events
  • While the use of southern-style jargon can give realism, it sometimes hinders the reader's flow - minimalizing effects
  • Large events in the book just happen - *BOOM* - then they're gone. Although this is how life happens, in books sometimes we'd like to see or feel it coming, then reflect on its effects or somehow otherwise absorb the impact


  • Lennie's pet Mouse (pp 7) - foreshadowing
  • The chased dream (pp 15)
  • Bully and his flirty-wife - trouble (pp 26)
  • Slim (pp 33)
  • Candy's old dog (pp 47)
  • Everybody wants in on the easy-life (pp 59)
  • "... hand's broke!" (pp 60)
  • Innocently destructive (pp 83)
  • Innocent murderer (pp 89)

Rating: 7

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Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 02:06 pm
i done this for my English qualification years ago
i loved how it kept coming back to the idea of nature.
how we are ultimately part of nature and as much as we try to fight it we will always be so.
the circular notion made me think of reincarnation.
the american dream was quite a sad and daunting touch that we we'll never truley be satisfied, we need that dream even though it will only ever be a figure of our imagination
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Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 03:21 pm
I had to read it in english class in grade 11. I can't believe that Lennie died the way he did though at the end of the story. I knew something would of had to of happen to him because he was out of control but to have the main character slaughter lennie like that. Wow!
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Reply Wed 22 Oct, 2008 12:13 pm
have you watched the film? i thought that portrayed it really well to.
the book was beautifully written John Steinback could describe wonderfully
i thought it helped to portray how this American Dream they were all after doesnt work out for everyone. they were getting so excitied thinkin they were finally out of that place and it all fell apart...
what makes it so effective is we can all emphasis with that Smile
Also we got to see lennie for who he really was where as in the big wide world no one cares they just saw him as a killer.
haha i could talk bout that book for ages
Reply Wed 22 Oct, 2008 05:32 pm
Yah I saw the movie as well. Had too actually. It was ok but There were a few parts that could have been added that they missed. Its been so long though since I saw it so I couldn't tell you
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Rose phil
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2008 04:45 pm
One of the first 'grown up' books I read. My dad, sick of seeing me knee deep in girlie magazines, dropped two books into my lap one day and said, "It's time you read something decent." One was Mice and men and the other was East Of Eden, both by John Steinbeck. I loved them and applied for an adults ticket at the library so that I could get into the grown ups section where I spent most of my time after that.
Joshy phil
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 11:11 am
@Rose phil,
I believe that I'm going to be studying this later this year as part of my English literature course.
I'm glad to see that it's quite a short, easy-going book, as I know absolutely nothing about the story; only the title. I am a keen reader, and am also quite good at writing analysis, so the style, which you describe as 'unique', intrigues me.
So, thank you for the review, and I now look forward to reading the book, although not so much to having an exam based upon it next Summer.:rolleyes:
Didymos Thomas
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2008 02:38 pm
@Joshy phil,
Certainly is a classic. One of those that you read, reread, and then give a third go - all on the same day. The length makes this comfortably possible, and Steinbeck makes this enjoyable.
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Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 03:36 pm
Khethil said:


  • Large events in the book just happen - *BOOM* - then they're gone. Although this is how life happens, in books sometimes we'd like to see or feel it coming, then reflect on its effects or somehow otherwise absorb the impact


Interesting. Could you elaborate on which events you felt were over too quickly to be adequately processed?
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 03:42 pm
OctoberMist wrote:
Khethil[size=4] Interesting. Could you elaborate on which events you felt were over too quickly to be adequately processed?

Sure... I chose not to as to not spoil significant events within the book. But two come to mind that hit me this way: 1) What happened in the barn with Lennie when the girl said he could touch her hair. -and- 2) The way these two ended parting ways.

Both caught me by surprise, which in a well-told story is a mark of literary skill.

Does that help?
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 03:13 pm
This book was required for me to read when i was a Sophmore. As stated above, the book is very short just above 100 pages. I read the book the night i got it and came back to school rather confused. How is this such a classic?The book is far too short to really connect to the characters, Therefore i was more relieved when Lennie died than anything. One small step could of been done to change my opinion of this book. That is starting the book where Lennie's guardian died and George makes the promise. Then i think there would of been more emotion drawn from the reader than just sympathy for Lennie.
Didymos Thomas
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 04:34 pm
I see what you mean vTruth. Though, I am one who believes that the reader does not need to know much about the characters in order to relate and sympathize with them.

A great example is Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants. The reader knows almost nothing about the characters - but just enough to understand their situation and sympathize. I've always seen this as a strength of the writer: the ability to reveal only what is needed for the story. Reminds me of drumming: only play what is needed for the tune, no more and no less. I think that is the essence of art, using no more and no less than what is needed in order to convey whatever meaning the artist wants to express.
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 05:12 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
DT's spot on; I think an essential part of what makes something "a classic" is that element of holding back just a wee bit to allow the reader's mind to play the part.

One of the problems with much out there is that it gives too much to the reader; feeding too many details lessens the reader's mental and emotional participation in the act.

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